Rowan Atkinson allowed himself a little whim during the production of “Johnny English, the comeback”. A true car enthusiast, the actor asked to drive a Rolls-Royce unique in the film.
Johnny English, the return : spy but not too much
Nine years after his first misadventures, MI7’s strangest secret agent made his return to cinema in 2011 in Johnny English, the return. Rowan Atkinson puts on the spy costume so stupid that phlegmatic and resumes service to the four corners of the planet.
After a catastrophic mission in Mozambique, Johnny English retired to a Tibetan monastery. Five years after this fiasco, he was nevertheless entrusted with a particularly perilous mission by Pegasus (Gillian Anderson), the leader of MI7.
With the help of his new partner Colin Tucker (Daniel Kaluuya), English must dismantle a small group called “Vortex”, who plans the assassination of the Chinese premier. During their investigation, the two acolytes discover that one of the terrorists is part of their British intelligence department. Despite his certain and at the very least astonishing abilities, Johnny English is far from imagining that he has several trains behind the mole …
Rosamund Pike and Dominic West complete the cast of this opus which makes its hero travel between the United Kingdom, Hong Kong, Macao and Switzerland. In 2018, Rowan Atkinson once again becomes Her Majesty’s last hope in a third installment, Johnny English strikes back.
A more modern suite
While Johnny English multiplied the absurd and sometimes outdated situations, this sequel wants to be more modern. Asked by Live Cine Studio during the shooting, the director Oliver Parker assures us that this approach was essential in view of the evolution of spy cinema, then marked by the trilogy Jason bourne and the first two episodes of James bond worn by Daniel Craig:
The first film had a more Roger Moore tone while this one has a more thriller side, a more modern style. The context of the story is more serious. The situations in which Johnny English evolves are more complex and risky.
Changes that also go through more sophisticated gadgets. This is for example the case of an armed and unbridled wheelchair, in which Johnny English crisscrosses the streets of London well above the authorized speed.
A unique Rolls-Royce
Johnny English’s other main asset in the film is his car, which also helps him push the limits of his insight. After an Aston Martin DB7 Vantage, the spy is now found driving a Rolls-Royce Phantom Coupé. A true car enthusiast and outstanding driver, Rowan Atkinson explains about this choice, cited by L’Orient-Le Jour :
I found the Aston Martin-James Bond phenomenon a little warmed up … which is why I went for a Rolls-Royce Phantom Coupé. A rolling monument that I particularly like.
To complete this decision, the actor wants give “a unique attribute” to the machine, which only reacts to the voice of Johnny English in the feature film. He specifies :
When BMW took over Rolls-Royce at the end of the previous century, it was about designing the most superlative sedan around. This is why the engineers had developed an exceptional engine, a V16 with a displacement of 9 liters. This engine gave unprecedented torque and power and a few examples were built.
But the manufacturer ultimately prefers to abandon this engine. After discovering his existence, Rowan Atkinson offers himself the luxury of having one installed under the hood of the vehicle Johnny English, the return :
I asked the BMW staff to equip a Phantom Coupé with one of these mechanics for my film. What they accepted without problem, especially since the engine fits easily under the hood: the Phantom was designed to be equipped in this way! To drive, it’s a real treat of smoothness and power!
A little whim that apparently allowed him to combine work and pleasure …