Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is being hailed around the world as a heroic and courageous leader in the face of Russian invasion, and a bit of film trivia has amplified that adoration: He was the voice of Paddington Bear in the Ukrainian film versions of “Paddington.”
It’s no secret that before Zelenskyy was elected, he was an actor and comedian in Ukraine, known mostly for comedies. A viral tweet by film executive Franklin Leonard on Sunday noted that Zelenskyy was the voice of Paddington in the Ukrainian dubs, and StudioCanal confirmed to TheWrap that Zelenskyy did indeed voice the beloved and kind-hearted bear.
The first “Paddington” was released in 2014 and received surprising critical acclaim, while the 2017 sequel “Paddington 2” earned even more glowing reviews. It stands as one of the highest-rated films in Rotten Tomatoes history.
Ben Whishaw voices the bear in the original English-language version, bringing a mild-mannered kindness to the character whose motto is, “If you’re kind and polite, the world will be right.” It’s fitting, then, that Zelenskyy once gave voice to this fictional role model.
Hugh Bonneville, star of both “Paddington” films, took to Twitter when he discovered Zelenskyy voiced Paddington and extended his thanks to the leader.