Just a Minute With: Steve Coogan for "Hamlet 2"

Thu Aug 21, 2008 3:04pm EDT
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By Iain Blair

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - British comedian Steve Coogan's specialty is over-the-top characters. In Britain, he gained notoriety as radio personality Alan Partridge, and in the United States, he currently appears in Hollywood action flick send-up "Tropic Thunder" opposite Robert Downey Jr., Jack Black and Ben Stiller, who also directed the movie.

Now Coogan, 42, is appearing in one of this summer's most eagerly awaited "sequels" -- "Hamlet 2," which debuts in major U.S. cities on Friday -- playing a high school drama teacher who attempts to mount a musical based on his radical, upbeat re-interpretation of the Bard's great tragedy.

Coogan, whose films include "Night at the Museum" and "24 Hour Party People," spoke to Reuters about "Hamlet 2," his first-ever action figure toy and his comic ways.

Q: How would you describe "Hamlet 2?"

A: It's this odd, strange Frankenstein-monster of a film and no one will ever be able to say, 'It's another one of those kind of movies.' When I first read it I started laughing at the bit where this failed drama teacher is directing a school version of (film) 'Erin Brockovich.' I just understood it right there and then, and understood who this person was.

Q: So you could relate to your character, Dana?

A: Yes, because I went to drama school and met people like him. He's overly emotional and theatrical, but he's very honest and earnest, and trying to do something worthwhile. Comedy often comes from duplicity and people trying to conceal their true feelings, but Dana's very sincere and open.

Q: You have an action figure, "Rock Me Sexy Jesus," that ties in with "Hamlet 2's" big show-stopping musical number. Are you worried it might offend some people?   Continued...

<p>British actor Steve Coogan attends a news conference May 24, 2006. REUTERS/Vincent Kessler</p>