Plenty of celebrites have weighed in on Brexit, from Emma Thompson to Roger Daltry. Steven Coogan’s take on the subject, though, is unabashedly pro-European and anti-Brexit.
The comic actor from “Stan & Ollie,” “Philomena” and “The Trip” franchise often lets his films do the talking for him. He attacked conservative talk radio most recently with “Hot Air,” and his new film, “Greed” similarly swipes modern-day capitalism.
Coogan expounded on a host of issues with The Hollywood Reporter this week as part of “Greed’s” promotional push. The Oscar nominee spoke out against President Donald Trump, unsurprisingly. It’s what he said about a key figure in the current Brexit battle that might shock his longtime fans.
It’s hardly unusual for stars to speak out against Brexit. “Doctor Strange’s” Benedict Cumberbatch, Emma Thompson, Helena Bonham Carter and Keira Knightley. Michael Caine is one of a smaller group of actors cheering on Brexit.
Roger Daltrey of The Who fame is a surprise Brexit supporter.
Coogan is in the former camp, with no room for wiggle room. It’s the rhetoric he employs on the subject, though, that might raise some eyebrows.
Dominic Cummings is a political strategist and advisor to British Prime Minister Boris Johnson. Cummings is doing what he can to make Brexit a reality following a 2016 election on the matter.
Coogan isn’t a fan, and that’s putting things mildly. Here’s what he said when THR asked him about the matter of Brexit:
“I think it’s contemptible. Boris Johnson is a contemptible individual. I think Dominic Cummings should be hung, drawn and quartered, publicly. Like most people in the country, I’m exhausted by it. But I am vehemently pro-European, especially with Putin, China and Trump’s USA as the power brokers in this world.”
Ahead of his Charlie Chaplin Britannia Award from BAFTA L.A. on Friday, the U.K. comedy hero, best known for his Alan Partridge character, chats about his most memorable film, the Little Tramp’s influence and the talents of Phoebe Waller-Bridge.
A comedy hero in the U.K. for more than two decades thanks largely to his long-running and much-loved comic creation Alan Partridge, Steve Coogan joined Hollywood’s prestige ranks with 2013’s Philomena and 2018’s Stan & Ollie. Once again blending comedy and what he likes to call “meat on the bones,” Coogan’s latest feature, Greed, which had its world premiere at the Toronto Film Festival, is a satirical attack on capitalism and sees him playing a character heavily based on disgraced “king of the high street” and Top Shop owner Philip Green. Ahead of receiving BAFTA’s Charlie Chaplin Britannia Award for Excellence in Comedy on Oct. 25 in Beverly Hills, Coogan, 53, discussed using humor as a Trojan horse, why being associated with Charlie Chaplin is particularly sweet and whether there’s anything funny about Brexit.
Has Charlie Chaplin had any influence over your work or career?
I’m a huge admirer of Chaplin. He was an entrepreneurial pioneer in terms of entertainers. One of the inherent perennial problems with filmmaking is that it’s a constant tension between art and commerce. And what really Chaplin did was make sure that the emphasis was on art and the art won through. And as he grew older he tried to say things that were important and of course was marginalized and painted as a Communist because he had a conscience. And socially ostracized by the American establishment, because he was someone who wasn’t trivial and tried to use art to make the world a better place. And generally his films are fill of hope and humanity, and that’s something that my company tries to do, to make shows that have value and substance behind the entertainment. So to accept an honor in his name is especially sweet for me. Continue reading →
I’ve always wondered just how much of Alan Partridge’s pompous behaviour is a reflection of his creator, Steve Coogan. Sometimes the comedian seems to encourage it.
Coogan has persuaded a magistrate not to hand out an automatic six-month driving ban (despite already notching up nine points on his licence) after being found guilty of speeding in Sussex.
Coogan claimed that filming for his forthcoming BBC series involved driving around Britain and that “it’s an artistic thing that he [Partridge] drives and that defines his character”.
He also argued that 15 or 20 professionals had been lined up to work, presumably suggesting an inability to drive would leave them jobless, if only for a while.
But what really startled me was that the judge appeared to agree and reduced the ban to just two months.
I think it’s worth recalling Coogan’s driving record. In 2012 he was found not guilty of speeding after it had initially “slipped his mind” that a friend had been driving; in 2016 he was fined and banned for 28 days for speeding in Brighton.
The chairwoman of the magistrates this time around said she had taken into account the “exceptional hardship” a lengthy ban would cause. What kind of “hardship”?
How wonderful for celebrities who can put forward defences of this type. Would the same argument work for ordinary drivers who don’t appear on television? Like delivery people, ambulance drivers, care workers and busy mums trying to combine a zero hours job with dropping their kids off at school.