The entertainment background of Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky was thoughtfully invoked by Succession actor Brian Cox during the actor’s SAG Award acceptance speech on Sunday night, just the latest example of what much of the world no doubt views as Zelensky’s unlikely path to the world stage.
Over the weekend, Paddington actor Hugh Bonneville and others shared a little-known aspect of Zelensky’s career: The man now standing firm against the Russian invasion once voiced the title character of Paddington bear in the Ukrainian-dubbed versions of 2014’s Paddington and its 2017 sequel Paddington 2. (The franchise’s producers at StudioCanal confirmed the news.)
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“Until today I had no idea who provided the voice of @paddingtonbear in Ukraine,” Bonneville, who played the bear’s “stepfather” Henry Brown in the films, wrote in his tweet (see it below). “Speaking for myself, thank you, President Zelenskiy.”
Actor Ben Whishaw voiced Paddington in the English versions.
Prior to entering politics, Zelensky was best known for his comic portrayal of a school teacher-turned-president in the popular TV satire Servant of the People. But even before that signature role, Zelensky had endeared himself to his countrymen in series and TV movies such as The Three Musketeers (2005) and Corporal vs. Napoleon (2012).
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And in another of his little-known accomplishments — at least, little known outside of his country — Zelensky won Ukraine’s version of Dancing with the Stars in 2006.
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
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