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Rowan Atkinson doesn't like Mr. Bean and Johnny English

"Mr. Bean" made him famous; Rowan Atkinson is currently trying to save the world again in the cinema as the clumsy secret agent "Johnny English". Incidentally, he finds both fictional characters unsympathetic himself.

Rowan Atkinson rests his chin on his hand for almost the entire time he met the press in the elegant Hotel Fontenay in Hamburg near the Alster. Nevertheless, the 63-year-old speaks very clearly, very articulated - and very focused. The British star comedian says he is actually shy, easily intimidated - and "introspective". It is unmistakable. Whether 'Mr. Bean 'or' Johnny English '- both gentlemen, into whose skin Atkinson slipped in the cinema or on the TV screen, usually do not know what they are doing and tend to suddenly sink into the absurd during their greatest triumphs. It is unlikely that something like this could happen to Atkinson himself. On the occasion of his third appearance as "Johnny English" he speaks so analytically, self-critically and realistically about the stress that this film has meant for him again. If the art of acting is measured by the distance to the role, Atkinson is qualitatively far ahead.

Born in 1955, the electrical engineer is a bit grayer in nature than when he is a fool in Her Majesty's secret service and battling with the big bad guys. When asked about his statement that he wanted 'Mr. Bean 'not see old and therefore no longer play him, follows a small denial. Of course 'Mr. Bean 'get old. "After all, I don't mind getting old," he adds, amused.

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But he doesn't like "Mr. Bean" or "Johnny English". Referring to a scene from the new film, Atkinson explains: "When Johnny English sits with his colleague in a French café and tells him about his wife, you can tell: Johnny English doesn't care about that at all. He's selfish, wants women and Cars, wearing expensive suits and sunbathing in the south of France. " His Mr. Bean is the same.

But how he plays the two fascinates millions. In the course of preparing for the new film, Atkinson and his crew discovered that four to 14-year-olds in particular watch the 'Johnny English' films - "when they are twelve, up to eleven times a week". The parents of the enthusiastic children should also be among his fans. On the other hand, the group of 19 to 28-year-olds is critical: "What I do is not cynical enough for them, they want something rougher, harder", which from his mouth sounds less like a moral judgment than a realistic assessment of different phases of growing up.

Would "Johnny English" go down so well with children because it wasn't obscene in the flicks like in many other comedies of today? "It can be, even if we deliberately didn't plan it that way," admits Atkinson. But old school gags, he definitely stands for them. In general, old and new times play an important role in the new film "Johnny English - You Only Live Three Times". Finally, the temporary agent tries to eliminate an Internet tycoon with ambitions to rule the world by analogue means. "I live quite well and as sensibly as possible between the poles of the analog and digital world," the star sums up and smugly remarks: "By the way, I only know 19-year-olds who listen to vinyl." What really worries him is that in the Internet age the sensitivity to communication has grown so much: "A joke made 25 years ago suddenly hits you in the face." But he himself keeps his hands off social media - in order to "not stress" himself.

Atkinson will probably not eliminate what he says is the greatest stress factor in his life, and that is the filming itself. Everything else is great - the writing, the editing, the post-production. But to stand in front of the camera is an abomination. "Whenever I stand there, I find that I could be better, be funnier. It's like reaching out for something that you never really get." In retrospect he is quite satisfied with "Johnny English - You only live three times": "The film wasn't finished until August 10. When we saw it for the first time, I noticed how I smiled. It works, and it's worth a lot. I even think it's better than the other 'Johnny English' films, with more energy and more consistent ".

But the shooting? Despite the beautiful south of France "a single stress" without relaxation. The physical strain should not be underestimated either - "especially in the dance scene," he adds jokingly. Somewhat - but only a little - more seriously, he addresses the risk of injuries in the action scenes. In the previous "Johnny English" he tore a muscle. "It wasn't as big an issue as Tom Cruise's ankle though." He enjoyed the chases in the mountains, especially with the Aston Martin: "It's the best proof of how beautiful old things can be."

When the Aston Martin is mentioned, the question of 'James Bond' is of course not far. That gives Atkinson the opportunity to do a sweeping blow that leaves next to nothing of the myth of the super agent and that would have fit into a seminar on the delusions of the culture industry. "This is a character who was conceived for novels from the 1950s," he recalls, "filled with the mood after the Second World War and the Cold War". But not even at that time would the material have anything to do with the reality of spying. "We still love James Bond of course - because it's pure fantasy and fun." Over the decades, however, the concept has been significantly overstretched. Does "James Bond" even fit into the 21st century?

Atkinson has his doubts here and sees commercial motives above all. He considers whoever plays James Bond, whether man or woman, black or white, to be completely irrelevant. "The only important thing is to own the rights to the two words 'James' and 'Bond' - and thus the franchise." But the topic does not leave him completely untouched. How could it, since he plays with the former Bond girl Olga Kurylenko in the new "Johnny English". So he suddenly finds himself confronted with the question of whether he might not want to play James Bond himself. "Fascinating idea," mumbles Rowan Atkinson, but then delivers an answer in his own way, with a vision that comes closer to "With umbrella, charm and bowler hat": "James Bond, Jane Bond, Jason Bourne and - Johnny English should team up to hunt down the ultimate super criminal! "

Source: teleschau - the media service