ReelzChannel sat down with Steve Coogan, who plays a high school drama teacher producing an ill-conceived sequel to Shakespeare's famous tragedy in Hamlet 2.
RC: What sold you on doing this movie?
Coogan: Well, first of all, the title -- Hamlet 2. I thought, this is either going to be brilliant or terrible. Reading it made me laugh out loud. I think it was the madness of the guy I play trying to write a sequel to Hamlet, which is obviously a terrible idea. He ends up having various characters in the sequel. He builds a time machine and goes back in time and meets Jesus Christ, who I also play on stage. It was just the fact that it was this bizarre concoction of things that really appealed to me.
RC: In the movie you say, "My life is a parody of a tragedy." How is that?
Coogan: His life is, he sort of knows that he's a bit of a fool deep down. But he's a very passionate guy. He's trying to help kids. He's trying to transform their lives. He's trying to make a difference. The fact that he's a complete klutz is also what makes him likable and is what makes people laugh.
RC: It comes from his creative way of motivation.
Coogan: Well, with the price of gasoline, his cost of transportation is pretty high. He rollerblades to school everyday.
RC: Did you sustain any injuries?
Coogan: I sustained quite a lot of injuries. I wore some pads but I fell over a lot because, however good I tried to get, I was never going to be a great roller skater. So I just went with how good I was. I had these pads but I got some really bad bruises -- but all in the name of comedy. It doesn't matter.
RC: There's a little bit of nudity. Is that appropriate?
Coogan: Well, I don't mind showing my -- I won't do topless. I won't do topless. I made that part clear on a number of occasions. But I'm happy to drop my pants if it helps the gag. We all have to make sacrifices. We all have our cross to bear and that's mine.
RC: Did you improv at all with Elisabeth Shue?
Coogan: Of course. She was fantastic. She was great to hang out with -- very lovable and sweet and didn't mind laughing at herself. Or laughing at me, whether I wanted her to or not. There's always a little bit of [improv]. We invented stuff, you know.
RC: Can you give me a tease about Night at the Museum 2?
Coogan: Well, I might not be an actor in it -- there's a date issue, so I might not be available to do it so.
RC: You were my favorite character in it.
Coogan: I know, I know. It's painful. But I'm doing a big live comedy tour in the UK and it kind of clashes with the dates.
RC: How about Tropic Thunder?
Coogan: Well, I can tell you that it's very funny that I'm in it. I come to an unfortunate end. There's lots of funny set pieces in it. It's big -- just a big, big blockbuster comedy. It's a big, fun movie -- lots of funny big names in it, all making complete asses of themselves. So it's good.
RC: What's next for you?
Coogan: I'm doing a bunch of work back in England. And if anyone else wants to give me a job after that, I'm available.