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When "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel" was released back in 2012, it turned into something of a sleeper hit, grossing more than $100 million worldwide and firmly placing it amongst specialty smashes of the year (alongside "Moonrise Kingdom" and "To Rome With Love"). Still, it seems like an unlikely film to warrant a sequel, but that's just what it's getting, in the form of "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel 2."

Fox announced that production on the sequel started today (via Coming Soon), with director John Madden and screenwriter Ol Parker returning behind the scenes. In front of the camera, Judi Dench, Maggie Smith, Bill Nighy, Dev Patel, Celia Imrie, Ronald Pickup, Penelope Wilton, Diana Hardcastle, Tena Desae, and Lillete Dubey are all set to return. What's more -- new cast members Richard Gere, David Strathairn, and Tamsin Greig will join the original cast, for a lovely expansion of the franchise. That's right, everybody -- the American Gigolo is checking into the Best Exotic Marigold Hotel!

"This film presented us with an irresistible opportunity: to continue a story we realized we had only just begun. Not to tell the same story again, but to pursue where the lives of these very different characters lead, with an audience which already holds them in great affection," Madden said in a statement.

Here's the official plot synopsis:

"'The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel 2' is the expansionist dream of Sonny (Dev Patel), and it's making more claims on his time than he has available, considering his imminent marriage to the love of his life, Sunaina (Tena Desae). Sonny has his eye on a promising property now that his first venture, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel for the Elderly and Beautiful, has only a single remaining vacancy – posing a rooming predicament for fresh arrivals Guy (Richard Gere) and Lavinia (Tamsin Greig). Evelyn and Douglas (Judi Dench and Bill Nighy) have now joined the Jaipur workforce, and are wondering where their regular dates for Chilla pancakes will lead, while Norman and Carol (Ronald Pickup and Diana Hardcastle) are negotiating the tricky waters of an exclusive relationship, as Madge (Celia Imrie) juggles two eligible and very wealthy suitors. Perhaps the only one who may know the answers is newly installed co-manager of the hotel, Muriel (Maggie Smith), the keeper of everyone's secrets. As the demands of a traditional Indian wedding threaten to engulf them all, an unexpected way forward presents itself."