Fans of Rowan Atkinson can rejoice, because it looks like a third Johnny English film has entered production. We already knew that Atkinson would return to the role of playing a hapless British spy, but the tentatively titled Johnny English 3 has already started shooting.
It looks like the fate of the world will once again rest on the goofball shoulders of Atkinson's titular spy in the slapstick comedy. Given that the first film was written by Casino Royale and Skyfall writers Neal Purvis and Robert Wade, it isn't hard to see where the James Bond spoof gets its influences from. However, apart from a director, we don't yet know who will be behind the scenes on the threequel.
Taking to Twitter, Working Title Films posted a tweet from the set, which also announces Fresh Meat's David Kerr as the director:
— Working Title (@Working_Title) August 3, 2017
2003's Johnny English starred Atkinson as the inept intelligence officer who became the last hope for the fictional MI7. Also among the cast was Ben Miller as English's hapless assistant Bof, Natalie Imbruglia as the "Bond girl," and a villainous performance from John Malkovich. Hoping to cash in on the success of the first movie, Johnny English Reborn was released in 2011, and with a largely new cast, was dubbed a soft reboot of the series. The sequel starred the likes of Gillian Anderson and Rosamund Pike, but failed to compete with its predecessor. While the first film brought in an impressive $160 million worldwide and $28 million domestically, Reborn matched the global figures but walked away with a less impressive $8 million in the States.
Given that neither of the first two films fared particularly well in the reviews stakes, Johnny English 3 is one of the more unusual sequel announcements of recent times. However, could the franchise's reprisal be anything to do with the boom in spy films and a gap in the market for another espionage comedy?
Given that English is one of Atkinson's best-known roles (alongside Mr. Bean and Blackadder), fans will undoubtedly be tuning in for his comedy timing. Apart from Atkinson taking the lead, we don't know who (if any) of the previous stars will return for the next film - but with some substantial Holywood talent behind the series, we will have to wait and see. Nothing else is known about Johnny English 3, but in an era of Atomic Blonde and Daniel Craig's serious portrayal of 007, could we be heading for a grittier Sam Mendes-esque take on the franchise?
Source: Working Title Films