After our brief sojourn in NYC we are back, back, back on the red carpet. We just did ‘Tintin’ (more on that soon) but first, let’s take a look behind the scenes at the ‘Johnny English Reborn premiere.
It was that uncharacteristically, man-it-was-never-this-hot-this-summer weekend, a Sunday, that we found ourselves back on the red carpet. We were not wearing, as we planned, a full length, heavy crepe 1930s gown (well, the premiere was scheduled for a day in October!).
We had a wardrobe crisis and ended up pouring ourselves into a sorbet yellow 1950s dress – a dress so narrow, we had to make it backless and get our friend Fatima to use tit-tape to stick it to our back. God bless tit tape!
Anyway, this was the constricted, slightly perspirational state in which we met the cast of Johnny English Reborn. Rowan Atkinson! Gillian Anderson (oh hey Scully!) – we got a bit smutty with her! Dominic West!
Kayuula on the plot: “Johnny English has returned after many years to finish his mission and no one wants him to finish it because he’s causing chaos. He’s a bumbling agent who means well but sometimes makes the wrong decisions.”
Kayuula on Rowan: “Man I grew up watching Mr Bean so it was amazing working with Rowan. He’s such a cool guy and such a gentleman.
“I didn’t get starstruck per se, but when I watched it back on the first day I was like wow there’s Rowan Atkinson – and who is that? I don’t know who that is? I’m neither famous nor successful to be in a film with Rowan Atkinson. It’s like, ‘What! That’s me, what you doing?! Get out of it! Rowan should be in this by himself.’”
“I never find filming particularly fun. There isn’t a tremendous amount of laughter there because I tend to take it all far to seriously.
“But the chair was great and it really is as fast as it looks. It is a wheelchair with a go-cart inside that goes 35-40 miles an hour and I promise you that 40 miles per hour on a wheelchair is very, very quick and you know about it.”
Atkinson explains where we find Johnny English in this movie – well he’s been away for eight years! “We discover that five years before the start of our story he was fired and we don’t quite know why but the reason he was fired in Mozambique of all places is revealed as the film goes on.
“So he goes to Tibet and spends some time with some monks to find himself spiritually and luckily he’s called
back by the British secret service and that is the start of our story.”
Rosamund Pike – the object of English’s affection – was sadly absent from the premiere but that didn’t stop us talking about English as a new kind of sex symbol… a question which Atkinson neatly dodged.
He’s become a bit of a sex symbol in this movie right?
“Oh do you think so? Well! I’m not the person to judge.”
He’s a bit saucy in the film.
“Well, we wanted to make a little more three dimensional – that’s a more polite way of putting it.
We put him through more stress and difficulty. There;s more action, it’s more international. More money has been spent is the long way i’m poutting what i’m trying to say. I think it makes for a more engaging story.”
Is Johnny English the antidote the spy movies like Bourne and Bond?
Parker: “Well I think so. Obviously we’re going for the same tone as Tinker Tailor! It’s very nice for them to see what a real spy should be doing and I think in some ways equally successful. Compared to the first movie where he stepped on every single banana skin you can imagine he acutally does quite a few heroic things and I’ve heard that James Bourne and the new James Bond are rather envious!”
Parker on Atkinson’s work ethic: “Rowan is an extraordinary performer. He’s absolutely the most focused, concentrated actor I’ve ever worked with. He investigates every possible joke in a situation and won’t rest. His commitment is astonishing.”
He’s a little bit sexy in this film isn’t he?
“I’ll leave you to say that! I think that would be rather odd if I were to agree. But we were both very keen to bring out the George Clooney in Rowan Atkinson and there’s a certain amount of that there I think!
McInnerny: “It’s an extremely unpleasant experience because he’s a very cruel man. He’s physically abusive.”
Whereabouts does he get you?
“He hits me in places where the bruises don’t show. No, it was wonderful! It’s 18 years ago since we last worked with each other. We’ve seen each other a lot since, but 18 years!
“It’s amazing working with Rowan because he’s undoubtedly one of the funniest people in the world and he’s also an extremely accomplished character actor. He’s got everything. And he’s incredibly focused. He’s a real perfectionist so we really balance each other out.”
When you worked together way back then could you ever have predicted that he would play a spy with some sex appeal.
McInnerny: “Well I think certainly in the second series of Black Adder he was quite sexy – in the leather – I shouldn’t give this away, but he quite did it for me!”
After the jump… Gillian Anderson let’s slip with some cheeky, Rowan Atkinson’s member-related sexual innuendo! Plus Dominic West!
When discussing English’s newly unearthed sex appeal Anderson said this:
Never one to let a potential innuendo lie, we quipped: he pulls it out?
“Oh no no! Hahah!
Dominic West – famous for his part in TV series ‘The Wire’, mentioned that if he was asked to play Bond he would definitely say yes.
West on his character Simon Ambrose: “He’s a bit of slick spy. He’s supposedly the guy that Johnny looks up to and wants to emulate which is quite weird because as an actor I want to be Rowan Atkinson so it’s a reversal of affection.”
How is Johnny different from Simon?
“Oh he’s much nicer. Simon is an evil bastard. And Simon’s not any good at marshal arts but Johnny does all these amazing fights.”
West on Atkinson:
“That’s why I wanted to do this film – to work with Rowan. He’s obviously one of the best around. He’s very meticulous and serious on set – he’s not a laugh a minute, but the result is extremely thorough and funny. He tests every joke to make sure everything is going to be funny so you’re on a different level of professionalism.”
And how about English’s new-found sexiness:
“I thought he was pretty sexy the first time around. I thought he started being sexy around the third ‘Black Adder’ – I think that’s when he met his wife!”
As usual thanks to The Powder Room for bouffing the hair.
Dress, belt and bracelet: Vintage
Magic ring: Zoe & Morgan
Wedges: Urban Outfitters
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