English actor, comedian, and screenwriter
Rowan Sebastian Atkinson (born 6 January 1955) is an English actor and comedian best known for his works on the sitcoms Blackadder and Mr. Bean, for which he plays the title role in both.
- 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. 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.
- As quoted in an interview with Radio Times (2021)
- The victimisation of individuals or corporations or groups of people is a very dangerous and difficult development. The fact that careers can be ruined and reputations can be savaged without any particular responsibility on the part of those who are doing it… we live in strange times.
- As quoted in an interview with entertainment.ie (2018)
- It’s the age-old dilemma of being known for doing a certain thing in a certain way. And even if people think, “Well, we could cast him in this role,” then they say, “He just brings a lot of Mr. Bean baggage with him and would people take it seriously?” I can see myself in some Dickensian role, those sorts of characters. But I think I might have burnt my bridges with the outright silliness of so much of what I’ve done.
- As quoted in an interview with The New York Times (2018)
- All jokes about religion cause offence, so it's pointless apologising for them.
- As quoted in a letter to The Times (2018)
- I am getting older, and [Mr. Bean] naturally has to get older with me, and that's why I've done him very little in recent years. Because I don't particularly want him to get old. I've always seen him as a rather timeless, ageless figure — though, in fact, when we were doing this funeral sketch a few weeks ago, quite a few people said you know there's something about Bean in middle age which feels almost more right; he sort of suits an older outlook.
- As quoted in an interview with Los Angeles Times (2015)
- Personally I suspect that I am highly unlikely to be arrested for whatever laws exist to contain free expression, because of the undoubtedly privileged position that is afforded to those of a high public profile. So my concerns are less for myself, and more for those more vulnerable because of their lower profile. Like the man arrested in Oxford for calling a police horse 'gay'. Or the teenager arrested for calling the Church of Scientology a 'cult'. Or the café owner arrested for displaying passages from the Bible on a TV screen.
- Excerpt from a speech delivered to the Reform Section 5 campaign (2012)
- I cry too much and I find it strange. It must be indicative of some issue within me that I’ve yet to identify. Whether it’s crowds or whether it’s people being nice… Hospitals make me cry very, very easily. Merely entering a hospital – just sensing care, you know. People trying to help others, I find, inspires a very emotional response.
- As quoted in an interview with The Times (2011)
- 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. I remember going to a book signing as Mr. Bean; it was a Mr. Bean book; and I signed it as Mr. Bean. I just wrote "Mr. Bean" in the book rather than Rowan Atkinson. I was there in costume and in character for the entire time; from arriving in the store till leaving it at the end of the book signing; and it was a fantastically kind of freeing experience, because I could just submerge myself in this character and just behave however I liked. And I didn't care what I did or what I said to anyone; I just became this other person, and it was a wonderful sort of freedom. A wonderful kind of fantasy, where you could just be this thoroughly rather unpleasant, selfish man for an hour; in a totally real context rather than in a fictional context. It was rather extraordinary, actually, and something that I found rather pleasing and rather relaxing.
- As quoted in an interview with IGN (2003)
- [The French] are so uncompromising in their view of the world, which is why they are such a fantastically rich source of comedy. They are so relentless and so clear in their view of things, and they won't be shoved off that position by anything. What's also good is that, generally speaking, making jokes about the French appears to be something that nobody really minds. The French don't even care, they just go about their lives regardless.
- BBC interview on Johnny English (2003)
- When presented with an audience or a camera, usually [my stammer] disappeared, but by no means all the time. I can show you some outtakes of Blackadder or The Thin Blue Line when I get to some B's followed by a vowel, which is my real bête noire.