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As a sequel, Paddington 2 sets up a wonderful adventure for its titular talking bear -- finding him not only trying to get a special birthday present for his beloved Aunt Lucy, but getting caught up in a criminal conspiracy that winds up getting him sent to prison. It's the exact kind of perfect story to tell following the events of the first movie, but as I recently learned from director Paul King and screenwriter Simon Farnaby, the film almost had a plot that took its eponymous character in a very different direction. The two filmmakers told me,
Simon Farnaby: We had, storyline-wise, we had an idea that Paddington didn't go to prison - he hid out at the fair, the circus, and became a star. And we had Henry with him at one point, do you remember?
Paul King: There were hundreds of dead storylines.
Simon Farnaby: And Henry was going to be sort of shoveling the horse manure while Paddington was kind of becoming this... magician, wasn't he?
Paul King: Yeah. We sort of had some Paddington on the run stuff that we'll keep for Paddington 3.
Simon Farnaby: Well, I've just given it away now!
Every sequel starts development with filmmakers throwing out a wide variety of storylines hoping for an idea to stick, and it turns out that Paddington 2 was no exception. Earlier this month I had the pleasure of witting down with Paul King and Simon Farnaby to talk about their newest work, and part of our conversation was dedicated to the ideas that ultimately didn't make it into the script. I specifically asked the duo if there was anything they specifically wanted to do but couldn't, and they revealed an alternate version of Paddington 2 that would have seen him skipping the prison portion of the film, and instead go on the run.
In Paddington 2, based on an original story by Paul King and Simon Farnaby, Paddington (voiced by Ben Whishaw) is desperate to get a perfect birthday present for his Aunt Lucy in Darkest Peru, and decides that the best he can do is a stunning pop-up book being sold at the local antique store. Paddington tries to raise the money to buy it, but his neighbor, washed-up actor Phoenix Buchanan (Hugh Grant), not only steals it, but frames the little bear for the crime. In the movie he gets caught and thrown in jail, but as you can see above, that wasn't always the case.
Given that the described alternate plot sounds like a whole lot of fun, it almost sounds unfortunate that it wasn't ultimately he story direction in which they decided to go with the follow-up. That being said, the blow is definitely cushioned by the fact that the two men are clearly already thinking about concepts for Paddington 3.
You can watch Paul King and Simon Farnaby discuss the Paddington 2 that never came to be watching the interview clip below!