Steve Coogan has revealed that the #MeToo movement made him “rewind and look at” his own past behaviour.
The Alan Partridge actor, who is starring in new Channel 4 series Chivalry – which focuses on sexual politics following #MeToo – admitted in a new interview that the movement “was an education for me”.
“As a man, you rewind and look at your behaviour,” he told The Times in a new interview.
Coogan said that he felt an impulse to “shut up and listen” as women began to recall their experiences of sexual abuse and harassment, and criticised “passive” men who were silent on the subject, saying it “does confer some responsibility”.
Steve Coogan CREDIT: Amanda Edwards/Getty Images
He continued: “A lot of men have felt strangulated, petrified, and don’t know how to even start that discussion. They don’t say anything, and after a while that point of view atrophies, because it’s unheard.”
The actor also spoke on the origins of Chivalry, which follows a feminist director (Sarah Solemani) who is hired by an old-school producer (Coogan) to try and detoxify the set of his new film.
Revealing the two stars initially had an argument on the set of 2019 film Greed, Coogan recalled: “I was just playing devil’s advocate and firing off salvos, knowing I was in the safe space with Sarah Solemani. And someone said, ‘You two should write something.’”
Meanwhile, Coogan recently defended his new series The Reckoning, which sees him play disgraced presenter Jimmy Savile.
“I think that’s because Jimmy Savile played a trick on the entire nation so there’s a real feeling of antagonism about it,” he told Sunday Brunch.
“But you need to look at someone like that to understand how they’re able to operate and to prevent it happening again. If you sweep it under the carpet and don’t talk about it anymore, then those people are destined to come back.”
Explaining how he spoke to actors playing the victims, Coogan said: “I’d go and talk to them as myself and go, ‘Hi, I’m Steve, I’m not Jimmy Savile, that’s who I’m going to play today.
“And you’re playing a role and we’re going to do it professionally, and it was so that they knew I was someone else. So it was a tightrope, but I think we did it properly.”