Rowan Atkinson has admitted that he plans to abandon the comic character of ‘Mr Bean’ in favour of more cerebral roles on the stage. The 57-year-old said the hugely successful creation had reaped many rewards but that middle-aged actors playing childlike roles risked appearing “a little sad”. Mr Bean made his most recent appearance at the opening ceremony of London Olympic games 2012.
Atkinson is now preparing to make his “straight play” debut in the lead role in a West End revival of Quartermaine’s Terms by Simon Gray. “The stuff that has been most commercially successful for me – basically quite physical, quite childish – I increasingly feel I’m going to do a lot less of,” he commented, adding, “I also think someone in their fifties being childlike becomes a little sad. You’ve got to be careful.” The famous bumbling character debuted in 1990, with the show running for five years and spawning two successful movies and a cartoon spin off.