IN FREE ASSOCIATION-HEAVY comedy shows, Eddie Izzard riffs
on topics from whether Jesus met the dinosaurs to his own status as a cross-dressing,
makeup-lovin' straight man. But now, the Brit funnyman is pursuing dramatic roles.
In FX's "The Riches" (Mon. at 10 p.m.), he plays con man Wayne Malloy
who, with his wife and kids, tries to pull the ultimate scam: impersonating a
wealthy, mansion-dwelling clan.
» EXPRESS: Why'd you take the role
» IZZARD: Every single bloody thing about it attracted me,
from the fact that he's a nomad taking over this upper-middle-class life to how
he's trying to find the truth. I've wanted to act since I was 7. People would
say "What roles do you want?" I couldn't come up with something like, "Oh, I wanna
play Coriolanus or third guy on the left." But this is IT.
Why does the show see the 'burbs so darkly?
» IZZARD: It's just the
timing. With a war on and a right-wing administration, you tend to get darker
» EXPRESS: Spent any time in the suburbs?
I grew up in the suburbs in Northern Ireland until my mother died. I look at them
as a wonderful place. I drive past McMansion neighborhoods and think, how great.
They've got that '50s-with-easy-listening-music thing, except now there are more
» EXPRESS: Is your place in L.A. a McMansion
like the Riches' adopted home?
» IZZARD: I like a small house with
a big view. From my place, you see all these mountains sticking up. It helps open
» EXPRESS: Your youngest son on the show is a transvestite.
Did you plan that?
» IZZARD: It's a crazy coincidence. But it allows
me to help the actor playing him. I get involved with what he's wearing and keep
saying, "He wants to look like his sister and his mother."
You don't wear makeup as much now, but any faves?
» IZZARD: I'm always
looking, since I'm a card-carrying transvestite. I like MAC, because it's got
an out-there attitude somewhere between me and Jean Paul Gaultier.
EXPRESS: What's it like for you, who prefers more feminine apparel, to dress
like a preppy man on the show?
» IZZARD: I can dress as a bloke or
dress more girly; I switch easy-peasy. But since I'm trying to be in dramatic
television, I've been in bloke mode for these past few years. I'm like a superhero,
like the Human Torch. I can do flame on, flame off.
Is it more fun to shop for your blokey side or your girly side?
It's much more fun in the girly area. You can buy so many shoes. I think women
say, "If I just get enough heels of varying sizes, if a nuclear war comes, I'll
have enough shoes."
» EXPRESS: In your stand-up, you mention jam
constantly. Is it your fave food?
» IZZARD: It was just a word that
got in my head, and I started using it. But it does taste nice. I rather like
» EXPRESS: You seem fit. What's your secret?
IZZARD: I train like it's 5,000 years ago, before they put cereal in boxes.
I run like an idiot, as if I'm going to be hunting some wild boar.