Rowan Atkinson

Rowan Atkinson

Atkinson's film career has been less exalted, consisting of small comic supporting roles in the Curtis-scripted "The Tall Guy" (1989), Nicolas Roeg's "The Witches" (1990), "Hot Shots! Part Deux" (1993) and a scene-stealing turn as a cleric prone to malapropisms in "Four Weddings and a Funeral" (1994). Back on English TV, he and Curtis wrote and Atkinson starred in "Mr. Bean" (1990-92), a near-silent comedy series that showcased the performer's considerable physical comic abilities. Atkinson took this accident-prone character to the big screen in the mildly enjoyable "Bean" (1997). Additionally, he returned to the series format as a by-the-book police commander in "The Thin Blue Line" (BBC, 1996-98). In 1999 Atkinson reprised the role of Edmond Blackadder for the first time in a decade for "Blackadder: Back and Forth," a three-minute short in which he co-starred with the entire original cast, and he assumed the role of the latest incarnation of the British sci-fi cult hero Dr. Who for the satirical "Comic Relief: Doctor Who and the Curse of Fatal Death." He also hilariously cameoed in the uneven romance "Maybe Baby" (2000) alongside a host of famous name talents from the UK British for writer-director Ben Elton, a frequent Atkinson colleague. Joining another huge ensemble of comedic talents, Atkinson's next major American outing was director Jerry Zucker's manic but lackluster caper film "Rat Race" (2001), a nod to the big comedies with outsized casts of the 1960s. He vocally reprised Mr. Bean for an British animated series in 2002, and that same year also helped bring a classic animated series to life on the big screen as Spooky Island Owner Emile Mondavarious in "Scooby Doo." In 2003 Atkinson returned to the big screen again as accident-prone secret agent "Johnny English," a character he first created for a series of English credit card commericals from 1992 to 1998/ Reteaming with his frequent producing collaborator Tim Bevan of Working Title Films, Atkinson developed the movie's story and gags over several months with screenwriters Neal Purvis and Robert Wade--who previously penned the honest-to-goodness 007 films "The World Is Not Enough" and "Die Another Day"--and director Peter Howitt. The spy comedy proved to be an international sensation, grossing over $100 million in its first 39 days of release even before it was opened in the United States. He then made another scene-stealing cameo appearance as a jewelry salesman in Curtis' self-penned directorial debut "Love Actually" (2003). Atkinson next starred opposite Maggie Smith in the crime comedy "Keeping Mum" (2005), followed by the sequels "Mr. Bean's Holiday" (2007) and "Johnny English Reborn" (2011).