Hayley Atwell is Evelyn Robin in Disney’s Christopher Robin. The new character of Evelyn Robin seamlessly flows into the 100 acre wood stories that we all love. She shares where she was when she got the call, what she was able to have from the set and how she is just like us.
Be sure to read up on the rest of my interviews with the cast of Christopher Robin. Jim Cummings The Voice of Pooh and Tigger, Ewan McGregor The Voice Of Christopher Robin, all about the Christopher Robin Red Carpet. Be sure to much on my Winnie The Pooh chocolate bark while you read!
What does Hayley Atwell think of the film Christoper Robin?
I started crying in the opening credit and what I felt coming out of it was the feeling of what a wonderful antidote this film is at the moment because without it being too sentimental it’s quite profound as the books are. When I was reading them as a child there’s this kind of sweet, endearing quality about it. These animals come to life but as an adult reading it and the witticisms but also this, the profound simplicity of it just made me feel that this is kind of already a wonderful film to be telling now, you know. it’s just something that’s very refreshing. It’s basically saying you’re enough and I just wanna hang out with you as you are, you know, anyway. I’m a big fan of it.
Hayley Atwell on skyping from the middle of the Aegean ocean for her first meeting for her role in Christopher Robin.
I was sunbathing and I got a call and from my agent saying Marc Forster, the director is directing Christopher Robin. Will you skype with him and I said yeah of course. I have quite erratic reception here in the Aegean ocean so I went to the captain and I said I need to find a spot where I can skype someone and he went you see that rock over there. I went yeah, yeah. He went go passed that for about ten minutes and you’ll find a spot.
So I got my life jacket on and I went on a jet ski and I put my phone down the life jacket like this and I went very far until pretty much couldn’t see any form of civilization and then I was able to get reception and I remember answering. I never met him before a I just went welcome to my office. It’s just how I work here. It’s just what I do and so we broke the ice that way but he was just talking about how he wanted to tell a story that was classic to the philosophy of Pooh Bear that everyone knew so that these characters are familiar to everyone, not doing anything kind of left field with any of these characters because they’re complete in themselves.
But wouldn’t it be interesting to explore the idea of what happened when Christopher Robin grew up and have that being the access point for adults who would identify with being an adult now and being I think, being burdened by and lost a little bit by the pressures of everyday life and being on a bit of a hamster wheel and not realizing that your ambitions are kind of getting the better of you and so we talked a little bit about that. And then he talked about wanting to create the relationship between Evelyn and Christopher as one where it began with genuine love and joy and he set it up at the beginning then you know that what is at stakes for him to lose and you kind of root for them.
So we wanted also that any scenes or any moments with Evelyn for her to be someone who had compassion to know that this man who’s come back from war, who’s struggling to provide for his family, whose heart’s in the right place he’s struggling within himself rather than anything that she could probably criticize him for and she’s taking on the pain of what, the cost it’s having on the child as well. So rather than in her in any way seeming kind of unsympathetic or moaning or whining or anything like that, just someone who she’s taking care of her own feelings and experiences in this, feeling lost and left behind by her husband but knowing that he’s in a lot of pain as well. So we spoke a little bit about that really and then I got back on the boat, just about find my way back yeah and here we are.
Who are the women who inspired Hayley Atwell in her role as Evelyn Robin in Disney’s Christopher Robin?
Well I have a strong mother and I have strong women in my life. one of them is my auntie Randy who’s over there who’s visiting from Virginia, my father’s sister and I think it’s from those experiences of being with older women who set the way and the safety that I have felt from them at times when the feeling the world is a big place and the kind of the calm, the calm kind of voice of reason and strength but a gentleness that comes with that is something that I’ve had experienced over the women in my life and felt that, that felt the right kind of time for this movie as well that she’s not sentimental.
She’s not, she’s not passive. She doesn’t kind of sit there, you know, allowing things to happen but she also doesn’t attack him for it. I think she’s aware of the complexities of his situation and also being heartbroken about the effects it’s having on her daughter but also not turning her daughter against her father as well. And I think for me that was a very emotionally intelligent character choice to make and one that was much more realistic. I think that’s what parents have to do and have to struggle with.
I’m not one myself but I’ve seen it with my god children and their parents and the people in my life who have kids of that dialogue of going how do we help our children navigate these very emotionally, tricky times with an open heart still and able to process pain in a loving and healthy way. So I think although this is a good feel children’s movie it does touch on things that I think families will identify with.
How does Hayley Atwell relax and play?
I think I’m quite childlike anyway and I think my friends would describe me as that so because I was partly because I do this as my job anyway but it’s I think given me free reign to know that even when I’m just being silly and playful and being childlike this is actually good because this is what I do for my living. But I think it’s just I have friends that I’ve known for, you know, when I was a child and, so you know, you get together with certain people and they bring those qualities out in you and I think I’d like to do that and I also I like games.
I have games night at my house so we play things from like Articulate to Hidden Chameleon and then also Escape Rooms I quite like to do. I’m really into that. I’ve been doing them here a little bit.
What did Hayley Atwell take from the set of Christopher Robin?
I had two souvenirs.
So the first thing that I was given was the gramophone which is really beautiful and that’s in my living room but then weeks after we wrapped I got a package in the mail and Marc Forster had commissioned the art department of the film to paint me, a beautiful painting about this size of Pooh and my dog. My dog was on set every day and he was very welcome on set and he would come into the rehearsals with us. He’d sit on some of the set and he would just be one of the animals. Marc adored him and would always go oh, bring Howard. My dog is very calm and very quiet so had a quite a therapeutic effect in the workplace. Marc took a real shine to Howard so he had this painting of Howard and Pooh in matching red sweaters. It’s really cute.
What is Hayley Atwell’s favorite Pooh piece of wisdom?
I do think it’s the one that’s in the trailer actually. The one of Pooh saying ‘Nothing’s impossible but I do nothing every day.’ because actually I find doing nothing is really hard. I think a lot of people would resonate with that today whereas there’s this constant need for living in today. There seems to be such a praise and celebration for productivity, perfectionism, attaining of goals, achievement and success
I think it can create Piglets in us of having anxiety and neurosis which also seem to be sometimes not the healthiest response to a world that seems to want so much of us that we can’t ever be enough.
In the humor of him not really understanding what he’s saying and what that actually means. He’s actually saying the profound thing which is he’s able to just sit with himself and it be enough. Life itself is enough and that we’re enough and so I think that was my favorite.