'Fallen star' Hugh Grant joins cast for Paddington sequel
Hugh Grant is to star as a "vain, charming acting legend" in the sequel to worldwide hit Paddington - joining a wealth of British acting talent including Julie Walters and Peter Capaldi.
Paddington 2 finds the marmalade-loving bear living in Windsor Gardens and follows him as he hunts down a thief with the help of host family the Browns.
Ben Whishaw returns as the voice of Peru's most famous export, who was taken in by the Browns after they found him lost and alone at Paddington Station.
Award-winning actor Grant, will star as Windsor Gardens' local celebrity Phoenix Buchanan - described as a "vain, charming acting legend whose star has fallen somewhat in recent years".
Harry Potter actor Brendan Gleeson will also join the film's cast as "Knuckles" McGinty, a "notorious safe-cracker and legendary strongman who becomes an unexpected new ally for Paddington".
2015's Paddington was the highest grossing independent (non-US studio) family film of all time grossing 270 million US dollars (£220m) worldwide.
Both films are based on the Paddington books written by British author Michael Bond, which have sold 35 million copies worldwide since they were first published in 1958.
Also returning to the film are Downton Abbey star Hugh Bonneville, Bridget Jones and Harry Potter actor Jim Broadbent - as well as Sally Hawkins, Madeleine Harris and Samuel Joslin.
Writer Paul King said: "It has been a complete joy to return to the world of Paddington.
"It was such a delight to see his first big screen adventure embraced by audiences around the world, and I couldn't be more excited about Hugh and Brendan joining the cast to bring his next outing to life.
"Together, I hope we can make a film worthy of this most exceptional of bears."
Producer David Heyman, who worked on all eight Harry Potter films, said: "I am thrilled to be back in the warm embrace of Paddington Bear, again under the inspired direction of Paul King. And I'm delighted to welcome Hugh and Brendan to our exceptional cast."