Before becoming the president of Ukraine in 2019, it’s now well-known that Volodymyr Zelensky made a living as an actor and comedian. However, new details reveal that he also voiced the Peruvian bear named Paddington in the Ukrainian-dubbed versions of the children’s films.
StudioCanal has confirmed to THR that Zelensky not only voiced the marmalade-loving bear in the 2014 original film, but he also voiced the character in the critically acclaimed sequel Paddington 2.
In an unearthed promotional video for Paddington 2, Zelensky is taped recording his lines over some silly clips of Paddington, and he shares a message for the film.
“Hello to my darling friends. I, Volodymyr Zelensky, will lend my voice to the wonderful, charismatic, friendly bear Paddington,” Zelensky says in the clip.
“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.”
English actor Hugh Bonneville, who plays Paddington’s adopted father Henry Brown, shared the video, tweeting, “Until today I had no idea who provided the voice of @paddingtonbear in Ukraine. Speaking for myself, thank you, President Zelenskiy [sic]. #PaddingtonBear”
Prior to his career as a politician, Zelensky led the satirical series Servant Of The People, in which he stars as a teacher who inadvertently becomes president after a video of him ranting against political corruption went viral. The grassroots political party, Servant of the People was launched in conjunction with the show’s success. The month the series finale aired in 2019, Zelensky was elected president of Ukraine.
One of the country’s most popular comedians, Zelensky also starred in feature films such as No Love In The Big City, Office Romance. Our Time, as well as Me. You. He. She. In 2006, he won Ukraine’s version of Dancing With The Stars.