Steve Coogan reveals media criticism fuels his creativity

Steve Coogan has said that being underestimated and criticised in the media fuels his creativity.

The actor revealed that articles doubting his abilities have driven him to work, and he relishes the provocation.

He has said that the motivation to make Alan Partridge Alpha Papa came directly from taking exception to critical comments in the press.

John C Reilly and Steve Coogan play Laurel and Hardy.
John C Reilly and Steve Coogan play Laurel and Hardy.

Coogan takes the role of Stan Laurel in the critically praised release Stan And Ollie, and wanted to do justice to the comic actor.

He was drawn to the intimidating task by the wish to tackle challenging work, but criticism has fuelled his ambition in the past.

Coogan told the Press Association: “One of my favourite things is to be underestimated, because it’s like petrol in my tank. It’s like, ‘You think that? OK, fine’.

“I remember when we did the Alan Partridge movie, someone wrote an article in a newspaper, ‘Why they should never make an Alan Partridge movie’ and I went, ‘Right we’re doing that’.

“I’d never met this guy, he’d written this article; I thought for that reason alone I’m going to make it and make it funny.”

Alpha Papa was the top entry into the UK box office on its opening weekend, but Coogan has now risked playing an iconic star in a role that he said was challenging and emotional.

Coogan revealed he was moved by the pathos of the film.

He said: “There’s a trepidation about doing something like this, but again, to try and do work that you want to be proud of almost always involves the risk of failure. And this is one of those things.

“It does make me sad, I get quite choked up watching it, and I think it’s quite moving. It sounds a bit indulgent, [but] if you can see yourself on screen as someone else and it touches you, then you’ve done something well.

“You’re not going, ‘Ooh I really made myself cry’, you render something and it’s the thing that you’ve done with other people that creates this effect and that’s good.”

Coogan stars alongside John C Reilly, who takes the role of Oliver Hardy. The film charts the comic duo of Laurel and Hardy in the twilight of their career.

Stan And Ollie is due to be released in the UK on January 11.