Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon

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Ever since a contrived meeting in a pub, Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon have been professionally entwined. In Michael Winterbottom‘s new film ’A Cock and Bull Story‘, they play a pair of bickering actors who revel in putting the boot into each other.

  • Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon are wearing the same clothes. Again. Having been kitted out in matching suits for Time Out’s photo shoot a few days earlier, the pair have unwittingly turned up to be interviewed in spot-the-difference ensembles of brown leather shoes, blue jeans and chocolate brown shirts. ‘This happens a lot,’ tuts Brydon, ‘this happens a lot.’

    ‘We’ve done this quite a few times,’ Coogan confirms. ‘It’s interesting. I think it’s more profound than we think it is.’

    It doesn’t take long to realise the significance: the pair are so plainly in sync that they can seem more like a romantic couple than professional collaborators. ‘I sort of reluctantly have to admit it is a productive relationship,’ Coogan grants.

    ‘It’s not what either of us wants,’ Brydon sighs. ‘If God gives you lemons, you know…’

    If double-acts are like marriages, this seems to be their honeymoon. It’s not just the clothes – they finish each other’s sentences, giggle at jokes both have spotted but neither has bothered to tell. Once a photographer asked them to put their heads together; they tried it, recoiled and simultaneously declared: ‘It’s instinctive’. Mock-disparagement is the key in which this romance plays out and when one scores a hit the other delights in the pain. Coogan, for instance, suggests that ‘it’s fair to say Rob’s work is derivative’ of his own. Brydon laughs and adopts a nostalgic tone for the counter-attack:

    RB I grew up watching Steve. I mean, when someone’s been part of your life for that long – you know, in your formative years, when I was going through adolescence, the family – my parents as well were big fans. And I still know a lot of people now watch him on cable… So yeah, sure, he’s been an influence.

    SC [Laughs] It was good, that. You got the cable, and the youth thing.

    RB He’s heard both these things many times before, you realise. Not the first time I’ve pulled that one out of the bag.

    SC It’s almost the shamelessness of the overuse that makes me laugh. You are more shticky than me.

    RB Yes, yes, yes.

    SC I try to be more oblique. I don’t know why I fucking bother.

    RB [Gleeful] I don’t know why you bother! It’s the truth of it, I really don’t know why you bother! Why?! What’s to be gained from bloody obliqueness…?! Fuck, life’s too short.

    The next project?

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