Everyone’s a winner
IN his new movie The Trip, British comedian Steve Coogan plays a character named Steve Coogan who happens to be a British comedian.
The character is not particularly likeable but rather unfaithful, petty, cruel and riddled with insecurities.
Coogan says his on-screen counterpart is not him but a heightened version based on ‘‘ kernels of truth’’. ‘‘ It’s cathartic,’’ Coogan says. ‘‘ All the insecurities you have, it’s a great exercise in finding the things that worry you, seeing the humour in them, maybe exaggerating them slightly and putting them on screen in a way that will be entertaining for other people.
‘‘ It’s quite therapeutic. They are like ghosts that you vanquish.’’
The Trip was made as a TV series and has Coogan commissioned by a newspaper to review restaurants in the north of England.
When his girlfriend leaves him, he takes fellow comedian and sometime colleague Rob Brydon ( both pictured) – also playing a fictional version of himself.
The pair bicker, squabble and eat their way through the movie, talking rubbish, trying to outdo each other with celebrity impressions and jumping at the chance to put each other down.
The idea came from director Michael Winterbottom, who had directed the pair in the offbeat 2006 arthouse movie A Cock and Bull Story. The Coogan in The Trip is forever on the phone to his smarmy US agent, trying to crack Hollywood.
The real Coogan admits, with a slightly hollow laugh, that those scenes cut fairly close to the bone.
Despite a leading role in Around the World in 80 Days and supporting roles in blockbusters, Hollywood success has so far eluded Coogan.
‘‘ I have done work out there,’’ he says. ‘‘ I would like to have been more successful there, that’s true, but I’m not defined by it.
‘‘ I am here in England, very busily doing things that I like.
‘‘ I am doing a film in New York with Julianne Moore next month and another film with Stephen Dorff in Africa after that, so it’s going better than I depict it in The Trip.’’