Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky Did Voice Paddington – The Hollywood Reporter

Amid the bleak news that has emerged from Ukraine since Russia launched its invasion last week, over the weekend a more upbeat nugget of information emerged about one of the key figures involved.

Chatter erupted on social media on Sunday — first sparked by a tweet sent by Black List founder Franklin Leonard — that Volodymyr Zelensky, Ukraine’s president and the man now seen around the world as the face of brave resistance against Russian aggression, had voiced Paddington Bear in Ukrainian version of the hit 2014 animated film.

Paddington producer StudioCanal has now confirmed this news to The Hollywood Reporter, adding that he voiced the bear in Ukranian in both Paddington and Paddington 2, its smash hit 2017 sequel.

Although the idea of a world leader voicing a marmalade-loving Peruvian bear may seem a wild proposition, given Zelensky’s rise to power it’s perhaps not so strange. Before becoming president, Zelensky was one of the most popular and successful comedians in Ukraine and the star of several films and TV series. In fact, his political career is a case of life imitating art. In the hugely-successful political satire series Servant of the People, Zelensky plays a schoolteacher who inadvertently becomes Ukraine’s president after a video of him ranting against corruption goes viral. Zelensky’s grassroots political party, also called Servant of the People, was launched on the back of the show’s success. The beloved entertainer also won Ukraine’s version of Dancing with the Stars in 2006.

The Paddington news was met with delight over the weekend, with Hugh Bonneville, who plays the bears’ foster parent Henry Brown in the films, tweeting his thanks.

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