Hugh Grant has joined the cast of sequel Paddington 2, playing a vain, past-his-prime actor, who becomes a neighbour of the beloved bear.

Grant will be joined by fellow new cast addition Brendan Gleeson, who’ll play a notorious safe-cracker and legendary strongman who becomes an unexpected new ally for Paddington.

Hugh GrantHugh Grant will star in Paddington 2

Principal photography on the sequel has already begun, with cast members Hugh Bonneville, Sally Hawkins, Julie Walters, Jim Broadbent and Peter Capaldi all confirmed as returning.

Ben Whishaw will also be back as the voice of the marmalade-loving bear, with Imelda Staunton as Aunt Lucy.

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The script has been written by Paul King, who is also returning as director, alongside ‘Horrible Histories’’ Simon Farnaby.

In the sequel Paddington is now happily settled with the Brown family in Windsor Gardens and has become a popular member of the community.

While searching for the perfect present for Aunt Lucy’s 100th birthday, Paddington spots a unique pop-up book and embarks upon a series of odd jobs to buy it.

But when the book is stolen Paddington and the Browns must turn detectives to uncover the thief.

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Grant’s character, Phoenix Buchanan, is described as Windsor Gardens’ local celebrity: a vain, charming acting legend whose star has fallen somewhat in recent years.

In recent years Grant’s acting roles have been few and far between, but earlier this year he returned to leading roles in Florence Foster Jenkins, opposite Meryl Streep.