Rowan Atkinson on the ‘only thing’ he has in common with Tom Cruise

‘I’m a great believer that perfectionism is as much a disease as it is a quality,’ Atkinson said

Tom Murray
Thursday 23 June 2022 13:13
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Man Vs Bee trailer

The Independent asked Rowan Atkinson about his unlikely similarities with Tom Cruise during a press conference for his new Netflix series Man vs Bee.

The series – which will be released on Friday (24 June) – stars Atkinson as “bumbling” dad Trevor who gets a job as a housesitter for a rich family in their mansion where he is tormented by a tenacious bee.

In the production notes for the comedy, series writer and creator Will Davies said: “[Atkinson is] such a perfectionist and operates as effective showrunner on all his projects, so he’s thinking not just about his performance and the script, but about lighting, angles, props, wardrobe… Work is an exhausting experience, and he always needs a long rest afterwards.”

The description of Atkinson as a “perfectionist” is comparable to that of Cruise, who is famed for controlling almost every aspect of his film sets, from training his Top Gun: Maverick cast to fly planes, to overseeing Covid protocols.

“I’ve never met the guy but he’s been at the top of his game for many, many decades and you don’t have that kind of achievement without getting involved in virtually every aspect of the production, so I suspect maybe we do have a similar outlook in life,” Atkinson responded.

The Mr Bean actor admitted that might be “the only” similarity he shares with the Mission: Impossible star. He went on to describe the difficulties that being a perfectionist can pose.

Rowan Atkinson in ‘Man vs Bee’

“I’m a great believer that perfectionism is as much a disease as it is a quality. I think it can be quite corrosive,” he said.

Atkinson explained that he tends to “end every shoot day thinking, I was sure there was something better there that we didn’t achieve and you’re always in pursuit of something you can’t achieve, which is sad really”.

He added: “I feel creatively completely dead at the end of completing projects, which is how I feel, actually, as I speak.”

Man vs Bee will be released on Netflix on 24 June.

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