[from filmthreat.com | thanks BZC!]
Every once and a while you run into an interview that is so wonderfully comfortable that you almost forget that, hey, you’re conducting an interview. An interview with Sarah Townsend, the filmmaker behind the documentary “Believe: The Eddie Izzard Story,” falls into this category of “so comfortable and amazing a conversation, it’s hard to believe that I have to actually transcribe this now.” It’s almost as if you’ve had a regular phone call, albeit one filled with fascinating information, that you now have to share with the world.
This interview with Sarah took place in mid-August, 2010. At the time, Sarah and her documentary were up for an Emmy Award for Outstanding Nonfiction Special, and the original plan was to have the interview ready to go for the day of the Emmys so that folks could read it and, you know, find someone new to cheer for in a category that is less served than Best Actor in a Comedy Series, or what have you. As I worked on the interview that weekend, I got an email that informed me of the winners of the Emmys that were awarded prior to the live show, and the Outstanding Nonfiction Special just so happened to be one of those categories. Unfortunately, Sarah and her film were not the winners.
At that point, I had been rushing the turnaround of the interview in an effort to have it ready for Emmy night, and I was suddenly blessed with an opportunity to take what was an hour-long conversation and let it breath a bit more than what I had originally edited. So I moved on to the next story deadline I had set, and placed the interview aside, promising myself to re-visit and re-edit as soon as I could. Which brings to now, almost two months later.
“Believe: The Eddie Izzard Story” is a wonderful documentary in the way it steers clear of the obvious trappings of the comedian bio-doc. It’s often easy to just sit back and rely on the stand-up material to do most of the work, but since Eddie Izzard is such a prolific performer, and there are so many specials of his to choose from already, to allow your film to prop itself up on that material is like planning on making a “best hits” of videos that already exist. Thankfully, Townsend did nothing of the sort, taking us instead along the journey that built Izzard into the performer he is today. We follow him from sketch comedian to fringe festival street performer to stand-up comedian to world-renowned actor, and he’s right there to bring us along. It’s an intimate portrait of a man who, with such single purpose of mind and drive in the face of almost constant failure, easily could’ve achieved any goal he set for himself, given enough time. For Izzard, it was all about being a performer, and it’s not until the late minutes of the film that we get a true hint, from Izzard himself, of why he really does what he does. It’s a brilliant moment, and a brutal one.
Heading into my interview with Townsend, I was armed with all the normal, basic questions: where did the idea come from, when did you get started, how difficult was it and the like. Once we got on the phone, however, it all went out the window. For the first 10 minutes, conversation focused (or shall I say, unfocused) on Skype accounts and the strength of Blackberry’s email encryption. I knew I had to start the “interview,” but I didn’t know how. So here’s how it happened…
Read more: http://www.filmthreat.com/interviews/26735/#ixzz12ABmVIy0