Steve Coogan told Sky News he felt strange missing to promote his latest film after the Queen’s death.
The star was at the Toronto Film Festival for the world premiere of The Lost King, which he stars in, produces and co-wrote.
“It’s a very strange feeling,” he said.
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“I only found out about the sad news of our Queen’s death when our plane landed, so it’s very strange.
“It’s weird, it’s surreal not to be, you know, in Britain right now.
“There’s a kind of universal respect for the Queen, I think, that cuts across all the normal divisions in Britain in terms of all things, the great work she’s done and the dedication for 70 years.
“From the age of 25 to 96 she threw herself into the service of our country and I think it’s a strange moment, a defining moment for Britain.
“And as I say, I think, uniquely, her situation has widespread respect, but I’m going back (to the UK) tomorrow night so I can stand side by side with my countrymen.”
“Abominable, evil, wretched figure”
The lost king the film’s title refers to is King Richard III, whose remains were found in a Leicester car park in 2012.
But Coogan says the film is really about amateur historian Philippa Langley, who led research into the monarch but was later sidelined when others took the credit.
“Of course I knew Richard III like most people from Shakespeare’s work – this awful, evil, miserable figure,” he explained.
“But it was Philippa Langley’s story that I found fascinating, and the marriage of her struggle and the fact that she was judged harshly and that Richard III, historically, has been judged quite harshly.
“A David and Goliath Story”
“And really, for me, it was her journey as an amateur, it’s a David and Goliath story of following her intuition and her gut with a kind of spiritual tenacity, and she was vindicated — it’s her story as much as Richard’s.”
The film was directed by Stephen Frears, whose 2006 film The Queen is one of the best-known dramatized versions of Queen Elizabeth, portrayed by Helen Mirren, who won awards for the role.
He admitted he didn’t know how the monarch felt about the film, telling Sky News she “never gave me notes”.
For The Lost King, Coogan and Frears also reunited with writer Jeff Pope – the trio last teamed up for 2013’s Philomena.
The drama won the People’s Choice Award runner-up at that year’s Toronto International Film Festival and was nominated for four Academy Awards.
Read more about the Queen:
‘She defined an era’ – world leaders pay tribute to Queen
Day-by-day guide to what’s happening in the run up to Elizabeth II’s funeral
Telling other people’s stories
Coogan said he finds pleasure in telling other people’s stories.
“It’s much easier to be a writer, a producer, and try to tell other people’s stories, rather than looking for a kind of medium for myself.
“We’re pretty privileged, Jeff [Pope] and me, being two middle-aged white men, to tell a woman’s story, as we did in Philomena.
“And there are some similarities to Philippa Langley’s story in The Lost King, in that it’s also a story about a middle-aged woman’s struggle to find her voice, so there’s a lot of satisfaction in pursuing a project like that. rather than some kind of vanity’.
The Lost King is due to hit cinemas in the UK on October 7.