The Zimbabwe Independent

Mr Bean weighs in on ‘cancel culture’


ROWAN Atkinson (pictured right), the British actor known the world over for his “Mr Bean” character, has delivered a broadside against the so-called online

“cancel culture”.

During an extensive interview with United Kingdom outlet Radio Times, Atkinson said: “ e 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 are with us or against us. And if you are against us, you deserve to be ‘canceled’.

“It’s important that we are 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,” Atkinson added. “So it is scary for anyone who is a victim of that mob and it fills me with fear about the future.”

Elsewhere, describing his iconic Mr Bean character, a global comic phenomenon transcendi­ng borders, language barriers and cultures that has spawned feature films, animated series and books, Atkinson said: “I don’t much enjoy playing him. e weight of responsibi­lity is not pleasant. I find it stressful and exhausting, and I look forward to the end of it.”

Atkinson’s lack of enjoyment does not, however, preclude an animated film.

“Having made an animated TV series, we are now in the foothills of developing an animated movie for ‘Mr Bean’ — it’s easier for me to perform the character vocally than visually,” Atkinson said.

However, the star didn’t rule out revisiting another seminal character of his, the scheming and caustic-witted Blackadder, the subject of four seasons and a Christmas special set in different eras, which was broadcast on the BBC between 1982 and 1989. Atkinson won the Bafta (British Academy of Film and Television Arts) for best light entertainm­ent performanc­e for Blackadder Goes Forth in 1989.

“I don’t actually like the process of making anything — with the possible exception of Blackadder, because the responsibi­lity for making that series funny was on many shoulders, not just mine,” Atkinson said. “But Blackadder represente­d the creative energy we all had in the 1980s. To try to replicate that 30 years on wouldn’t be easy.”

Atkinson is also the face of the Johnny English film franchise.

Next up for Atkinson is Netflix series Man vs Bee where he plays a man at war with a bee while housesitti­ng a luxurious mansion. — Variety.

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