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Coogan writing Alan Partridge film

Interview by Nesta McGregor
Newsbeat entertainment reporter

Steve Coogan is back in the follow-up to 2006's Night At The Museum, Battle of the Smithsonian. The British comedian reprises his role as Octavius, the Roman general brought back to life by museum night watchman Lawrence Daley (Ben Stiller). He says it was a pleasure to work with Owen Wilson and reveals an I'm Alan Partridge film is also in the works.

Steve Coogan (Octavius) and Owen Wilson (Jedediah)
Steve Coogan plays Octavius in Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian

Was it an easy decision to say yes to making Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian?

It was always being mooted. I almost wasn't in the film because I was busy trying to rehearse my live show. But the director Shawn Levy and Owen Wilson, to some extent, kept jumping up and down in a very nice way and asking me to go over there and do it.

So they kind of like gigged things around and I managed to go over there and spend a week shooting the scenes. It was just a matter of getting the diaries in synch and I enjoyed doing the first one.

I enjoy working with Owen Wilson doing our comedy scenes together and it allows us a little bit of improvisation from within those scenes. So, yes, it was an easy decision to make.

Is it difficult on set when you have people that funny around you? Do you get put off and forget your lines?

It's quite a technical thing. You do have fun if you're with somebody who's funny and inventive and they are bringing something else to the role, then you can often make each other laugh. But there's always a part of you that's very professional.

We are planning on making a movie. We're talking at the moment. What it is we're not quite sure
Steve Coogan on a new I'm Alan Partridge film being planned

You've still got to hit your marks and make sure you find the light and these type of technical things that are all a bit boring but you need to address those things when you're doing the scenes. It's probably, on the whole, not as much fun as it looks for people watching a movie.

A movie lasts two hours and they think it's just people having the time of their lives for two hours but in actual fact it's like four months of quite intense, applied work. But there are definitely times when you have a good laugh and if you're working with somebody like Owen Wilson then of course you make each other laugh and that makes the day go quicker and it's so much more fun.

When you broke up from filming with Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson, Ricky Gervais and yourself, was there any friendly competition to be the funniest on set?

Well, the brutal fact of the matter is that I didn't see Ben Stiller on set and I didn't see Ricky Gervais on set because we're not in the same scenes. And even though it looks like Ben's in the same scene as me, he's not there. So I didn't see Ben when I was shooting the movie. The only person I was on set with was Owen Wilson. So Ricky and Ben did all those scenes separately. Again it's the thing where people think we're all in the same room all having fun.

Moving on, do you have plans to make an I'm Alan Partridge movie?

Steve Coogan and Edith Bowman
Steve Coogan sang Knowing Me, Knowing You on Edith's show

Yeah, we are planning on making a movie. We're talking at the moment. What it is we're not quite sure. But yes, there are plans afoot to make a film.

Have you got a storyline yet?

We have but I'm not going to tell you what it is.

What about the original cast members?

Some of them, hopefully. We'll see. I've got to sit down and decide what it is yet. People who like the TV series won't be disappointed.

Are you worried about making Alan Partridge funny in a feature-length film rather than just in a normal half-hour TV show?

That's a very good point. That's just something you need to be aware of. You need to be aware of that and it might mean you readdress the character, make him slightly more subtle or build up to it in a different way. But that's certainly something that's going to be on our minds but I think Alan is complex enough to sustain something longer.



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