(Photo: Getty Images, Frazer Harrison)

Never one to shy away from sticking his hand in a honeypot, Brett Ratner’s RatPac production company has begun developing a film based on Winnie The Pooh, hoping to tell—in the idiom that so delights today’s children—the origin story of the beloved franchise character. RatPac has acquired the rights to Lindsay Mattick’s forthcoming picture book Finding Winnie, which recounts how Mattick’s great-grandfather, Canadian Lieutenant Harry Colebourn, bought an orphaned bear cub for $20 just before leaving for World War I, as was the style at the time.

Colebourn brought the bear—whom he named “Winnie,” after his Winnipeg hometown—to Europe, where she became an unofficial mascot of his Canadian regiment before ending up in the London Zoo. There she was spied by Christopher Milne, who then named his teddy bear after her, which in turn inspired his father, A.A. Milne, to write his beloved series of children’s stories, which then inspired adults to turn even those stories’ rather convoluted origins into movies.


As befitting the culture we live in, this origin story has actually been told on screen before, as a 2004 TV movie starring Michael Fassbender—back before Michael Fassbender became a serious dramatic actor, and had no compunction about appearing on DVD covers where he smiles at bears. As with all origin stories, this is expected to be very gritty, because bears are filthy.