Hugh Grant will appear in the forthcoming Paddington film, it has been announced, with Brendan Gleeson also joining the cast.
Grant will play Phoenix Buchanan, a celebrity who lives on the same road as the eponymous bear and his adoptive family, the Browns. Buchanan is described by the production company as “a vain, charming acting legend whose star has fallen somewhat in recent years”.
Gleeson will join the cast as safecracker Knuckles McGinty, while Ben Whishaw, Sally Hawkins, Hugh Bonneville, Julie Walters, Peter Capaldi and Jim Broadbent all return.
The plot of the new film concerns Paddington’s attempt to buy a book as a present for his aunt Lucy’s 100th birthday, only for the book to be stolen.
Director Paul King welcomed Grant and Gleeson to the cast. “It has been a complete joy to return to the world of Paddington,” he said. “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.”
The first Paddington film was a commercial and critical success, with a global box office of $289m, making it the highest-grossing non-studio family film ever.
Filming on Paddington 2 has already begun, and it is scheduled for release in November 2017. A third film has already been confirmed.