before they were world leaders
Amid a Russian invasion, Ukraine is being led by one of the stars of the Paddington movies — the Ukrainian version, at least.
As Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky gains international recognition and support for his leadership after Russia's attack on the country, new tidbits about his past roles as an actor continue to resurface. In the latest example, Paddington star Hugh Bonneville noted on Twitter he just found out Zelensky voiced the titular cartoon bear in the Ukrainian dub of the 2014 film and its sequel, Paddington 2.
Bonneville also shared a behind-the-scenes YouTube video showing Zelensky discussing the role and performing the voiceover. "Paddington' [is a film] you can go to see with your whole family, and everyone will enjoy it regardless of your age," Zelensky says in the video, according to Variety. "You know you will definitely walk out of the film in a fantastic mood." Ben Whishaw voiced the character in the English versions of the films.
Zelensky was an actor and comedian prior to his presidency, creating and starring in Servant of the People, in which he plays a teacher who is elected president of Ukraine. He later actually ran for president and easily won the election; he's served as president since 2019. During an acceptance speech at Sunday's SAG Awards, Michael Keaton noted "a fellow actor," Zelensky, was "fighting the fight" in Ukraine. Zelensky has also appeared on several Ukrainian reality TV shows.
"Speaking for myself," Bonneville tweeted, "thank you, President Zelenskiy."