Everyone loves Mr. Bean, the quirky tweed jacket-wearing Londoner who adores his teddy bear and lands in trouble daily due to his comic antics. The character first appeared in a fifteen-episode TV series in January 1990 and subsequently featured in an animated TV series as well as the movies ‘Bean’ and ‘Mr. Bean’s Holiday.’ Given the realistic everyday situations in which Mr. Bean ends up finding hilarity, fans often wonder whether he is inspired by a real person. Moreover, are the movies based on true incidents too? Let’s find out more.
Is Mr. Bean a Real Person?
Contrary to what fans may believe, Mr. Bean is not based on a real person. He is a fictional character created by actor Rowan Atkinson, who has immortalized him with his portrayal. In a November 2005 interview with The Scotsman, he shared that he got the idea for Mr. Bean while pursuing his Ph.D. at Oxford. He said, “I did a little sketch being Bean at Edinburgh in the early 1980s and it worked well.” In addition, he attributes renowned comic actors Peter Sellers and Jacques Tati as the references for the character.
In a July 2003 interview, Atkinson elaborated on his idols and shared that he first got acquainted with Tati’s work at the age of seventeen, when he was in charge of his school’s film society. He added, “Jacques Tati was a big inspiration for the world of Mr. Bean…I got ‘Mr. Hulot’s Holiday’ and I was able to show it to myself five times in one weekend…It just opened a window into the world that I had never seen before. The idea of wordless comedy — which is about not very much. It’s the sort of ordinariness of it, the blandness of the situation. Just a guy playing tennis a bit wrong.”
Apart from this, Atkinson divulged that he observed Peter Sellers’ acting style and the versatile characters he has played, especially the bumbling Inspector Clouseau in the ‘Pink Panther’ movies. “There are only so many comedy characters…You are divided between two: those who look stupid and turn out to be clever, and those who think they’re clever and turn out to be stupid. And Inspector Clouseau certainly turned out to be the latter. Johnny English is from that side of the tracks. Of course, Mr. Bean, I think, is from the other side. He looks stupid but turns out to be an idiot savant.”
Tatti and Sellers’ influences on Mr. Bean are quite visible, as he too, delivers diverse facial expressions in a short time, and has rather distinct mannerisms that make him stand out against the plain situations he faces. In contrast with the other characters in the show, Mr. Bean behaves and reacts rather outlandishly, which also makes the viewers speculate if he is an alien. This theory is supported by the opening credits of the show’s episodes, which show him falling from the sky.
Nonetheless, Mr. Bean seemingly mirrors a child’s innocence in his actions and represents all those people who are unabashedly unique, wishing to keep their inner child alive. This playfulness makes viewers of all ages relate to the character and though he is purely fictional, they see him as an ordinary man whose naivete and clumsiness cause him trouble. Thus, he is an exaggerated portrayal of a person who refuses to grow up and makes the best out of all situations.
Are Mr. Bean Movies Based on True Stories?
No, Mr. Bean movies or for that matter his tv shows are not based on true stories. In the movie, ‘Bean’ the titular character working as a security guard at the National Gallery in London. He then travels to the U.S. to transfer a valuable painting, where he gets mistaken for an art expert by gallery curator David. This leads to a series of comic misadventures, involving replacing a ruined painting with a poster, pretending to be a doctor, and getting arrested in an amusement park.
While these are all signature Mr. Bean antics, the movie also delves into the cultural differences a person may experience in a new country. The protagonist gets excited seeing the disparity between American and British lifestyles and behaves in a childlike manner while trying to absorb his new surroundings. Furthermore, the movie explores loneliness in a light-hearted way through Mr. Bean and David, who form an unlikely friendship after feeling like misfits in their individual spheres.
On the other hand, ‘Mr. Bean’s Holiday’ finds the protagonist on a vacation in Cannes, where he accidentally ends up chaperoning a famous director’s young son. He and the boy have several impossible escapades while trying to find their way back to the latter’s parents. Mr. Bean’s confusion at not knowing French does resemble how one may feel in a foreign country, where they don’t understand the language. In conclusion, neither the character nor the movies are based on any off-screen persona but are adapted from observations of real-life and human nature.
Read More: 10 Best Mr. Bean Movies and TV Shows