October 3, 2011 / 12:30 PM / 8 years ago

Rowan Atkinson back as spoof spy Johnny English

LONDON (Reuters) - Rowan Atkinson is back as bumbling spy Johnny English in the sequel to his 2003 hit, but despite work on comic classics “Not the Nine O’Clock News” and “Blackadder,” the comedian does not find filming much fun.

Actor Rowan Atkinson poses for a photograph with models as he arrives for the UK premiere of Johnny English Reborn, at the Empire Leicester Square in central London, October 2, 2011. REUTERS/Olivia Harris

The 56-year-old, whose television series “Mr. Bean” also made it to the big screen, was on the red carpet in London at the weekend to promote spy spoof “Johnny English Reborn,” which hits British theatres on Friday.

“I never find filming particularly fun to be honest,” he told Reuters at the event.

“There isn’t a tremendous amount of laughter going on when I’m filming because I tend to take it all far too seriously.”

In Johnny English Reborn, “the improbable secret agent” is called back into action when his superiors learn the Chinese premier’s life is in danger.

Director Oliver Parker said that hit spy series like the Bourne thrillers and the arrival of Daniel Craig as the new James Bond in 2006 had provided more source material for the English character.

“We’ve had several years of Bourne and the new Bond, so that was a little more meat for us to feed on really,” Parker said.

“The first movie I suppose was reflecting much more on Roger, (former Bond actor) Roger Moore, and here we have those two new spies, and it gave us a lot more to play with I think.”

Parker and his cast, including Gillian Anderson as Pamela Head and Dominic West as Simon Ambrose, will be hoping for a repeat of the commercial success of the first movie.

“Johnny English,” released in 2003, earned $160 million in global ticket sales, according to movie tracking website boxofficemojo.com, on a budget estimated at $40 million.

Early reviews have been mixed to poor, according to critic tracker rottentomatoes.com.

Reporting by Katharina Urban-Oberberg; editing by Mike Collett-White and Paul Casciato

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