As the bleak news of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine continues to emerge online, a simple revelation has sparked joy and a bit of hope that involves one of the key figures involved with the current crisis. 

Social media erupted with chatter on Sunday after Black List founder Franklin Leonard sent a tweet that revealed that Volodymyr Zelensky, Ukraine’s current president and face of the resistance against Russian aggression, had voiced Paddington Bear in the Ukrainian version of both Paddington and Paddington 2. 

The thought of a wartime leader lending his voice to a marmalade-loving Peruvian bear may seem strangely out of place, but Zelensky’s rise to power did not start in politics. He started on the silver screen. As one of the most popular and successful comedians in Ukraine, starring in several films and TV series, Zelensky was catapulted from actor to politician. 

In a simple case of life initiating art, Zelensky was once the star of a Ukrainian television series, Servant of the People, in which an unsuspecting teacher is thrust into the seat of Ukraine’s presidency. The role inspired Zelensky to run for office in real life, winning Ukraine’s presidential election in 2019. 

British actor Hugh Bonneville, one of the stars of the hit movie franchise, also tweeted his surprise at discovering that Zelensky had voiced the beloved bear for Ukrainian film audiences.

Along with his tribute, Bonneville shared a Ukrainian language promotional trailer for Paddington 2 featuring the then-actor and comedian Zelensky. According to Variety, Zelensky addresses the audience in the promo by saying, “Hello to my darling friends. I, Volodymyr Zelensky, will lend my voice to the wonderful, charismatic, friendly bear Paddington.”

Source: The Hollywood Reporter