It’s no secret that before Volodymyr Zelenskyy became Ukraine’s President in 2019, he was a successful comedian and entertainer in the country. But did you also know he was the voice of Paddington Bear in the Ukraine release of the 2014 film and its 2017 sequel?
That fact recently popped up online on Sunday (Feb 27) when film executive Franklin Leonard tweeted about it. The news has since been confirmed by production and film distribution company StudioCanal to several publications including The Hollywood Reporter.
Actor Hugh Bonneville, who starred in the original English-language films, tweeted his surprise at the information and also shared a link to a promotional video for the second film that showed Zelenskyy recording his part.
Bonneville tweeted: “Until today I had no idea who provided the voice of @paddingtonbear in Ukraine. Speaking for myself, thank you, President Zelenskiy. #PaddingtonBear.”
Zelenskyy also starred in the TV series Servant Of The People where he played a schoolteacher who becomes the president of Ukraine, and he won the country’s version of Dancing With The Stars in 2006. A clip of his various dance routines has also recently gone viral.
Paddington and Paddington 2 also starred Hugh Grant and Sally Hawkins, with Ben Whishaw voicing the titular bear in the original versions.