Mr. Bean is in the news today, mostly because he has decided to weigh in on “cancel culture” — a development the world certainly wasn’t clamoring for but one that it got nonetheless. However, the fuss over Mr. Bean’s tedious comments has overshadowed something far more chilling that Rowan Atkinson, the man behind Mr. Bean, had to say during an interview with U.K. outlet Radio Times: Apparently, he hates being Mr. Bean, and he prays every day for the ordeal to end.
Indeed, the man behind the widely beloved character who has delighted the world with his silly antics and proclivity for wreaking havoc is deeply stressed and weary. Some jobs just carry an inordinate amount of responsibility. “I don’t much enjoy playing him,” Atkinson started off, before digging further into his misery. “The weight of responsibility is not pleasant. I find it stressful and exhausting, and I look forward to the end of it.” While Mr. Bean has, for the most part, moved on to non-Bean projects — the character has already starred in a sitcom, feature films, animated series, and books — a new animated film is apparently in the works. “It’s easier for me to perform the character vocally than visually,” he said during the interview, which makes sense, given Mr. Bean largely communicates nonverbally.
Even if he is speaking hyperbolically, what a dark revelation from Mr. Bean. Behind the goofy character who gave a museum security guard horrendous diarrhea by surreptitiously pouring an entire bottle of liquid laxative into the worker’s coffee, who revived a heart-attack victim with jumper cables intended to be used on cars, and who defaced an invaluable painting was a real man who now wants nothing more than to cease being Mr. Bean. While we cannot relieve him of his burden, we feel compelled to ask: Are you okay???