Paddington star Hugh Bonneville has paid tribute to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy after learning he voiced the beloved bear in the Ukrainian version of the franchise.
Zelenskyy has earned plaudits from around the world for his leadership and decision to stay in the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv, to lead the fight against the Russian forces that invaded the country last week.
Before entering politics, the newly minted hero was an actor and comedian – winning his country’s version of Strictly Come Dancing, starring as a fictional president in a Ukrainian comedy, and providing the voice of the marmalade-loving cartoon mammal in 2014’s Paddington and 2017’s Paddington 2.
After the news of his voice role went viral on social media on Sunday, Hugh, who plays Paddington’s adoptive father Mr. Brown in the films, paid tribute to his unlikely co-star.
“Until today I had no idea who provided the voice of @paddingtonbear in Ukraine. Speaking for myself, thank you, President Zelenskiy,” he wrote on Twitter.
He then went on to encourage Paddington fans to donate to the United Nations’ children’s charity UNICEF.
Zelenskyy’s stand against Russia’s President Vladimir Putin is not the first time Paddington has fallen foul of the leader – in 2018, Russia’s Ministry of Culture postponed the release of Paddington 2, reportedly as it promoted “foreign values”.
The film eventually received a Russian release after uproar and complaints about the temporary ban.
No Time to Die star Ben Whishaw voices Paddington Bear in the English-language version of the franchise.
– Cover Media