Colin Firth to voice Paddington Bear
Colin Firth is to provide the voice of Paddington Bear in a new film.
Firth, the star of films like The King's Speech and A Single Man, said he would play the marmalade-loving bear with "a slight Peruvian flavour".
In the original books by Michael Bond, the bear from darkest Peru was named after the London station where he was found by the Brown family.
Hugh Bonneville will star as Mr Brown, with Sally Hawkins playing Mrs Brown and Nicole Kidman playing a villain.
Firth will also lend his facial expressions to the computer-animated Paddington, he told the Daily Mail.
"Every other character in the film will be real, live human beings," he said.
"But the idea is that Paddington will have something of me in his DNA because I'm going to do some sessions wearing one of those helmets with cameras to capture my face muscles, and all that data will somehow be incorporated into Paddington."
Julie Walters has been cast as housekeeper Mrs Bird and Jim Broadbent has joined the cast as antiques shop owner Mr Gruber.
Kidman, who will play an evil taxidermist, told the Mail: "I just had to do the bear film.
"My agent called and said: 'We've got this offer from London for you to be in a film about a Paddington Bear.' And I said: 'You mean the Paddington Bear?!'
"I was read the stories when I was little and I grew up with Paddington. I know all about his adventures and what mischief he got up to."
The film will be made by Harry Potter producer David Heyman and director Paul King, who was behind the British TV comedies Come Fly With Me and The Mighty Boosh. It is expected to be released around Christmas 2014.