Atkinson revs up for spy sequel
Rowan Atkinson took things up a gear at the premiere of his new spy comedy - by arriving in a gleaming Rolls-Royce.
The Blackadder and Mr Bean star, who plays a bungling secret agent in Johnny English Reborn - the follow-up to the 2003 film Johnny English - revved up to London's Leicester Square in the black car bearing the registration JE1.
Dressed in a sharp suit despite the unseasonably hot weather, the funnyman admitted he would welcome comparisons with cinema's most famous spy.
"Without wanting to claim that I'm James Bond, I would certainly prefer to be thought of as closer to James Bond than Mr Bean," Atkinson said.
But the leading man, who was joined on the red carpet at the Empire Cinema by his co-stars Dominic West and Gillian Anderson, said the average British man probably had more in common with incompetent Johnny English than slick 007. "I think in many ways he's a more believable character (than Bond)," he added.
"He's someone that really means well, it's just that he's not as good as he thinks he is and I think maybe that's a British male in a nutshell, I don't know."
In the big-budget sequel, Atkinson's character must stop a team of international assassins from killing the Chinese premier.
And the car enthusiast - who was injured when his own McLaren F1 supercar crashed in August - relished performing his own stunts in the film. "I don't know if the insurance companies are listening but very often he was (doing his own stunts). He's a superb stunt driver," director Oliver Parker revealed.
"There are one or two shots he did where I almost couldn't believe how cool he was being while he was acting.
"Having a stunt double is always compromising a shot in some respects. It's always great when you can get the actor to do it, and actually it's very hard prising Rowan out of the driving seat."