Paul King is a remarkable talent.
His work on “The Mighty Boosh” is a delightful kind of madness, and his first film “Bunny & The Bull” was fiercely inventive. It's one thing to do small and dark and culty, but making the jump to something that plays to a much broader audience isn't always possible. I love Michel Gondry, but I'm not sure I believe he's ever going to harness his whimsical side into something that connects on that giant mainstream level. He doesn't have to, of course, but I do think it's harder than people think to make a film that speaks to all audiences.
The first “Paddington” was a delightful surprise, and the biggest magic trick of the movie was seeing just how well Paul King brought the character to life, dropping him into a live-action world. The film managed to be sweet and silly and big and broad and weird and particular all at once.
Now King is set to write and direct a sequel to the slapstick comedy about the tiny Peruvian bear who has now found an English family to call his own. The first film had such a charming sense of place, both during the Peruvian sequence and the London stuff. Speaking as an American who went from “OH MY GOD I'M IN LONDON” on my first visit to “Yep, that's London” on my most recent visit, King captured the feeling of that first visit perfectly, making the city magical and showing it through the eyes of someone who has this romantic idea about the city.
It's a big day for successful comedies signing the same filmmakers for follow-ups with Universal locking Elizabeth Banks down for “Pitch Perfect 3” as well. It's not an automatic thing, though, and in this case, it sounds like David Heyman and StudioCanal had to work hard to make it happen. While “Paddington” wasn't a mega-blockbuster, it did well enough around the world to make a sequel attractive, and with King onboard now, I have every reason to believe that it's going to be just as charming and expertly made as the original.