In a recent interview, Rowan Atkinson spoke about his time as the beloved character Mr Bean, the prospect of a Blackadder return and today’s ‘cancel culture’.
Atkinson told British radio and tv guide, Radio Times of how he finds playing the childish character “stressful and exhausting” and believes there will never be another live episode, or movie, made.
However, an animated film is in the pipeline, with Atkinson saying it is easier for him to perform the character “vocally, than visually”. Atkinson went on to add that he does not “much enjoy playing” the childish character.
Mr Bean first appeared on ITV in 1990, before a host of films and cartoon series spinoffs. The show went on to have great success and become one of the most loved shows but, Atkinson does not enjoy the “weight of responsibility”.
“The weight of responsibility is not pleasant. I find it stressful and exhausting, and I look forward to the end of it”.
The prospect of a Blackadder return
Atkinson went on to say that he does not actually like the process of making anything, “with the possible exception of Blackadder.” The 66 year-old explained that the responsibility for making that series funny was “on many shoulders, not just mine”.
Although seemingly against the thought of reprising his role as the childish character, Atkinson was a little more coy about a return for Blackadder, claiming it is “certainly not impossible”.
“That’s about as optimistic as I can be, and I’d rather not speculate on when it could be set. But Blackadder represented the creative energy we all had in the ’80s. To try to replicate that 30 years on wouldn’t be easy.”
Atkinson on today’s cancel culture
His Facebook page is very popular and has fans all over the world. However, Atkinson says he has “no desire to have any presence on social media,” and that what happens there “is a sideshow in my world.”
Having a social media presence is everything to some celebrities but, Atkinson believes social media “decides what we want to see”.
“The problem we have online is that an algorithm decides what we want to see, which ends up creating a simplistic, binary view of society,” said Atkinson. “It becomes a case of either you’re with us or against us. And if you’re against us, you deserve to be ‘cancelled’.
“It’s important that we’re exposed to a wide spectrum of opinion, but what we have now is the digital equivalent of the medieval mob roaming the streets looking for someone to burn. So, it is scary for anyone who’s a victim of that mob and it fills me with fear about the future.”