We remember our beloved characters from childhood by the images we see in the books and the voices we hear they speak with in the movies. Winnie the Pooh is one of the most beloved characters for children and grownups. POOH, as he is lovingly called, transcends generations and does not age. In the Disney CHRISTOPHER ROBIN movie, the voice POOH speaks with comes from a renowned actor Jim Cummings.
The talented Jim Cummings happens to be a source of yet another character in the movie – TIGGER. Yes, this actor juggles between two voices, two different personalities during the filming of this new Disney classic.
During my Red Carpet event for CHRISTOPHER ROBIN World Premiere, I had a change to talk to him and watch his interaction with his children. He is as adorable with his kids as he comes across through his voices for POOH and TIGGER.
One of the natural questions to ask Jim Cummings during our interview with him was about his voice.
Was It Difficult to Toggle Between Voicing POOH
And TIGGER During Recordings?
Jim Cummings answered this question in one of the character’s voices – it was so hilarious!
It’s very hard. It’s tough to do. I have to conjure up about a sweet spot somewhere. And then, I just bounce. We’re schizophrenic, so it doesn’t bother us. We’re okay with it. Aren’t we? Yes, we are. [LAUGHTER]
How Does Jim Cummings Come Up With
the Voices for His Characters?
Well, you know, I sculpt it. I always think of it as sculpting. Pooh and Tigger were established a long, long time ago. So, those you just nail, you know, get on that. When you’re taking over a character that’s been established it has to sound like him if he sneezes or you know, has hiccups or fill in the bodily function.
It [Character] has to sound like him and from there you’re an actor, character actor, so you’re playing the character.
But, the new ones like I don’t know, Dark Wing Duck maybe, you work with the animators, with the producer, with the writers who sometimes know what they’re talking about. And, so, it’s a sculpting process, it’s kind of like audio sculpting, it’s like a sculpture you can hear. Cause the Dark Wing, for example, wasn’t the biggest guy in the world but he wasn’t tiny, he wasn’t a mouse. You know, they wanted him to be fairly bodacious and boisterous, but not over the top.
How Does It Feel To Voice Winnie the Pooh,
A Well-Established Character?
It’s an honor, it’s a privilege to bring them [characters] forward to new generations. I’ve jokingly said, ‘Winnie the Pooh generation is every three and a half years because brand new set of Pooh fans.’ You know, but, it’s joyous. One of the best things about my job is that when I’ll do a voice for a little child and then they realize, ‘wow, doesn’t really look like Winnie the Pooh.’
“Winnie the POOH is not a franchise to me. It is a Universe of some sort,” Jim Cummings
Does Jim Cummings Have His Favorite POOH Quote?
The books and movies with Winnie the Pooh are known for many of POOH’s quotes. They are silly, funny, and so close to our heart. There’s no pretense in them. They speak the truth of life. That is why these quotes resonate with each of us. Take a look at some of my most favorite POOH Quotes in this post and have a moment of truth with your precious self.
Probably. There are so many. I always say that there’s such a thing as Pooh logic. You say well, ‘What do you think Pooh?’ ’Well, I think that I think.’ You know, he’s just Pooh logic.
“You are Braver than you believe, Stronger than you seem, and Smarter than you think,” Christopher Robin
People end up knitting those things [quotes] into you something. Or making plates and, ‘would you sign that?’, ‘I’d love too.’ I love this one: I usually get to where I’m going by walking away from where I’ve been. And it’s just so plain, and it’s so right down there to earth. There’s a lot of maybe not Forrest Gump, but a little. And there was a movie called Being There with Peter Sellars, long time ago.
You know, people say nothing is impossible but I do nothing every day. So, yeah, it’s that sweet little logic.
How Much Influence Does Jim Cummings Have on the Lines POOH Says?
FYI: Jim Cummings has been lending his voice to POOH and TIGGER for over thirty years!
I ad lib a lot. I know that that’s why they get me sometimes, you know, like with Tigger and Pooh. And, not so much as with them as with many of the other characters that I’ve done, [SOUNDSLIKE] Hondo from Star Wars and Dark Wing is another. And Ray, Princess and the Frog – he was one of my favorites. For Princess and the Frog is probably the only movie I don’t think I said one thing they wrote.
I sang the song right though. I did that part okay, I couldn’t change those lyrics. But, cause then Randy Newman says, ‘oh, no, no, no, you’re not getting a lyric credit on this.’ But, other than that, I guess I have input.
I always do it as written, you have too. But then I do it the right way. NO, just kidding. But, if they like it, the thing is it has to contribute to the story. It can’t be we’re having a scene, this is what’s happening, and say, ‘oh here’s a funny joke, okay stop, okay laugh, now, where were we? Oh, yeah, we gotta go back to the scene.’ So, as long as it contributes.
Fun Facts About Jim Cummings and His Voice (As per Actor Himself)
• Jim Cummings was annoying in his childhood as he loved to imitate others. His Aunt Grace was his favorite tease, as she sounded like a boxer!
• As for his voice, Jim Cummings does not do anything special to preserve his asset. He just acts within his rationele: don’t drink alcohol, don’t smoke, and do not scream at the top of your lungs.
• Jim’s favorite characters besides Winnie the Pooh are Tigger and Eeyore. Since his childhood, he has been imitating the voices for these characters while playing games.
• Jim Cummings and the previous voices of Winnie the Pooh and Tigger: Jim never met Sterling Holloway (Pooh) in person, but knew Paul Winchell (Tigger) very well.
“I ALWAYS get to where I’m going by walking away from where I’ve been,” POOH
How did the Legacy of Winnie the Pooh
Evolve in the Past 30 Years?
I came from the 2D world of standard animation. And that was beautiful. A couple of projects were better than others. But overall, I think, just staying true to the characters and true to the feeling is the way to go. And we’re right back there to square one with this. I just think it’s brilliant. You know, what do you do? What’s the pitch on this? What if Christopher Robin grew up, got in trouble, turned into a hum drum, work a day drone, like everybody else?
What would we do? Well, by god we’d have to get Winnie the Pooh in there to fix that. So, we did.
Have You Watched CHRISTOPHER ROBIN on A Big Screen?
Take Your Family to See the Movie!