Eddie Izzard doesn’t just give voice to an international tycoon in “Cars 2,” he IS one. Or at least he’s getting there.
Izzard, who provides the voice of uber-wealthy motorized magnate Sir Miles Axelrood in the Pixar sequel, tells PopcornBiz that he’s an admirer of the colorful, visionary, larger-than-life style of globetrotting billionaires like Sir Richard Branson. “I do like Richard Branson's style, which is also, I'd say, Ben and Jerry's style, the Pixar style, the Google style, the Apple style: positive and fun things, design, thinking out of the box. I love all that.”
And, after a long, ongoing stint as one of the most popular standup comedy draws on the planet, Izzard’s getting a whiff of that rarefied air himself. “I think I'm living the European dream which is similar, but slightly different, than the American Dream,” he says. “It has more people on mopeds amid the sound of the Mediterranean coast saying ‘Ciao’ to each other. If I was just a pure businessman – which I could've done because I did accounting and financial management in college – I think it'd be quite similar to what [my career] is now, because I do sell my comedy around the world.”
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Already one of the most quoted-back-to-himself comics (nary a day goes by without him receiving a “cake or death” reference), Izzard’s now getting his punchlines parroted back to him in unexpected accents. “I had a French guy doing it to me in English and he said to me, 'You did this bit.' I said, 'Oh, yes, yes. That's a fun bit, that bit,' and he was doing the whole thing and he'd learned it all in English. I thought, 'F**king hell!'”
Izzard calls his global brand expansion just prep work for achieving a singular goal: “It’s a warm up for the Hollywood Bowl on the 20th of July,” he says. “No comedian has done it as a solo act. Richard Pryor has played there, [Monty] Python did three nights as a group, but no soloist, we think – we're checking on it.”
Izzard’s certainly doing things his way: despite a plethora of offers to translate his specific style of comedy into on-screen parts, he continues to save it for the stage and focus on roles that define him as a dramatic actor instead - his next role will see him tackling a "realistic" take on the Snow White fairy tale "Snow White and the Huntsman" (Izzard plays one of the seven dwarfs).
“Part of my reason of not doing comedy on television very much and not doing any comedy series or hardly any comedy films, really, is because I wanted to do dramatic roles,” he says. "I like doing dramas, and drama is what I wanted to do in the first place, when I was seven. So it's this schizophrenic thing with surreal comedy, drama and I keep pushing them up. The comedy is going nice and the drama is getting better and better.”