STUFFED bears don't get more famous than Winnie the Pooh. Cinema-goers find out the story behind the honey-loving Pooh Bear and his merry band of mates in the biographical drama Goodbye Christopher Robin.

Simon Curtis directs the behind-the-scenes look at author A.A. Milne (Alan Alexander Milne) and how his son inspired the Winnie the Pooh stories.

When Milne abandoned London for life in the English countryside, the essayist and playwright began to spin fanciful tales for his son, Christopher Robin.

Domhnall Gleeson and Will Tilston in a scene from the movie Goodbye Christopher Robin.
A scene from Goodbye Christopher Robin. David Appleby

The fantastical stories starred the little boy and his growing collection of stuffed animals, most notably his teddy bear. Collected into two volumes, Winnie-the-Pooh and The House at Pooh Corner, the stories were instant successes when published in 1926 and 1928 respectively and have remained a staple of childhoods around the world for nearly a century.

"Simon found the story and his draft revealed this bittersweet father-son legacy of one of the best-loved children's books in the world," producer Damian Jones says.

"It was fascinating to learn where Pooh came from."

While Milne's writing has been a favourite with children around the world, the filmmakers agreed that the movie should be an adult drama. "It is a fascinating depiction of parenting in another era," Jones says. "But in addition to this magical story about a father and son when they are left alone to create what was intended to be their own private world, we also deal with post-traumatic stress disorder - 'shell shock' as it was called then - after World War I.

"Milne returned from the war quite damaged and his escape to the countryside was the beginning of Pooh."


FOR REVIEW AND PREVIEW PURPOSES ONLY. Margot Robbie in a scene from the movie Goodbye Christopher Robin. Supplied by Twentieth Century Fox.
Margot Robbie in a scene from the movie Goodbye Christopher Robin. Supplied by Twentieth Century Fox. David Appleby

Australian actress Margot Robbie and Domhnall Gleeson star as Christopher's parents Daphne and Milne.

"I loved working with (Robbie) and think she's very special," Curtis says.

"In Domhnall and Margot I got the two smartest, most brilliant of a new generation of actors.

"I had never worked with either of them before and it was a joy. They bring so much to their roles."

While Milne is the man remembered for the stories, it was his wife Daphne who gave Christopher Robin the stuffed animals that inspired Pooh, Piglet and the rest of the gang.

When her husband wrote his first poem for Christopher, it was Daphne who made sure it was published. "She becomes the driving force," Robbie says. "She does it all with the best of intentions, never realising the strain it will put on her family.

"They never expected the Winnie the Pooh stories to become the phenomenon that it did and they definitely didn't expect their son to become one of the most recognisable faces in England."

Suicide Squad star Robbie was not looking for a role so far outside her comfort zone, and says playing Daphne was a refreshing challenge.

"The script had a magical quality about it and it captivated me," she says.

"I wanted to stay in that world a little longer.

"Simon and Damian's approach toward the story and the characters was very thoughtful.

"Daphne is a very complicated woman, especially when you look at her through modern eyes. I didn't want to shy away from any of her faults. We found ways to embrace her character without making her a villain."

Goodbye Christopher Robin opens in cinemas on Thursday.