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Coogan’s Bluff

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Coogan and Brydon in The Trip.  

Partridgenever crossed over to ­American TV; the character, at once ­arrogant and ignorant, would have needed sweetening up (à la the British Office). Partridge might translate on the big screen: A film is being written now, to be shot next year. Still, Coogan isn’t expecting major stardom; the ­requisite nobility simply isn’t his line. “I wouldn’t feel comfortable playing someone heroic,” he says. “Some people can do it—George Clooney, ­Harrison Ford. I don’t think I’m very good at it. I feel more self-­conscious, more naked being heroic than I do when I play dysfunctional or unsympathetic.”

As with Partridge and 24 Hour Party People, The Trip is an extremely deliberate ­improvisation. “We wrote it as we went along,” Coogan says, scarfing down the last of his egg whites. “My biggest fear for the movie,” he adds, “was that it would be two people metaphorically doing mutual masturbation and the whole thing might be a sort of self-congratulatory, smug, ­pseudo-self-deprecation, like: ‘Get a load of me, on tape having a laugh at myself. Aren’t I cool?’ Which would make me want to throw up.”


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