StudioCanal has brought back original Paddington director Paul King to take the helm on the upcoming sequel, Paddington 2. Deadline reports that the studio and producer David Heyman had been courting the filmmaker to return for Paddington 2 after the original became a financial success. The director has also come aboard to help craft the story with writer Simon Farnaby, an actor-writer who actually played Barry in Paddington.
The report reveals that StudioCanal is hoping to turn this property into a long-running franchise, although no story details have been revealed at this time. The original Paddington was considered a big gamble for StudioCanal, since they fully financed the movie, budgeted at $55 million. The risk paid off, with the movie taking in $76.2 million domestically and $259.5 million worldwide, along with healthy ancillary revenues and merchandise tie-ins.
The first movie, based on the beloved novels by Michael Bond, told the story of the comic misadventures of a young Peruvian bear (voiced by Ben Whishaw) who travels to the city in search of a home. Finding himself lost and alone, he begins to realize that city life is not all he had imagined - until he meets the kindly Brown family who read the label around his neck that says "Please look after this bear. Thank you," and offer him a temporary haven. It looked as though his luck had changed until this rarest of bears caught the eye of a museum taxidermist named Millicent Clyde (Nicole Kidman).
It isn't known if Ben Whishaw will return to voice the title character, or if stars Nicole Kidman, Julie Walters, Jim Broadbent, Peter Capaldi, Imelda Staunton, Michael Gambon, Hugh Bonneville, Sally Hawkins and Geoffrey Palmer will reprise their roles for the sequel. While StudioCanal is anxious to get production rolling on Paddington 2, neither the studio nor David Heyman plan on rushing the director into production until he feels the story is right. We'll have to wait and see how long it takes Paul King and Simon Farnaby to get the sequel script ready.
Paul King made his directorial debut with Bunny and the Bull, which also starred Simon Farnaby along with Edward Hogg and Richard Ayoade. He has also directed several episodes of The Mighty Boosh and Come Fly with Me before transitioning into feature films. Are you looking forward to Paddington 2 hitting theaters sometime in the near future?