Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky was the voice of Paddington Bear in the Ukrainian versions of “Paddington” and “Paddington 2.”
Zelensky, who is currently leading the Ukrainian army against a Russian invasion of his country, was a comedian and actor before becoming president. He has been praised around the world for remaining to fight alongside his soldiers despite being offered numerous opportunities to leave with his family following Russia’s invasion.
Most famously, Zelensky starred as a teacher who inadvertently becomes president of Ukraine in three seasons of a show called “Servant of the People.” The series ended in 2019, the same year in which Zelensky launched – and eventually won – a real campaign to become president of Ukraine.
And, it turns out, Zelensky was also the voice of the marmalade-loving ted.
In a promotional video for “Paddington 2,” Zelensky introduces himself in between recording vocals for the bear, saying: “Hello to my darling friends. I, Volodymyr Zelensky, will lend my voice to the wonderful, charismatic, friendly bear Paddington.”
“‘Paddington’ [is a film] you can go to see with your whole family, and everyone will enjoy it regardless of your age,” he adds. “You know you will definitely walk out of the film in a fantastic mood.”
Hugh Bonneville, who stars in both “Paddington” and “Paddington 2,” reacted with delight to the news when it emerged via social media, tweeting:
“Until today I had no idea who provided the voice of Paddington Bear in Ukraine. Speaking for myself, thank you, President Zelenskiy.”
Until today I had no idea who provided the voice of @paddingtonbear in Ukraine. Speaking for myself, thank you, President Zelenskiy. #PaddingtonBear https://t.co/5VaMi201Fs
— Hugh Bonneville 🇺🇦 (@hughbon) February 27, 2022
“Paddington” came out in 2014 and starred Bonneville, Sally Hawkins, Julie Walters and Jim Broadbent. The sequel was released in 2017, with Bonneville and Hawkins returning alongside Hugh Grant and Imelda Staunton.
Ben Whishaw (“No Time to Die”) voices Paddington in the English-language versions of both films.