Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy Voiced Paddington Bear

The country's leader is the titular character in their dubbed versions of 'Paddington' and 'Paddington 2'

Photo: (right)

BY Megan LaPierrePublished Feb 28, 2022

Amid his valorous stand against the Russian military's invasion, Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy's current approval rating has risen to 91 percent — but the leader already had a lot going for him beforehand, including being the voice of the adorable marmalade-fiend Paddington Bear.

Production company StudioCanal confirmed the casting to The Hollywood Reporter after the revelation began circulating on Twitter this Sunday (February 27): the president does indeed voice the titular Peruvian bear in Ukraine's dubbed versions of Paddington and Paddington 2.

Hugh Bonneville, the actor who plays the bears' foster parent Henry Brown in the films, tweeted his thanks, saying he had "no idea" it had been Zelenskyy who had provided the voice of Paddington in Ukraine until yesterday.

Before becoming Ukraine's leader, Zelenskyy was one of the country's leading comedians — a career he began pursuing at 17 years old. He appeared in numerous films and TV shows, including political satire series Servant of the People, playing a schoolteacher who unwittingly (and ironically) becomes president via a viral video of him ranting against corruption. 

The show's anti-corruption messaging became so popular that it inspired Zelenskyy to found the Servant of the People political party in 2018. He was elected president in a landslide second-round vote the following year.

If he wasn't already a tour-de-force — he even won Ukraine's Dancing with the Stars in 2006 — and the face of the Ukrainian resistance, contributing to the Paddington franchise solidifies Zelenskyy as an international treasure, because that's cinemaPaddington 2 continues to battle fiercely for the best-reviewed film of all time on Rotten Tomatoes, having previously ousted Citizen Kane just to lose the title to Toy Story 2.

"Hello to my darling friends," the Ukraine president says in between behind-the-scenes clips in a promotional video for Paddington 2  [via UPROXX]. "I, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, will lend my voice to the wonderful, charismatic, friendly bear Paddington… You know you will definitely walk out of the film in a fantastic mood."

You can watch the video starring Zelenskyy's Paddington below.

Paddington 3 is confirmed to begin production this year, which leaves us to wonder if Ukraine's president will pick up leading another great domain as a side-hustle.

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