Rowan Atkinson Poster

Quotes (13)

  • People think because I can make them laugh on the stage, I'll be able to make them laugh in person. That isn't the case at all. I am essentially a rather quiet, dull person who just happens to be a performer.
  • [commenting in 2004 on Britain's proposed Racial and Religious Hatred Bill] To criticize a person for their race is manifestly irrational and ridiculous, but to criticize their religion, that is a right. That is a freedom. The freedom to criticize ideas, any ideas - even if they are sincerely held beliefs - is one of the fundamental freedoms of society. A law which attempts to say you can criticize and ridicule ideas as long as they are not religious ideas is a very peculiar law indeed.
  • Mr. Bean is essentially a child trapped in the body of a man. All cultures identify with children in a similar way, so he has this bizarre global outreach. And 10-year-old boys from different cultures have more in common than 30-year-olds. As we grow up, we acquire this sensibility that divides us.
  • I remember looking up Johnny English (2003) in a film guide and it said 'intermittently hilarious' - quite a good description of five good jokes and a lot of longueurs. I find it frustrating that, apart from Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994), I have yet to be involved in a film of which I am totally proud.
  • The casual ease which some people move from finding something offensive to wishing to declare it criminal - and are then able to find factions within government to aid their ambitions - is truly depressing.
  • [on being overwhelmed by fans at a Toronto shopping mall] It's a bit disconcerting being treated like Madonna.
  • [preparing to perform onstage the title role in Simon Gray's 'Quartermaine's Terms'] It's well known that tragedy and comedy are close bedfellows. It's rare, though, that you see them placed in such intimacy. Like most tragic figures, 'Quartermaine' is unaware of his own tragedy. What I love about him is his optimism. You don't tend to feel much sympathy for pessimistic people, but those who retain their optimism, despite the sadness of their lives, are interesting, engaging and sympathetic.
  • If I'm denied words, Mr. Bean's physicality and attitude to life is what I seem to acquire. In 1989, we put him on TV and no doubt the motivation was a belief that we had a character that could live in other markets and other countries. I was always envious of the fact that so many British musical artists in the late eighties, Phil Collins or David Bowie or Duran Duran or someone like that, assumed an international marketplace for their product, whereas British comedians don't. And I thought we have a tool here that will enable us to do that.
  • I've always required a formal setting, a stage or a film or TV studio in which to perform. And above all I need to become somebody else. I'm certainly not a stand-up comedian in any sense.
  • I definitely do not have the wit of Blackadder. I definitely require scriptwriters to provide that. And I don't think I'm as dark or cynical as Blackadder is in his view of the world. Probably I'm somewhere in between but closer to Mr. Bean. You know, the nice bits of Mr. Bean, because Mr. Bean has a very vindictive and selfish and nasty side to him. I hope I don't have too much of that.
  • The more success you have, the more pressure you feel to make things to a good standard, for movies you make to make money and that sort of thing. One misses those days when you were 19 or 23 and you just did what made you laugh. What you and your friends thought was funny. And you did it, and if they laughed, great, and if they didn't, it didn't matter. As you get older you always think about everything so much, you're so concerned that what you do should be good and should be successful that it's the success you're pursuing rather than the fun of doing it, which is what's so great when you're younger... What's difficult for me on a movie is not playing Mr. Bean. The problem is the scripts. The problem is the shaping of the shots. The problem is the editing. The problem is all those things.
  • All jokes about religion cause offence, so it's pointless apologizing for them. You should really only apologize for a bad joke.
  • As a lifelong beneficiary of the freedom to make jokes about religion, I do think that Boris Johnson's joke about wearers of the burka resembling letterboxes is a pretty good one.