THE IZZARD OF ODD: INTERROGATION
The Sunday Mirror | June 10,2002 | thanks Poco!
Where do you feel most at home?
Eddie Izzard: Well, I was born in Yemen. So I'm starting to feel that I should learn Arabic, go to the most chilled out Arabic country and start doing some stand-up. That's a five to ten year project, so I don't think I'll be doing it tomorrow. I'm trying to learn German first. Right now I'm really more into being European than British. I like the big idea of Europe coming together.
You didn't learn Arabic in Yemen?
EI: My dad was there for eight years. And all he learned was, `fill'er up' for the car, `one beer, two beers, three beers,' and `Allah willing'. And that's it.
You play Charlie Chaplin in your new film The Cat's Meow. Did you discover his dark side?
EI: I decided everything people know about Charlie Chaplin - his humour, his films and so on - didn't need to be shown so much in this film. That tramp character doesn't reflect his life. I felt my Chaplin is a guy with low sexual self-esteem who became hugely famous doing his thing. But he just couldn't interact with women - so he got off with 16-year-old girls in his films, and he was sort of God-like to them. Then it would be. `Oh my God you're pregnant' type of thing.
Have you got any regrets when it comes to your own comedy career?
EI: I would have loved to have been a Python, as in Monty. That's all I ever wanted to be, but I wasn't born yet. Wait no, I was born. But I was seven when they started, so that's why.
In your other new film, All The Queen's Men, you dress in drag. What did your American co-stars make of you?
EI: It's the everyday story of four soldiers parachuting into Nazi Germany dressed up as women and trying to get an Enigma machine. Personally, at the moment, I'm in a very blokie phase, but in All The Queen's Men, I play a bisexual transvestite. Though not transgender, that's a complete minefield in itself - you'd need big diagrams with a pointer to understand it. But yeah, I play the soldier who's the expert in skirts and heels. Matt LeBlanc, who plays the goddamn hero in the film, is in a kilt at the end. Which he could just about deal with. So Matt was blokie on top with a kilt on the bottom, and a machine gun. Shooting up Nazis. Who deserved to be shot. Because they were bad people. So it all worked out rather well.
Americans always win in the movies. And apparently they broke the Enigma code too.
EI: I know. If you believe the Americans we weren't even in that war. And our buildings fell down, probably because we just let them fall down. I don't know. But thank you for helping out, America!
What kind of music are you into?
EI: I don't know - Beck, Radiohead, and more alternative type of music. Mozart. But he's dead now. Like the Queen Mother.
So what do you think of boy bands?
EI: Boy bands should be exploded from a great height. They're just pretty people singing music written by others. What were the 60s all about?
Do you keep up with the gossip? Could you tell us about the turbulent love life of Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake?
EI: Ooh, very much not! Why, have they exploded? Have they joined the Queen Mother? What happened?
They split up.
EI: Well, I didn't know they were going out. So that's good. Or bad. Or good and bad at the same time. Is Justin a type of shoe?
Do you believe your own hype?
EI: Well, I've read some of the reviews we've had in the US for The Cat's Meow. And, apparently, we're fantastic. But don't take it from me. If you like it, you like it. I can't do that complete package selling thing. I just can't - buy this thing! Look! Hmm, lovely, lovely. Yummy chocolate. It's covered in chocolate. What I'd say about Meow is it's got lots of sex. And it's kind of like the film Zulu. But very, very different. And there are a lot of cats in it. If you love cats, they're all over it. We shoot them out of cannons. It's fantastic. It's like Panic Room. Except no one's really that panicked. By the way, does anyone in America actually have a panic room?
EI: Because we Brits do have a room we can go in, and panic in that room. You know, you can go, `Oh my God! I haven't done the wallpaper in this room, and there are people coming round'. That kind of panicking. If somebody breaks into our house, we just go, `Mate, there's the silverware over there, and the sofa over here. Take it. Just don't shoot me'.
So you wouldn't defend yourself?
EI: No, I'd just go, `Come over here and have a cup of tea before you leave with the silverware'.
Do you have a cat at home?
EI: Uh, no. What's a cat?
The Cat's Meow is released later this year
EDDIE'S REALITY CHECK
Has Mr Izzard spent too long on planet celeb? Or is he just on another planet, full stop?
Which do you prefer South Park or The Simpsons?
How many coats of paint do you need to finish decorating a room?
As many as you want.
How do you make a Caesar Salad?
I don't like salad much.
There are three wires in a plug. What do you think the brown one means?
It means, don't blow up the place and don't electrocute anyone.
What is your all-time favourite dessert?
Something drenched in chocolate.
Favourite drink? Beer.