Miller reprises his role as the hapless but unrelentingly loyal sidekick Agent Bough to useless super-spy Johnny English after having bowed out in the second film, Johnny English Reborn.
It’s a role that’s ideal for the star, who admits he always fancied participating in a James Bond film back when it was a camp British spy-caper headed up by Roger Moore, as opposed to Daniel Craig’s more serious efforts as 007.
“When Xander [Armstrong] and I made The Armstrong & Miller Show, we loved the idea of being comedy characters in a Bond movie, but nothing came of it,” he said. “Bond has now become more serious. In Roger Moore’s day it was more of an action comedy.”
Nonetheless, despite Atkinson’s undoubtedly more comic take on the popular spy genre in Johnny English, the film bares more of a resemblance to the glossy Bond movies of late. With glamorous French locations, an array of gadgets and fast cars, Johnny English Strikes Again feels like a bona fide Bond movie with laughs.
The new film has a contemporary feel to it too, with Emma Thompson’s turn as the British Prime Minister not dissimilar Theresa May – currently navigating the crisis of leaving the EU.
It’s something Miller has noticed, too. “It doesn’t hurt that during this turmoil with the EU, we’ve got a character in the south of France,” he said. “It gives it a rich context.”
Miller even teases bumbling agent Johnny English would not have been opposed to leaving the EU, joking the character might be a gallant Brexiteer.
“I imagine Johnny might be in favour of Brexit,” he added. “There are resonances you can’t plan for.”
Read the full interview with Ben Miller in Radio Times magazine, out in shops and on the newsstand on Tuesday 9th October
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