Working Visually

“When there are no words and the only way to convey what’s happening is through physical expression, it’s particularly hard to get it right. And it’s a much, much slower process when you’re working visually without the benefit of dialogue.” These are the words of Rowan Atkinson when asked what the greatest challenge of playing someone who never speaks was. But who is this Rowan Atkinson? Never heard of him? I’m sure you have. It’s just that you know him in a different name. Mr. Bean.

Rowan Sebastian Atkinson was born in County Durham, England on January 6, 1955. He finished a degree on Electrical Engineering in Newcastle University and had his post graduate education in Queens College, Oxford University.

Rowan first performed sketches in the Oxford University Dramatic Society. It is also in Oxford where he met the writer Richard Curtis. Together, they wrote Blackadder, to which he starred from 1983 to 1989. It became one of the most famous shows in England during the decade. His voice also gave life to Zazu in the 1994 Walt Disney Film “The Lion King”.

His first performance as Mr. Bean was on New Year’s Day of 1990 for 30 minutes. Then, two movies were released in 1997 and 2007, entitled “The Ultimate Disaster Movie” and “Mr. Bean’s Holiday”, respectively. He also starred in “Johnny English” as the title role in 2003.

It was in the set of Blackadder where he met Sunetra Sastry, then a make-up artist for BBC. They were married in 1990 in New York City. They had 2 children: Ben, 14 years old, and Lily, 12 years old.

To finish, when asked if he would like to go on a holiday with Mr. Bean, he answered, “Certainly not! He’s a very odd, unpredictable, and selfish man. But despite all those negative things, he also possesses a degree of sweetness and a childish naivete with which we can identify. People tend to like him, which I always find slightly surprising.”

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