Steve Coogan: I phoned in Hollywood roles (Exclusive)

Alan Partridge star said US movie career was a ‘waste of time’.

Steve Coogan told Yahoo! Movies that his Hollywood career - which included roles in ‘Around The World In 80 Days’, ‘Tropic Thunder’ and ‘Percy Jackson And The Lightening Thief’ - was a “waste of time”.

“When I have gone over there and played ‘part number three’ in a film like ‘The Other Guys’ [with Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg], it’s just unremarkable. I could phone it in frankly. I’ve got no love for that work. You go and flirt with it and then come back home and do what you’re good at.

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“I just feel that a lot of that [Hollywood] work is a naive experiment. I met some nice people working on those projects, but I don’t feel any love for them.”

’80 Days’ saw Coogan star opposite Jackie Chan and Arnold Schwarzenegger in an ill-judged adaptation of the Jules Verne classic, while in the critically panned film ‘Night at the Museum’ movies he played a miniature version of Roman general Octavius. 

Bad hair day... Coogan as Hades in 'Percy Jackson' (Credit: Rex Features)

“What I learnt [from going to Hollywood] was to go with my instincts and do the things I actually want to do.”

Suffice to say, he’s much more proud of the upcoming Alan Partridge movie (‘Alpha Papa’) and current project ‘The Look Of Love’ - a biopic about legendary Soho publisher/real estate magnate Paul Raymond, which is in UK cinemas now.

“I think Paul Raymond is far more interesting than Hugh Hefner, for example,” he said. “Hugh Hefner is 50 years of bonking 20-year-old women. There’s not a lot you can say about that really.”

The life of Raymond on the other hand was “sometimes funny, sometimes a bit depressing”. The film covers Raymond’s 70s heyday on the Soho party scene, the creation of adult mag ‘Men Only’ and the death of his daughter Debbie by a drug overdose in the 1990s.

Coogan told us about the film’s shift of tone. “There’s a scene in the film where [Raymond] takes class A drugs with his daughter whilst she’s pregnant, which sounds absolutely horrific, and on one level it is horrific. But whenever I watch that scene I burst out laughing, which is very odd. And so does the audience.”

Coogan remembers briefly meeting Raymond (who died in 2008) at a theatre performance in 1990 and did his research on the man, but didn’t want to impersonate him too directly.

Playboys... Coogan in character and real life Paul Raymond (Credit: FilmFour/PA)

“There are certain witticisms that I say as Paul Raymond that he never would. I think I’m a funnier person that Paul Raymond was. Though he had this ostensibly glamourous lifestyle, in some ways he was a dull man. You don’t want the film to be dull.”

We also chatted to Coogan about Alan Partridge's epic new movie ‘Alpha Papa’, here.

‘The Look Of Love’ is in Cinemas now.