Did You Know?
Rowan Atkinson has a fetish for fast luxury cars. He appeared in the seventeenth series of the BBC show Top Gear, where he drove the Kia Cee'd on the test track, setting the record at 1:42.2. However, this record was later beaten by Matt LeBlanc (Joey, from the show F.R.I.E.N.D.S) in the eighteenth series, with a lap time of 1:42.1.
Rowan Sebastian Atkinson CBE; you may be perplexed when you hear this name, but will definitely recognize him by his many character names like, "Mr. Bean", "Johnny English", or "Edmund Blackadder"! He is considered to be amongst the top 50 comedians ever, however, his accomplishments reach far beyond comedy. Did you notice the abbreviation "CBE" after his name? CBE stands for Commander of the Order of the British Empire
. He was bestowed with this honor earlier this year, for his contribution in the field of drama and charity.
I am a huge fan of Rowan Atkinson. I think his comic timing, his expressions, and the way he portrays his character―thereby making them truly phenomenal―is truly amazing. When a legendary comedian such as himself is quoted saying, "I consider myself more of a visual comedian than a physical one."
, to me, it simply depicts the immense talent and ability he has, to make people laugh by just looking at the way he portrays himself on stage. Take the series Mr. Bean
for instance, he hardly has any lines, however, his everyday activities, and the way he emotes them, is enough to make one laugh at Mr. Bean's stupid childishness, don't you think? This is a rare ability which I don't think I have seen in anybody else, and this is what makes Rowan Atkinson, the legendary comedian he is today.
Rowan Atkinson on Mr. Bean
This 58-year-old actor announced his retirement from playing the character of Mr. Bean, in November 2012. Though he acknowledges the role to be his most successful and legendary, he also agreed to the fact that the role of Mr. Bean has in a way, typecast him to a certain extent. The following section contains certain quotes on what the actor has to say on "Mr. Bean".
"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 have always regarded Mr. Bean as a timeless, ageless character, and I would rather he be remembered as a character mostly in his 30s and 40s."
"Mr. Bean is at his best when he is not using words, but I am equally at home in both verbal and nonverbal expression."
"I feel as though the camera is almost a kind of voyeur in Mr. Bean's life, and you just watch this bizarre man going about his life in the way that he wants to."
"And what's interesting about him as a comic character is that the custard pie hardly ever ends up on his face."
"It's the difficulty we had with Mr. Bean, actually, when it went from TV to film. You certainly discover that you need to explain more about a character."
"I think the character does tend to suit an episodic thing, because what's fun about him is that he doesn't care about anyone else, and it's very difficult for a main character―a lead character―in a movie to not care about anybody else."
"When I was doing Bean more than I've done him in the last few years, I did strange things―like appearing on chat shows in character as Mr. Bean."
"The stuff that has been most commercially successful for me―basically quite physical, quite childish―I increasingly feel I'm going to do a lot less of."
"Apart from the fact that your physical ability starts to decline, I also think someone in their 50s being childlike becomes a little sad. You've got to be careful."
Although he has retired from portraying the character of Mr. Bean, it is by far one of the best comic series―in fact, it's a pure classic!
Rowan Atkinson on Social Issues
He has also actively participated in politics and raised a voice against sensitive issues such as, racial discrimination and religious hatred. He also supported the Reform Section 5 campaign
which was in favor to reform Section 5 of the Public Order Act 1986
, which stated that one can be arrested and punished on the grounds of an insult. Atkinson believed that this law restricted one's freedom of expression. Mentioned below are some quotes from him that reflect his viewpoints in social and political issues.
"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."
"The casual ease with 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."
"What is wrong with inciting intense dislike of a religion if the activities or teachings of that religion are so outrageous, irrational or abusive of human rights that they deserve to be intensely disliked?"
"The clear problem of the outlawing of insult is that too many things can be interpreted as such. Criticism, ridicule, sarcasm, merely stating an alternative point of view to the orthodoxy, can be interpreted as insult."
"But, actually, so many of the clerics that I've met, particularly the Church of England clerics, are people of such extraordinary smugness and arrogance and conceitedness who are extraordinarily presumptuous about the significance of their position in society."
Rowan Atkinson is a man known for his self-expression, and therefore, is not afraid to stand against any social norm that potentially hinders this right from the people. His open stance on these issues just makes me respect him as a human who stands for what he believes in.
Some More Quotes from Rowan Atkinson
We've covered his most important accomplishments―Mr. Bean
, CBE, his social and political stands. What about his passion for cars? Did you know, he used a Rolls Royce Phantom Coupé with a 9.0-liter V-16 engine as the ride for his character Johnny English in the film Johnny English Reborn
. The engine is not fitted to standard versions of the car, and was built during the testing of the Phantom. Atkinson convinced Rolls Royce to put one of the rare V-16 engines in his Johnny English
Given below are some amazing quotes from Rowan Atkinson, which reflect his passion for cars and more. When pondered upon, you will notice some unexpected surprises about the actor's personality.
"I enjoy racing historic motorcars from the '50s and '60s. The seed of my interest was planted when I was about 12 years old and took over my mother's Morris Minor. I drove it around my father's farm. But my favorite car is still a McLaren F1, which I have had for 10 years."
"I'm not a collector. I don't like the toy cupboard syndrome that causes so many good cars to evaporate."
"I have a problem with Porsches. They're wonderful cars, but I know I could never live with one. Somehow, the typical Porsche people―and I wish them no ill―are not, I feel, my kind of people. I don't go around saying that Porsches are a pile of dung, but I do know that psychologically I couldn't handle owning one."
"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."
"In the modern media age we are rarely surprised by what we see. Whether it's on television or film or in the theatre, everything is so advertised, so trailed, that most entertainment is merely what you thought it was going to be like."
"I'm very good at having time off. I tend to take whole years off―I had 1994 and 1997 off. I find it very easy; I just love pottering around doing normal things."
"I think I have an inner confidence that my tastes are pretty simple, that what I find funny finds a wide audience. I'm not particularly intellectual or clever or minority-focused in my creative instincts. And I'm certainly not aware of suppressing more sophisticated ambitions."
"Nope, I don't enjoy work generally. Not because I'm lazy; it's just all so stressful and worrying."
"I love walking in the rain because no one can see me crying."
"Funny things tend not to happen to me. I am not a natural comic. I need to think about things a lot before I can be even remotely amusing."
"I have to say that I've always believed perfectionism is more of a disease than a quality. I do try to go with the flow but I can't let go."
"I suddenly think the job of acting is a difficult one. It's not as flip, irrelevant and shallow a calling as I thought it was in the Eighties."
"No, no, I was only funny on stage, really. I think I was funny as a person toward my classmates when I was very young. You know, when I was a child, up to about the age of 12."
"I think I am a creative person, but I'm slightly more kind of visionary... I prefer to guide writers, than to claim to be one of them."
"The older you get, the more you realise how happenstance... has helped to determine your path through life."
"But I always feel that whatever I do, I could do better. I suppose it is perfectionism."
"It's a bit disconcerting being treated like Madonna."
If you carefully observe his life, his passions, the things that drive him―fast cars, writing, acting―it is all about freedom, the freedom to be what you want to be. Unlike what his roles portray him as, Rowan Atkinson is a man without any fear, be it the fear of criticism regarding his work, or openly voicing his stance against political and societal issues. His love for fast racing cars reveals that he's a thrill-seeker, and is not a man who has any qualms about expressing himself. We hope to see more from him in the future.