' ' Cinema Romantico: Who Should Play the Villain in Paddington 3?

Friday, February 19, 2021

Who Should Play the Villain in Paddington 3?

On Wednesday, amid another day of dreadful news, one dispatch of joy briefly flashed through the social media sky when representatives of StudioCanal confirmed that “Paddington 3” was in active development. Glory hallelujah. Details were scarce, of course, at this early stage, and so naturally people wondered who might play the third movie’s requisite villain. That will be a high bar to clear. Nicole Kidman, after all, might have been the villain in the first “Paddington”, not the latest James Bond exercise, but she nevertheless played the best Bond villain since Jaws. In “Paddington 2”, meanwhile, as egomaniacal actor Phoenix Buchanan, Hugh Grant did the impossible and one-upped her eminence. That’s why one person on social media who suggested “Paddington 3” not have a villain at all might be on to something; you not be able to reach higher so maybe you could focus on interior conflict, rather than exterior. But that would ruin this post. And besides, a “Paddington 3” baddie is essential. 

A few possibilities: 

Richard E. Grant. If you want to cash in on the last vestiges of that “Can You Ever Forgive Me?” momentum. Just make sure you don’t suck out all his arch merriment a la “Th Rise of Skywalker.”

Emma Thompson. Perhaps the only way you could reach higher than Hugh Grant? Maybe she is an evil scientist looking for Peruvian Bear DNA for a Talking Bear Theme Park?

Sean Bean. I can’t stop imagining the grave commitment Bean would bring to his scenes opposite a CGI bear. [Circling Paddington tied to a chair.] “You know, Paddington, we’re not so different, you and I.” 

Ralph Fiennes. If you sand the edges off his villainous “In Bruges” turn by filtering it through the elegant if high-strung playfulness of “Hail Caesar’s” Laurence Laurentz, you might have something. 

Rachel Weisz. You toss that scene in “Runaway Jury” where she’s chewing on a pen and taunting Gene Hackman in a blender with Penelope from “The Brothers Bloom” and Sarah Churchill from “The Favourite” and then sit back and watch as she chews her way through the screen.

Timothy Spall. As the owner of a 300-year old pub with a no-music policy, Spall is vexed by an unlikely pub that opens next door, run by Paddington, of course, where that 5-piece Calypso group from “Paddington 2” becomes the house band and Paddington serves a jazzed up Marmalade IPA that is all the rage of the kiddos. 

Gina Bellman. In the end, I think this is the way to go, though StudioCanal is taking no advice from me. You do not try and go higher after you have already played The Stones and then The Beatles on the mix tape. No, you circumvent expectations by dialing it back, by playing some Michelle Shocked or some Ani D. Give Bellman the movie role she has always deserved.  

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