This month, beloved children’s character Winnie-the-Pooh is celebrating his 90th birthday. Long before he became a Disney animated icon, Winnie-the-Pooh was a character in a series of books by English author A. A. Milne. Now, a new film is being made about the life of Milne and the creation of his famous character.
The Real Story of Winnie-the-Pooh
Unbeknownst to most people, the characters in the Winnie-the-Pooh stories had a real world inspiration. Author A. A. Milne’s son was named Christopher Robin Milne. The original cast of animals were taken from a collection of the real Christopher Robin’s stuff animals. The bear, tiger, kangaroo, donkey, and pig toys were all gifts from Christopher Robin’s mother. He dubbed the bear “Winnie-the-Pooh” after a famous Canadian black bear at the London Zoo.
Fox Searchlight recently began filming a new film in England that explores the relationship between A. A. Milne and Christopher Robin. The film is currently untitled but was originally known as Goodbye Christopher Robin. It stars Domnhall Gleeson as Milne and Margot Robbie as his wife, Daphne. Newcomer Will Tilson stars as Christopher Robin.
My Week with Marilyn director Simon Curtis is behind the camera for the new movie. The script was written by Frank Cottrell-Boyce and Simon Vaughan. Cottrell-Boyce is most famous for his novel, Millions, which he adapted into a screenplay for director Danny Boyle. He also contributed scripts to the two most recent seasons of Doctor Who. Vaughan is a prolific producer and writer. He’s also serving as an executive producer on the A. A. Milne biopic.
The Life of Author A. A. Milne
Milne, who’s full name was Alan Alexander Milne, led an interesting life. He was a member of the British Army during World War I. During World War II, he served as a captain of the British Home Guard.
After the war, he became a noted writer of both novels and plays. Once Winnie-the-Pooh became an international sensation, though, his earlier works were overlooked. This annoyed Milne, as he never intended to become a children’s author.
In the 1966, the rights to Winnie-the-Pooh and his friends were sold to the Walt Disney Company for $350 million. Disney dropped the hyphens in the name (now known as simply “Winnie the Pooh”) and has since produced countless films and other spin-offs.
Two Rising Stars Together Onscreen
Actor Domhnall Gleeson has had a meteoric rise in popularity in recent years. He is the son of prolific Irish actor Brendan Gleeson, who is best known for playing “Mad-Eye” Mooney in the Harry Potter films. Domnhall joined his father in the Harry Potter franchise when he appeared as Bill Weasley in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Parts 1 & 2. In 2015 alone, Domhnall starred in four films which all received multiple Academy Award nominations: Ex Machina, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Brooklyn, and The Revenant.
Margot Robbie has also seen her star rising recently. The Australian actress has had small roles in films like The Wolf of Wall Street and Z for Zachariah. She then took on larger roles in Adam McKay’s The Big Short and The Legend of Tarzan. She exploded in popularity earlier this summer, though, when she played Harley Quinn in Warner Bros.’ Suicide Squad.
For more details and pictures from the untitled A. A. Milne film, check out USA Today‘s exclusive here.