Winnie-the-Pooh is back on the big screen — and the man who has been voicing him for three decades is just as excited as you are!
Jim Cummings took on Pooh in 1988 for the first time and has been voicing him ever since. The voice actor returns for Disney’s live action Christopher Robin, in theaters Friday, which follows the titular young boy from the series as he’s grown up and facing difficulties in his life.
Although Christopher Robin is an adult — and played by Ewan McGregor — in the new movie, Cummings tells PEOPLE that Pooh is still the same honey-loving bear everyone knows and loves.
“It’s a ball. It’s a completely new iteration, a completely new thing for Pooh and everybody,” he says. “But at the same time, nothing changes. Pooh is Pooh. His Pooh logic sustains him, so he’s pretty unflappable. If there was a hurricane going on, it wouldn’t bother him because he would be in the eye of the hurricane and it would just seem like a blustery day.”
Pooh might always find the good side of things, but Cummings says Christopher Robin is stuck in a rut that has weighed him down. The movie follows as Pooh and the gang try to help him out of it.
“You grow up and you grow out of your old day dreaming and childhood habits. We get settled in our ways and the world takes over and we forget to stop and smell the roses or have a smacker of honey,” he explains. “And sure enough, even Christopher Robin can fall into that trap and he did. There’s a line in the movie [Pooh says], ‘Christopher has saved us so many times, maybe we have to save him now.’ “
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Cummings understands the impact Pooh has had on generations and generations of readers and audiences. With four girls of his own, and as a fan of Disney classics, the actor hasn’t taken the opportunity for granted.
“It’s an honor, it’s a privilege. These movies last forever,” he says. “It’s truly an honor to carry forth this beautiful tradition to new generations. This new Winnie -the-Pooh will be the introduction to great many children.”
Disney’s Christopher Robin is in theaters Friday.