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Break out the marmalade, Paddington 3 has found its director.
Award-winning commercials filmmaker Dougal Wilson has been tapped to direct the latest installment of the hit family film franchise from StudioCanal and Heyday Films, titled Paddington in Peru.
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Wilson will be making his feature theatrical debut on the project after a long career in the music video and commercial space. Wilson is taking over directing duties from Paul King, who was behind the first two Paddington live-action films and is currently working on Warner Bros.’ Charlie and the Chocolate Factory prequel, Wonka, which stars Timothée Chalamet.
Paddington in Peru will begin principal photography in 2023, filming on location in both London and Peru. (The latter locale is Paddington’s native home, having traveled from “darkest Peru” to Paddington station, where his adventures in London began.)
“After 10 years of working on the Paddington movies, I feel absurdly protective of the little bear, and I’m delighted that Dougal will be there to hold his paw as he embarks on his third big-screen adventure,” said King. “Dougal’s work is never less than astounding: funny, beautiful, heartfelt, imaginative and totally original. Aunt Lucy once asked us to ‘Please Look After This Bear.’ I know Dougal will do so admirably.”
Wilson offered, “As a huge fan of the first two films, I am very excited (if not a little intimidated) to be continuing the story of Paddington. It’s a massive responsibility, but all my efforts will be focused on making a third film that honors the love so many people have for this very special bear.”
King will stay on the project as an executive producer and wrote the story for the film with previous Paddington collaborators Simon Farnaby and Mark Burton. Burton, Jon Foster and James Lamont wrote the script.
StudioCanal and Heyday Films are partnering on the film after working together on both Paddington 1 and 2, with StudioCanal fully financing.
The cast and plot of the third film are still currently being kept under wraps. Ben Whishaw has long voiced the titular bear, who in the past films was seen getting into adventures with the Brown family, led by Sally Hawkins and Hugh Bonneville.
The Paddington movies have been both a commercial and critical success for StudioCanal, grossing more than $500 million at the worldwide box office. The first two movies have a 97 percent and 99 percent fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes, respectively, and have reached cult status as well. Recently, the movies were referenced in the plot of Nicolas Cage starrer The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent, while Paddington participated in the Queen of England’s Platinum Jubilee celebration earlier this month.
StudioCanal CEO Anna Marsh and executive vp global production Ron Halpern confirmed the news of Wilson’s hiring, saying, “We have long been huge admirers of Dougal’s work, his stunning visual creativity, his storytelling, heart, emotion and humor. We are so thrilled that Dougal will be directing the third Paddington film. We look forward to bringing Paddington back to Peru for his next big screen adventure.”
Added produced David Heyman: “After an exacting search, we’re delighted that the brilliant Dougal Wilson will be directing the third Paddington film. A much-garlanded legend within the commercials world, we have long admired Dougal’s virtuoso work, and his gift for directing with heart, humor, surprise and vivid imaginative flair. He’s a wonderfully inventive kindred spirit for Paddington’s latest adventure with the Browns, and we’re thrilled to be working with him.”
While Wilson has yet to direct a Hollywood feature, he is prolific in the commercial and music video space. He has worked with brands like Apple, AT&T and Ikea, and has directed well-known Christmas advertisements for U.K. department store John Lewis. He has directed music videos for artists like LCD Soundsystem and Coldplay. Wilson has earned both DGA and Grammy nominations, while his Channel 4 Paralympics ad, “We’re the Superhumans,” garnered two Black D&AD Pencils and the Film Grand Prix at Cannes Lions.
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