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It may seem surprising now, but Ben Whishaw wasn’t supposed to play Paddington.
The adorably furry bear, who returns to his good-natured hijinks in this weekend’s “Paddington 2,” was actually first voiced by Colin Firth. In fact, Whishaw didn’t come onboard the 2014 “Paddington” movie until filming and partial animation had been completed and director Paul King decided he wanted a more youthful voice.
“I was called in to audition, and they were all in a bit of a panic because there was about five months to go before it was due out in the cinemas,” says Whishaw, who is in London rehearsing a production of “Julius Caesar,” which opens Jan. 20 at the Bridge Theatre.