While some companies are turning to a live-action/CGI blend with their older properties, Walt Disney is sticking to what it knows best and will bring a brand new Winnie the Pooh film to screens for the first time in 35 years next summer. At the helm are Stephen J. Anderson (Meet the Robinsons) and Don Hall (story for The Princess and the Frog), who are working off five short stories by A.A. Milne. Joining the fray on voice cast for the first time are Craig Ferguson, Tom Kenny (SpongeBob SquarePants) and Bud Luckey (director of the Pixar short Boundin’). Zooey Deschanel will be performing the Pooh theme song, while Tony Award-winning songwriter Bobby Lopez will be providing seven new songs.
With all that, this certainly is shaping up to be a winning effort from Disney. I personally can’t wait. This will be hand-drawn wholesomeness that only Pooh can inspire. Hit the jump for the press release that includes the first synopsis and the two brand-new images.
Here’s the images. Click for high-res. Further down is the synopsis and all the info Disney sent over.
WINNIE THE POOH
- Genre: Animation
- Rating: TBD
- U.S. Release Date: July 15, 2011
- Voice Cast: Jim Cummings, Craig Ferguson, Tom Kenny, Travis Oates, Bud Luckey
- Directors: Stephen J. Anderson, Don Hall
- Producer: Peter Del Vecho
- Score Composer: Henry Jackman
- Lyrics by: Bobby Lopez , Kristen Lopez
- Screenplay by: TBD
Walt Disney Animation Studios returns to the Hundred Acre Wood with “Winnie the Pooh,” the first big-screen Pooh adventure from Disney animation in more than 35 years. With the charm, wit and whimsy of the original featurettes, this all-new movie reunites audiences with the philosophical “bear of very little brain” and friends Tigger, Rabbit, Piglet, Kanga, Roo—and last, but certainly not least, Eeyore, who has lost his tail. “Well a tail is either there or it isn’t there,” said Pooh. “And yours isn’t… there.” Owl sends the whole gang on a wild quest to save Christopher Robin from an imaginary culprit. It turns out to be a very busy day for a bear who simply set out to find some hunny. Inspired by five stories from A.A. Milne’s books in Disney’s classic, hand-drawn art style, “Winnie the Pooh” hits theaters July 15, 2011.
- Veteran Disney animator/storyman/director Burny Mattinson (a key animator on the 1974 featurette “Winnie the Pooh and Tigger Too!”) serves as senior story artist, with a dynamic young directing duo—Stephen J. Anderson and Don Hall—at the helm.
- Director Stephen J. Anderson helmed animated films “Meet the Robinsons” and “Journey Beneath the Sea,” among others; he worked as a story supervisor on “Brother Bear” and “The Emperor’s New Groove,” and as an additional story artist on 2008’s award-winning “Bolt.” Director Don Hall is a veteran story artist at Walt Disney Animation Studios with credits including “The Princess and the Frog,” “Meet the Robinsons,” “Brother Bear,” “Home on the Range,” “The Emperor’s New Groove” and “Tarzan.”
- “Winnie the Pooh” welcomes a few new voices to the Hundred Acre Wood: Craig Ferguson (“The Late Show with Craig Ferguson”), Tom Kenny (“SpongeBob SquarePants”) and Bud Luckey (director of the Pixar short “Boundin’”).
- Actress/musician/singer/songwriter Zooey Deschanel (Indie folk band, “She & Him”) provides the vocals for a special rendition of the beloved “Winnie the Pooh” theme song.
- London-born A.A. Milne (1882-1956), a noted writer and playwright, penned two books and several poems about the beloved Winnie the Pooh and Christopher Robin (named after Milne’s son). His books are actually collections of stories, five of which inspired the film.
- A.A. Milne’s son’s teddy bear inspired the beloved character. The child named his bear after Winnie, a Canadian black bear from London Zoo. Pooh was the name of a swan they encountered together.
- Filmmakers visited Ashdown Forest where Milne wrote the books and the real Christopher Robin spent his summer vacations.
- Tony® Award-winning songwriter Bobby Lopez, and his wife Kristen, wrote the seven spirited new songs for Pooh and his pals, including “A Pooh Bear Takes Care of His Tummy,” “A Very Important Thing To Do,” “Everything Is Honey” and “The Winner Song.” Lopez is composer on several episodes of “The Wonder Pets,” which earned a Daytime Emmy® in 2006 for Outstanding Achievement in Music Direction and Composition.
Inspired by five stories from A.A. Milne’s books in Disney’s classic, hand-drawn art style, Walt Disney Animation Studios’ “Winnie the Pooh” reunites audiences with the hunny-loving, philosophical bear and friends Eeyore, Tigger, Rabbit, Piglet and Owl in a wild quest to save Christopher Robin from an imaginary culprit.