Mar
03
2010

Eddie Izzard: Awards show host, action transvestite

[from USA Today]

izzardx-largeSteve Coogan dressed in a Batman costume last year when he hosted the Independent Spirit Awards, so the die has been cast for fellow British comedian Eddie Izzard, this year’s emcee.

“I’m going to come out in my suit, just wearing ordinary clothes. I’m going to try and outdo Steve by underdoing what he did,” says Izzard, who’s waiting until the last minute to pick out an outfit for the big event, which airs live on IFC at 11 ET Friday night.

Unfortunately for fans who have long followed his career as a stand-up comedian often clad in women’s fashions, Izzard won’t be wearing a dress.

“I am an action transvestite — not a transvestite transvestite,” he says. “Wearing dresses and fighting people is my main thing, but I’m not going to be in girly mode at all. This is about giving away bits of metal you can kill people with, and I think that’s what we all want. We all want to come away with a weapon.”

The Independent Spirit Awards honor the independent-film community. Oscar front-runners such as Precious and its supporting-actress favorite, Mo’Nique, will share the stage as nominees with other filmmakers and performers who embrace the same DIY sensibility.

It’s something Izzard can relate to. The comedian, 48, who follows the likes of Coogan, Sarah Silverman, Samuel L. Jackson and John Waters in hosting the awards, says the independent films he has been a part of —The Cat’s Meow, Circus, Shadow of the Vampire, etc. — have a special place in his heart.

“I love that work, and the people putting it together on a wing and a prayer and changing in a dustbin. I’m a transvestite with a career — I have independence written through my spine! You can’t really be corporate if you’re me.”

Even so, Izzard also has found success on stage and television. He was nominated for a 2003 best-actor Tony for A Day in the Death of Joe Egg. And he co-starred with Minnie Driver in the 2007-2008 FX series The Riches.

Izzard embraced his own independent spirit recently by running 43 marathons in 51 days and circling the United Kingdom — or, as he calls it, “a charity version of Lord of the Rings, where I was taking the ring back but all the orcs were cheering me on: ‘Come on! Good luck, lad!’ ”

Now he’s setting his sights on doing an Iron Man triathlon, with the bonus of swimming and biking. “I’m just going to measure out the distance and do it. I don’t have to do the organized ones. I just do the disorganized ones,” he says. “We’re supposed to be running, hunting and attacking the next tribe to us. We’re not designed for PlayStations and cake.”

Even though this is his first awards-hosting gig, Izzard does have experience on his side: “I’ve talked to aircraft hangars full of people, so that’s not a problem. It’s going to be a lot of people with headphones going, ‘3, 2, 1, go!’ ”

But he does promise that this is the only one you’ll ever see him do.

“I just want to do one shot, leave it all out there on the pitch. I have no idea what I’m going to do, and I haven’t watched any of the films, and I don’t know who’s going to be there, and I don’t want to meet anyone.

“That’s the shot I’m taking,” Izzard jokes. “It’s just about our desperation for love and winning — we want to win and you want to beat the other guys down so that they have a bad rest of their life.”

Written by Momo in: TV |

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