Rowan Atkinson has been a part of multiple iconic projects such as Blackadder and Johnny English but none of them have surpassed the cultural impact of Mr. Bean. Atkinson’s portrayal of the titular character in the latter established him as a global icon who made everyone laugh due to his unique physical comedy.
While Atkinson’s other famous roles use language as the tool for articulating comedic expressions, his Mr. Bean persona is special because his silent comedic language is truly universal. Often compared to the likes of Buster Keaton, Atkinson’s depiction of an eccentric man drew from various sources of inspiration such as Jacques Tati.
In a recent interview, Atkinson compared his new project with Mr. Bean and claimed that the latter was a “self-centred, narcissistic anarchist” who was actually “a nine-year-old trapped in a man’s body”. That was the ultimate appeal of the show since audiences were completely mesmerised by Bean’s ability to find unique solutions to modern problems.
Most Mr. Bean fans know that Atkinson himself is very different from the character he plays which is why he has received even more acclaim for his complete transformation. However, the comedian revealed that he always had an ominous feeling about the end: “A lot of people didn’t like the inevitable and justifiable feeling that things were going to go wrong.”
That said, Atkinson is more appreciative of his new character Trevor in an upcoming series titled Man vs. Bee which follows his legendary battle with the flying demon. He explained: “Trevor is different. He is a much nicer and much sweeter and more normal person, I hope — and that was certainly our aim…he seems like a sweet, well-intentioned, perfectly intelligent man, but, of course, he’s got fault lines, his weak spots, and his weak spot is his obsessiveness.”