California School of the Arts

Interview with Simon Curtis, director of ‘Goodbye Christopher Robin’

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Director Simon Curtis and Will Tilston on the set of GOODBYE CHRISTOPHER ROBIN. Photo by David Appleby. © 2017 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation All Rights Reserved

“Goodbye Christopher Robin” tells the full story of author A. A. Milne (Domhnall Gleeson) and the inspiration behind the world-renowned tales of “Winnie-the-Pooh.” It takes the audience through his life and the true background of his young son Christopher Robin Milne (Will Tilston), who was known as Billy Moon, to his family.

With Margot Robbie as Daphne de Sélincourt, A. A. Milne’s wife, and Kelly Macdonald as Olive, better known as Nou, Christopher Robin’s nanny, the film opens an audience’s eyes to the many challenges and successes their family faced.

“I liked that it was the inside story of the writing of a famous book but about so much else as well. I hope that people take away that behind the writing of this story was a much more complicated family story, and that family is very important. You should cherish them when they are around. They are not necessarily going to be around forever,” director Simon Curtis said.

“Winnie-the-Pooh” was released shortly after the end of World War I. Along with other books and comics, authors created works to lift the spirits of the people.

“We discovered that one of the reasons Winnie the Pooh’s story got famous so quickly in the 1920’s was because they were a way for audiences or readers to reconnect with the happy days before the trauma of World War I,” Curtis said. “The writing of the books was a way for A. A. Milne was his own way to recover from the trauma of the war.”

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Simon Curtis, director of Goodbye Christopher Robin. Copyright James Gillham/StillMoving.net

Telling the backstory of A. A. Milne reveals some lesser-known facts about his life. The film was a way to show the world what occurs behind the fame and fortune of the author.

“I hadn’t realized he had been a very successful playwright before ‘Winnie-the-Pooh’ even started,” Curtis said. “I hadn’t realized what a big impact the first World War had on him and his work.”

“Winnie-the-Pooh” has been named the number one favorite children’s book of the past 150 years in a poll of 2,000 adults. It is a timeless story and “Goodbye Christopher Robin” is filled with nostalgia and the same childhood excitement for the much-loved novel.

“I think that there is an idealized portrait of childhood that resonates with children all over the world. Now it is about the fourth or fifth generation that are reading the stories to their own children as they were read to them by their parents,” Curtis said. “I think that [‘Winnie-the-Pooh’] is a link through the generations.”

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