Courtesy of STUDIOCANAL S.A. 2014

Hugh Grant is set to join the cast of “Paddington 2,” which has already begun principal photography. 

Irish actor Brendan Gleeson will also join the all-star British ensemble which sees Hugh Bonneville, Sally Hawkins, Julie Walters, Jim Broadbent, Peter Capaldi, Madeleine Harris and Samuel Joslin all returning. Ben Whishaw and Imelda Staunton, who provide the voices of Paddington and Aunt Lucy, respectively, are also set to reprise their roles.

The original “Paddington” opened in 2014 to critical and commercial acclaim, garnering strong reviews and grossing $270 million worldwide to become the highest grossing independent family film of all time. This included box office of $76.2 million in the U.S. and £37.9 million ($59.5 million) in the U.K. It was the second-highest-grossing film in the U.K. in 2014, finishing behind only “The Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies.” 

The sequel sees the beloved bear, happily settled with the Brown family and a popular member of the local community, embark upon a series of odd jobs to buy the perfect present for his Aunt Lucy’s 100th birthday, only for the gift to be stolen. 

Grant will play local celebrity Phoenix Buchanan, a vain and charming acting legend who has fallen on hard times. Gleeson is set to play “Knuckles” McGinty, a notorious safe-cracker and strongman who becomes an unexpected ally for Paddington.

“It has been a complete joy to return to the world of ‘Paddington.’ 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,” said director Paul King. 

A co-production of Heyday Films and Studiocanal, “Paddington 2” is produced by David Heyman and once again directed by King, who also co-wrote with Simon Farnaby. It is fully financed by Studiocanal which will distribute the family film in the U.K., France, Germany, Australia and New Zealand and is also handling international sales. 

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