Belfast Telegraph

Kidman relishing villain's role

Oscar-winning beauty Nicole Kidman was among the stars to brave the pouring rain at the premiere of Paddington the movie.

The Australian beauty, accompanied by her husband Keith Urban who sheltered her with a Paddington umbrella, joined co-stars including Hugh Bonneville, Ben Whishaw, Julie Walters and Jim Broadbent on the red carpet in London's Leicester Square.

Whishaw voices a CGI incarnation of the bear from darkest Peru created by Michael Bond in the live-action film.

Downton Abbey's Hugh and Blue Jasmine's Sally Hawkins star as Mr and Mrs Brown, the family who take in Paddington, while Nicole plays the film's villain, Millicent, a sinister taxidermist with her eye on the beloved bear.

Nicole said: "Well obviously I was the kid that loved the wicked witch in The Wizard Of Oz, so of course I grew up to be the girl who wants to play the villain in a movie. I'm always happy to play the bad girl.

"I just get to have fun, and it's obviously all done with a smile."

She added: "I know all about Paddington. I had a teddy bear but I also had a Paddington Bear.

"I remember being about six or seven and just hoping I would find my own little Paddington stranded on the street."

The movie has been given a parental guidance (PG) certificate by the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) for containing "dangerous behaviour, mild threat, innuendo, infrequent mild bad language".

The innuendo refers to a scene where Hugh dresses up as a woman.

Sally laughed: "I think he's got beautiful legs. I kept telling him that, he's got very lovely ankles.

"That sequence is fantastic, Hugh is an incredible comic performer and it's ... Lord Grantham in a dress."

Julie, 64, who plays the Browns' housekeeper Mrs Bird, opted for "duffle coat chic" on the red carpet in homage to the famous bear.

She said of the PG rating: "It's a family film, and I don't know what that is about.

"Apparently it's to do with Hugh Bonneville being dressed as a woman, in that case it should probably be an X rated film!" she joked.

Ben replaced Colin Firth as the voice of Paddington after The King's Speech star quit, saying he was having trouble finding the voice of the marmalade-loving bear.

The Skyfall star said of taking on the role: "I didn't really think too much about it, once they'd asked me to do it. We had such a short amount of time to get it done, it was really a case of getting down to it and trying to make it work."

The film, directed by Paul King, sees Paddington despatched from his native jungle and smuggled on board a boat to England.

Bond, 88, also attended the premiere and has given it his blessing.

Paddington will open in cinemas on Friday November 28.

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