In a piece of inspired casting, Hugh Grant has joined Paddington 2 as Phoenix Buchanan, a “vain, charming acting legend whose celebrity has faded in recent years”.
As production begins on the follow up to Bafta-winning 2014 family comedy Paddington, the Love Actually actor only adds star power to an already impressive cast which includes Hugh Bonneville, Sally Hawkins, Julie Walters, Jim Broadbent, Peter Capaldi, Madeleine Harris and Samuel Joslin.
Ben Whishaw will once again voice Paddington Bear, while Imelda Staunton is the voice of Aunt Lucy.
Also joining for the sequel is Mad-Eye Moody Harry Potter actor Brendan Gleeson as the charmingly-named “Knuckles” McGinty, a “notorious safe-cracker and legendary strongman” who becomes Paddington’s unexpected ally.
The sequel sees the little brown bear happily settled with the Brown family in Windsor Gardens, where he spreads joy (and marmalade). He is saving up for the perfect present for his Aunt Lucy’s 100th birthday – an antique pop-up book – but when the book is stolen, Paddington and the Browns must unmask the thief.
Back in the world of Paddington are director and writer Paul King, scriptwriter Simon Farnaby and producer David Heyman.
“It has been a complete joy to return to the world of Paddington,” King commented.
“It was such a delight to see his first big screen adventure embraced by audiences around the world, and I couldn’t be more excited about Hugh and Brendan joining the cast to bring his next outing to life. Together, I hope we can make a film worthy of this most exceptional of bears.”