The 33-year-old British actor has stepped in “slightly grudgingly” to replace Colin Firth as the voice of Paddington Bear in StudioCanal’s CGI/live-action feature.

Firth left in June after agreeing with the producers that he was not right for the role.

“What we needed was a slightly more open, and younger, voice,” producer David Heyman told The Daily Mail.

“I resisted a little bit, because I had a bad experience doing this kind of work in the past and I thought I was no good at it,” Whishaw told the newspaper. “But I was persuaded to go, slightly grudgingly.”

StudioCanal will release Paddington in the UK on November 28, while The Weinstein Company opens it in the US on December 25.

Nicole Kidman, Hugh Bonneville, Sally Hawkins, Julie Waters and Peter Capaldi also star. Paul King directs.