Did Creepy Paddington spook its leading man?
Oscar winner Colin Firth has quit the upcoming film adaptation of the beloved children's cartoon.
Firth was set to voice the project's namesake bear but has since stepped aside after a "period of denial" about his suitability for the role.
In a statement to Entertainment Weekly, he explained his decision by poking fun at Chris Martin and Gwyneth Paltrow's separation semantics.
"We've chosen 'conscious uncoupling'," Firth said.
"It's been bittersweet to see this delightful creature take shape and come to the sad realisation that he simply doesn't have my voice."
The Pride and Prejudice star said while he'd decided to give up the part, he still felt "rather protective" of his furry alter ego.
"I'm pestering them all with suggestions for finding a voice worthy of him," he said.
Firth's departure comes after the first image from the film was released online, only to be turned into a mock-horror meme by internet pranksters.
They thought the somewhat menacing image of Paddington standing outside Buckingham Palace was spooky, and christened him "Creepy Paddington".
The hashtag gained traction on Twitter as users submitted photoshopped images implanting the bear into some of cinema's most famous horror films.
It's believed Firth's decision will not affect Paddington's release, slated for Christmas this year.