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MR. BEAN'S HOLIDAY

About The Production
Thanks to Rowan Atkinson's unique ability to marry endearing physical comedy and slapstick with a charming personality, Mr. Bean, who began his life on British television screens in 1990, has become a worldwide star. The global success of the series propelled co-writers and Bean creators Rowan Atkinson and Richard Curtis to create the feature film Bean, which found the misfit embroiled in the Los Angeles art world.

Following the international success of the first film, it was only a matter of time before the comedy's creators gave the character a second big-screen outing. This time, however, the filmmakers were keen not to retread the same narrative and stylistic paths. "We always felt that there was another movie to be made with Mr. Bean, but it would be a very different film from the first one,” explains award-winning actor and writer Atkinson.

Despite a decade having passed, it wasn't difficult for Atkinson to again play the character onscreen. "I haven't visited him much since the last film—the last time I played the character was on a British children's TV program, about two years ago. But I didn't find it difficult to understand him and know how he would behave in any given situation. I no longer have to work on him or think about how he's going to react. I instinctively know Bean—his childish instincts are very strong to me.”

Atkinson, a British comic staple from such films as Love Actually and Four Weddings and a Funeral and television programs such as Blackadder, was intrigued by the chance to explore a different style of filmmaking in Mr. Bean's Holiday. "I always believed that there was a European-style movie to be made with Mr. Bean,” he reflects. "The first movie had the story, format and tone of an American family comedy.”

That interest in a different style would carry across the plot. Atkinson continues, "I was always interested in Bean being the element driving the story, rather than him being a reactive element—a sort of satellite figure who was in the background while the story was being driven by other characters.”

Tim Bevan, co-chairman of Working Title Films and one of the comedy's producers, explains how the project came together: "Once we had finished Johnny English, I suggested to Rowan that we develop two films—one of which would be a sequel to Bean. Both he and Richard Curtis felt that to make another movie about the same character, you would want to aspire to a different level of creative ambition and make it as pure and as cinematic as possible.”

To complement the simplicity of Bean's style, the producers would turn to an unexpected source. Bevan offers, "Someone had the genius idea of involving Simon McBurney, who co-founded Théâtre de Complicité. He has a lot of experience with movement and mime. Essentially, both he and Rowan strive to do the same thing— engage the audience through more or less silent comedy.”

McBurney was intrigued by the prospect of collaborating with Atkinson. He recalls, "I first met Rowan and saw him work in the early 1980s when I was very young. I was mesmerized by his stage work, because he was one of those performers who could go onstage and nothing would happen—and you would be completely entranced, roaring with laughter.”

The writer/actor had long wanted to homage silent film comedy. "I absolutely love silent comedy, in all its myriad forms,” says McBurney. "One of the first things I did with Rowan was sit down and watch films by Buster Keaton, Charlie Chaplin, Harold Lloyd and Carl Valentine. We also watched bits of Jacques Tati, and I thought it would be thrilling to make a film in which Bean hardly says a thing. He is the most wonderful character when he's doing something, rather than saying something.”

As a student of this genre, McBurney worked with Atkinson to focus the story on a singula

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