Hugh Bonneville has enjoyed a 25-year career in the acting industry but Paddington marks the first time we’ve seen him dressed in a dress. And a very fetching lady he makes, too… take it from us. So fetching that his get-up contributed to the family film being classified a PG for its “mild sex references”.
But Bonneville has revealed that rather than stuff chicken fillets down his bra and apply a dash of lipstick, the Paddington team got rather more inventive.
Without revealing too much, the scene in question sees his character, Mr Brown, steal the identity of a female cleaner. “I insisted that I talk to Lindy Hemming, the costume designer, and I said everything that he wears must be on the cleaner’s trolley,” Bonneville tells RadioTimes.com.
“So, my ample bosom was actually the bottom of floor mops which was great, and [I wore] Crocs which I thought the cleaner might have left there when she went home of an evening. Even my eye makeup was floor polish.”
Really?! “Not actually floor polish, but I said I think the character – Myfanwy, as we called her – should have some makeup but it has to be what would credibly be on the trolley and I said we could have floor polish, some sort of dark floor polish.”
The film also stars Ben Whishaw (as the voice of Paddington), Sally Hawkins, Nicole Kidman and Peter Capaldi (affecting a cockney accent).
“Our paths have crossed a couple of times over the years and [Paddington] was just before he started Doctor Who so he hadn’t yet become exhausted, as I’m sure he now is,” says Bonneville. “Because I know, having worked with Matt, the previous incarnation, how punishing those schedules are.”
Of Capaldi’s Paddington character, the Browns’ grouchy neighbour, he adds: “He was terrific – and I think you can almost smell Mr Curry as he comes on screen and you just know that house he lives in is not a pleasant place.”
“Paddington is a sort of love letter to London,” Bonneville continues. “It’s the magical place that the bear has been told of and wants to come and explore.”
Paddington is released on Friday 28th November – watch the trailer below: