Ahead of his latest, ‘Johnny English: Strikes Again’, we got a chance to sit down with renowned comedian Rowan Atkinson. Atkinson, who is for beloved as the creator of ‘Mr. Bean’ and ‘Blackadder’ as well as Johnny English, told us about stepping into the spy’s shoes for a third time.
He offered advice on how to create iconic, comedic characters and talked about how Mr. Bean is now being introduced to a whole new generation via Netflix.
His latest film looks at old school espionage methods versus new technologies and gadgets, so we asked him what he thinks of our current advanced, media-driven society.
“I think we’ve entered rather dangerous times, actually,” he said. “I think social media is something we’re only really starting to come to terms with. A few weeks ago, I read a quote from someone that said ‘The world is changing faster than our ability to adapt to it’ and I think there’s a lot of truth in that.
“I think in the internet and in social media, with all the best intentions, we’ve created a fairly monstrous institution which we haven’t really worked out how to control, or whether it needs to be controlled, and whether it should be controlled. This amazing mechanism by which you can speak to the world sounds great, but then the problem is the whole world can speak to you.
“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.”
Atkinson is not on social media himself, and explains: “I worry about it so much. I worry about social media and the effect of it on our lives and the way that it works, but also it’s just fantastically relaxing not to be on it and not to have to worry about it, and not to have to witness what people are saying. You may think it’s a blinkered attitude, and it may be, but I find it incredibly relaxing.”
You can watch the full interview here:
Be sure to check out our interviews with Olga Kurylenko, Ben Miller and David Kerr for ‘Johnny English: Strikes Again’ as well.