Thanks to Disney Studios, I had the pleasure of enjoying a Friendsgiving style lunch and interview with Jim Cummings about his many voice acting roles. Jim Cummings has been the voice of Winnie the Pooh since 1987 and Tigger shortly after. His latest roles in Disney’s Christopher Robin continues our favorite childhood characters and gives us the chance to share them with our children now.
Interview with Jim Cummings
Jim Cummings said it best when describing Winnie the Pooh – “it’s the pipeline to your childhood, no matter how old you are.”
It was such a pleasure meeting Jim Cummings. He was a very friendly and approachable man. You can tell how much he loves his work. He is not only proud of it but passionate about the voice acting he does. He was more than willing to demonstrate all of his voices for us and it was awesome.
When did you first know that you could do voices?
I started off as a really annoying child. So it was probably very early on. I was doing dolphin noises. I was always that kid. And when I was a kid, I enjoyed being in plays, but I would wanna be the ogre or the hermit or the weirdo or the wizard instead of the little prince.
So, I was probably inadvertently doing research for this now. ‘Cause, you know, guys like me we’re character actors really. We’re just doing characters, and that’s kinda what they sound like.
~ Jim Cummings
How did it feel to see the animated characters come to life?
It was magic for me. The new movie, I was so taken with it. It’s so charming. Like if I was the kid in the audience, I like the experience as much as if I was had nothing to do with it. You know, I walk in go – oh, gosh look at that!
I loved it. I thought it was a great idea. What if Christopher Robin grew up and got stuck working like the rest of us? It was just so magical. Pooh and the gang went out there and kinda saved him. Kind of returned the favor after all those waterfalls that he saved us from. So, it’s great.
~ Jim Cummings
Do you record all the lines of Pooh and Tigger separately or go back and forth?
I’ve been Pooh since 1987 and Tigger since maybe ‘89 or ‘90. Back then I would go back and forth with their lines in conversation. But now, I just wanted to maintain a little more integrity. It’s really not that big a deal. I mean we’d have to do it that way if there were two separate actors doing it because you can’t overlap.
So I just do all of Pooh and then all of Tigger. Tigger’s a little raspier. He’s got a little hoarse in there.
~ Jim Cummings
Jim Cummings Most Difficult or Emotional Scene to Voice
Ray from Princess and Frog, when he passed away. That was the hardest thing in the world to do. I don’t know why. You wouldn’t think so, but that was really, really hard to die. And it was just my voice, but it was really emotional.
~ Jim Cummings
Speaking of Princess and the Frog – when I told Gabby I was interviewing Jim Cummings she immediately reminded me he played Ray. She didn’t even realize he was the voice of Winnie The Pooh and Tigger. I had to explain that he has voiced many animated characters.
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Jim Cummings was so welcoming while we were all standing around chatting after the interview, he agreed to say a line in Ray’s voice for me to record. He went beyond saying one line and surprised me with this little video directed to Gabby, by name. You can view the short clip on my Instagram.
Was the process of recording live action different than animation?
In this one, we actually did a lot of looping, and you had to do that after the fact. Fun Fact: I recorded the whole movie in one day.Then they took that and kinda played it on the set so that they had something to play off of – Ewan and the gang. They had somebody with a dummy, so to speak, and it was a little gray guy, kinda Pooh shaped. There was a Tigger one and Rabbit, Owl, Eeyore. There was a puppeteer there doing really horrible impressions of me, which was fun.
Then they would play my stuff so it gave Ewan things to react off of. And then after getting the principal photography with the live folks, we went back to the studio and put in the CGI over the characters.
Then bit by bit they refined it. Then we redid it again, re-looped it again and changed a lot of lines. You’d be surprised at how much — how different it was than from the very first initial recording. Then we rewound and did Tigger. It was a bit of a process. It was more looping on this one than really any other thing I’ve ever done. But it worked
~ Jim Cummings
Disney did a beautiful job of turning the Arboretum in LA into Hundred Acre Wood. The location was absolutely beautiful and we had a fabulous time. After our interview with Jim Cummings, we all sat down for a Friendsgiving picnic outdoors. It looked like the best tea party I could ever imagine.
They ever gave us custom Christopher Robin place cards to mark seat.
The food was delicious. I must admit, it was better than my Thanksgiving at home. I was surrounded by 24 other wonderful bloggers and the great Disney crew that I have been blessed to work with. It was one of the best afternoons I have had in a long time.
This food spread has put me in the holiday spirit and now I cannot wait to plan Thanksgiving for my family.
If the day couldn’t get any better than chatting with Jim Cummings on his role as Pooh and Tigger and an amazing Friendsgiving lunch, we got to see the real characters from Christopher Robin in person!
We were not allowed to touch the characters, as you can see they are very precious and of course, valuable. Tigger, Winnie the Pooh, Piglet, and Eeyore were larger than I expected but looked exactly like I assumed. These characters hold special memories for many people, including me. My oldest daughter’s nursery was decorated in Winnie the Pooh and my favorite was always Eeyore.
Own Christopher Robin on Bluray this Tuesday, November 6th!
Download these free printable Winnie the Pooh coloring pages from the Christopher Robin movie.