Say goodbye to Mr. Bean!

New Mr. Bean film to be his last
MONTREAL (CP) – Better get your fill of Mr. Bean in his new movie because it’s probably the last time you’re going to see him.
Rowan Atkinson says that with the completion of “Mr. Bean’s Holiday,” his dim-witted character will probably fall silent for good. “I think it is true that it might be his last outing,” Atkinson said as he arrived for the North American premiere of the movie on Tuesday. “I think it’s unlikely that I will do any more Mr. Bean, highly unlikely.
“It’s not impossible. You must never say never, so I’m never going to say never but I think it’s unlikely.”
If the character has run his course, as Atkinson suggests, he’s had a full life. Mr. Bean has gone from sketch comedy on stage, to international stardom on TV, before making the jump to the big screen in two films, all without uttering a full sentence.
With his reliance on physical rather than verbal comedy, Mr. Bean has been catapulted to pop culture icon status. Atkinson has even been dubbed the modern Charlie Chaplin for his loopy exploits.
Appropriately, “Mr. Bean’s Holiday” premiered at Montreal’s Just for Laughs comedy festival, the same place North Americans got their first look at Mr. Bean during an appearance by Atkinson in 1987.
Fans have gone without new Bean adventures for a few years, but Atkinson chuckles when it’s suggested the character has been off the cultural radar.
“He tends to appear quite constantly on television repeats, but in filmic form we haven’t seen him since 1997.”
Atkinson says he decided to revisit the character for a movie because he wasn’t completely happy with the 1997 film “Bean.”
“We were determined that one day we would make another movie because I always felt that the first Mr. Bean movie lacked in certain areas,” he said.
“It was very successful and I think it’s quite a funny movie, but it was a very American style movie whereas I think this is a slightly more European style. I think it’s still funny, but it’s got quite a different tone to the first film.”
In “Mr. Bean’s Holiday,” the hapless Bean wins a vacation trip to France as well as a video camera.
But it’s not just the language barrier that Bean has to hurdle when he reaches France. Things as simple as carrying coffee on a train, tackling a seafood platter or driving – a Mr. Bean staple – throw him for a loop with chaotic results.
The plot thickens when he accidently separates a Russian film director and his son at a train station as they head for Cannes and then tries to reunite them, only to have the vacation footage from his video camera screened at the famous film festival.
Atkinson chuckles when he’s asked if he or the ever-silent Mr. Bean picked up any French making the movie, which was shot in France. In it, Mr. Bean answers “Gracias” when he’s complimented on his French, which seems to consist simply of “oui” and “non.”
“Sadly despite the fact that “Mr. Bean’s Holiday” was shot almost entirely in France and I was there for three months with an entirely French crew, I managed to advance my French-speaking almost not at all.”
Crowds lined up for the premiere Tuesday as Atkinson fielded questions in a series of rapid-fire interviews. He said he’s not surprised at Mr. Bean’s popularity or longevity.
“If I had to be honest, no, it hasn’t surprised me very much because in many ways that’s why he was conceived. He was conceived to be a timeless, ageless character with international appeal.
“I always felt sort of deep inside me that it had the potential to have a global acceptance, you might say, and so it has turned out to be.”
“Mr. Bean’s Holiday” goes into wide release next month.