Rowan Atkinson Calls Mr. Bean a ‘Self-Centered, Narcissistic Anarchist’

Veteran actor Rowan Atkinson says his newest character is much “sweeter” than the “self-centered” troublemaker he played in the Mr. Bean franchise. While Atkinson hasn’t played Mr. Bean in many years, fans can see the actor in his newest effort as the star of the Netflix series Man vs. Bee. Set to hit Netflix on June 24, the series follows Atkinson as the housesitter of a mansion who attempts to avoid causing irreparable damage amid his battle in the home with an elusive bee.

Of course, Man vs. Bee is a slapstick comedy series and has that in common with Mr. Bean, but there are some key differences between Atkinson’s characters. In a new interview with the Times (per Deadline), Atkinson describes Mr. Bean as a “self-centered, narcissistic anarchist” and a “nine-year-old trapped in a man’s body.” The actor went on to explain how Trevor, his character in Man vs. Bee, is a much kinder person and perhaps easier for him to relate to.

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“Trevor is different. He is a much nicer and much sweeter and more normal person, I hope — and that was certainly our aim…he seems like a sweet, well-intentioned, perfectly intelligent man, but, of course, he’s got fault lines, his weak spots, and his weak spot is his obsessiveness.”

The obsession, in this case, is Trevor’s determination to stop the bee that has invaded the mansion he was hired to care for. Co-created by Atkinson and William Davies, the new series also stars Jing Lusi, Claudie Blakley, Tom Basden, Julian Rhind-Tutt, Greg McHugh, India Fowler, and Tina Fey. Man vs. Bee will arrive on June 24.

Mr. Bean Might Return in Animated Form

Rowan Atkinson no longer portrays Mr. Bean in any live-action projects, but he had not said farewell to the character. He has teased an animated movie that’s in the works which would have him coming back to voice Mr. Bean. In 2021, Atkinson explained how physically portraying Mr. Bean was nowhere near as fun as it looks, and the physically demanding nature of that role would lead to him pursuing an animated adaptation for the planned return of the character.

“It’s easier for me to perform the character vocally than visually,” Atkinson told Radio Times. “I don’t much enjoy playing him. The weight of responsibility is not pleasant. I find it stressful and exhausting and I look forward to the end of it.

Noting that he’s not a big fan of Mr. Bean personally but simply recognizes his popularity and success, Atkinson added, “Mr. Bean’s success has never surprised me. Watching an adult behaving in a childish way without being remotely aware of his inappropriateness is fundamentally funny. The fact the comedy is visual rather than verbal means it has been successful internationally, too.”

There haven’t been any major updates on the progress of this planned animated adaptation so it’s not clear when the new Mr. Bean movie will be released. In the meantime, fans can watch Man vs. Bee when it’s streaming on Netflix starting on June 24.