Paddington trailer

The feature-length Paddington movie came as a pleasant surprise to audiences in 2014, delivering good humor and warm pathos in the latest adventure from the beloved, shabbily-attired storybook character. As our adorable ursine hero made his way through the world in search of a home after leaving his native Peru, a new generation of youngsters were introduced to his kindness, can-do spirit, and unflagging love of marmalade. The healthy box-office grosses ($288.7 million ain’t nothing to sneeze at, even if you’re a sneezy, hijinks-prone bear) practically guaranteed a sequel, and a new casting notice today promises that the upcoming Paddington 2 will be cuddlier than ever.

Because is there really anyone on Earth quite as cuddly as Hugh Grant? The rakishly handsome leading man has taken a role in the film set for release in 2017, along with Irish actor Brendan Gleeson, Variety reports. Both men will appear as their live-action selves alongside the animated Paddington, with Grant playing “local celebrity Phoenix Buchanan, a vain and charming acting legend who has fallen on hard times.” While the actor pokes a little friendly fun at himself, Gleeson will portray “Knuckles” McGinty, “notorious safe-cracker and strongman who becomes an unexpected ally for Paddington.” Which, for some reason, only makes me think of this.

In Paddington 2, our pint-size pal hopes to buy his dear Aunt Lucy (voiced by Imelda Staunton, the one-time Dolores Umbridge in the Harry Potter days) the perfect gift for her 100th birthday. But money’s tight when you’re a bear — thanks a ton for the declining bear-job market, Brexit — so Paddington takes on a series of odd jobs in order to afford a present. Some no-good thief purloins the gift before Aunt Lucy’s party, and just like that, Paddington’s off on another one of his rollicking journeys. The film’s already begun principal photography, which means that the soul-cleansing sight of Hugh Grant acting opposite a living teddy bear isn’t too far off. Everything’s going to be okay.

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