Oscar winner Olivia Colman, Rachel Zegler, Antonio Banderas, and Emily Mortimer are in talks to join the cast of Paddington in Peru, a sequel that will find the beloved bear exploring his roots back in South America.
Hugh Bonneville, Julie Walters, Jim Broadbent, Madeleine Harris, and Samuel Joslin will all return to make the trip, while Ben Whishaw and Imelda Staunton will also be back to voice Paddington and Aunt Lucy, respectively.
Commercials helmer Dougal Wilson, who has worked with brands such as Apple and Ikea, will make his feature directorial debut with the film, which was written by Mark Burton, Jon Foster and James Lamont, with Burton sharing story credit with Paul King, who directed the first two Paddington movies, as well as Simon Farnaby. King will also executive produce the Peru-set sequel along with Anna Marsh, Ron Halpern and Dan MacRae from Studiocanal, and Tim Wellspring and Jeffrey Clifford.
The Paddington pictures are based on the bestselling children’s books by British author Michael Bond, and David Heyman will produce the latest movie under his Heyday Films banner along with Rosie Alison. Rob Silva will serve as a co-producer on the project, which is expected to start shooting next month in Peru, as well as Colombia and the U.K.
Paddington in Peru will follow the titular bear as he returns to Peru to visit his dear Aunt Lucy, who now lives at a retirement home run by a guitar-playing nun (Colman). Banderas will play a dashing riverboat captain who offers to help Paddington and the Brown family on their Peruvian adventure through the Amazon rainforest to the country’s stunning mountain peaks, while Zegler will play his daughter.
Variety broke the casting news, adding that one family member who won’t be making the journey is Sally Hawkins, as Mortimer will be replacing her as Mrs. Brown after Hawkins played the role in the first two films. The actress issued a statement about leaving the character in good hands with Mortimer.
“For me it has felt the right time to hand the reins over to another, and one can’t get much better than the truly wonderful Emily Mortimer, [who] is extraordinarily special. She will embody the essence of Mary Brown and yet make it utterly her own. However, I am, and will always be in love with Paddington’s world. I already greatly miss my on and off-screen family — the experience of making the first two films has truly been some of the best and most creative times I have had in the world of film. They both gave me so much joy. I will forever hold them so very close to my heart indeed.”
“I am absolutely delighted to be working with such a wonderful cast on the next installment of the Paddington story. I was already an enormous fan of our returning actors, but for them to be joined by Olivia, Antonio, Emily and Rachel is beyond thrilling,” Wilson said in a statement.
Studiocanal is fully financing the film, and its CEO Anna Marsh said that “With Dougal at the helm, Paddington in Peru will encapsulate all of the heart, humor and warm chaos of the beloved Paddington films while taking Paddington and the Brown family on a brand new adventure,” one that will be distributed by Sony Pictures in the U.S. and a handful of other territories.
The first Paddington movie grossed $282 million worldwide in 2015, while the sequel grossed $228 million three years later. With budgets reported to be in the $50 million range, both films have been quite profitable, not to mention critically acclaimed.