Steve Coogan"It's kind of a Dick Van Dyke song, "Chim Chiminy," except with the C-word."

Although he explodes onto the screen (literally) in the big-budget spoof 'Tropic Thunder,' Steve Coogan's biggest summer role is in a little indie satire called 'Hamlet 2.'

As Dana Marschz, an obtuse but optimistic actor-turned-drama-teacher trying to mount a sequel to Shakespeare's tragedy, the British comedian gets to show off his silly and sensitive sides, as well as belt out numbers like 'Rock Me Sexy Jesus.'

We caught up with the actor at Comic-Con and asked him about the flick, his signature character and whether he'll pull a Ricky Gervais and bring his U.K. standup tour stateside.

Steve CooganAlthough he explodes onto the screen (literally) in the big-budget spoof 'Tropic Thunder,' Steve Coogan's biggest summer role is in a little indie satire called 'Hamlet 2.' As Dana Marschz, an obtuse but optimistic actor-turned- drama-teacher trying to mount a sequel to Shakespeare's tragedy, the British comedian gets to show off his silly and sensitive sides, as well as belt out numbers like 'Rock Me Sexy Jesus.' We caught up with the actor at Comic-Con and asked him about the flick, his signature character and whether he'll pull a Ricky Gervais and bring his U.K. standup tour stateside.

Is it fun to promote your flick at Comic-Con?

It's nice! It's nice to be anywhere, really, with a film I don't mind trying to hustle. This is something I genuinely love, so I don't feel like I have to say anything that I don't honestly 100% believe to be true ... which is something I've had to do in this business. [Laughs]

Steve Coogan in Hamlet 2What attracted you to 'Hamlet 2' besides the paycheck?

It wasn't a lot of paycheck! You have to speculate to accumulate, so I figure somewhere down the line I'll get paid something. [Laughs] I've had a career in England doing stuff that was of a similar nature for a number of years, and I don't really get the opportunity to do things outside of my comfort zone. Dana Marschz was outside of my zone. Normally I play cynical, contemptuous cats. I loved the idea of playing someone heartfelt and vulnerable who's still funny. I wanted to see if I could pull it off. Plus the script made me laugh. I read a lot of comedy scripts and I think I am quite a tough audience. With most of them, I kind of groan. 'Hamlet 2' was very fresh. It's that very difficult marriage of being edgy and spiky.

Given your background as a writer and comic, did you have any input into the script?

Only into the character really, the way he held himself, the way he gesticulated, his voice, his hair. And maybe some of the lines. I think I came up with the idea that when Dana looked at the color chart, one of the colors would make him cry, because it was such a sad color. Stuff like that we'd figure out when we were shooting. But generally it was all down on the page. I met with [writers] Pam [Brady] and Andy [Fleming] several times and we became friends long before we actually sat down to start making the movie. Pam is one of my favorite people. She has that thing of being smart and funny and not full of contempt for humanity, which a lot of smart and funny people are.

Steve Coogan as Alan PatridgeInane talk show host Alan Patridge is your signature character. Will you ever bring him to the big screen?

I want to do other things first. In Britain it's what everyone knows me for, and it's so big. But it's also the thing that's prevented me from doing varied stuff. That's why I came here. I don't want to be the guy who does that guy, which I am over there to a large extent. So I might make a movie one day, I don't know.

This fall you're embarking on a stand-up tour of the U.K. Will you bring it to the U.S.?

I would consider it ... I'll see how it goes in the U.K. I know my audience in England pretty well. I don't have to second guess what will appeal to them. I worry it's so veddy, veddy British that Americans wouldn't get it. I do different characters, I have dancers, a live band. It's kind of a vaudeville thing. I say some pretty ... well, I use the C-word. You know, the one with a u and an n in it. I use it in a number that I sing. I say the word a lot. It's kind of a Dick Van Dyke song, "Chim Chiminy," except with the C-word. I don't think I'm going to make Middle America laugh.
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