LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Since breaking out of Britain’s comedy ranks, Eddie Izzard has carved out a strong career in Hollywood movies and TV. His HBO comedy special, “Eddie Izzard: Dress to Kill” earned him two Emmy Awards, and his movie credits include the two “Ocean’s Eleven” sequels.
Izzard, 49, a transvestite, is now voicing a role in animated movie “Cars 2,” which opens in U.S. movie theaters on Friday. He sat down with Reuters to talk about his role in the film and his plans for a new career — in politics.
Q: Sir Axlerod is a former oil baron who puts on a race to show off his new clean-burning fuel. Relate to him much?
A: “My dad worked for an oil company and I do like business. I’m into retail. I like good merchandise and I like good ideas, so that’s what I channeled in to Sir Miles Axlerod. He (represents) all the positive businesses like Google and Apple who try to do something different in a good way. Except he has a slight twist and an interesting aftertaste.”
Q: You had your own series “The Riches” on U.S. cable network FX and this past year appeared on the Showtime series “United States of Tara.” Any plans for more television?
A: “I’m developing a political drama with FX. We’re working toward shooting a pilot. There are hoops you have to jump through before it gets to series but I’m a determined bastard. I’m a transvestite that’s got this far.”
Q: Beyond that — films, TV, stand-up — any other long-term career goals?
A: “Films are my first love. But I’m not going to back off stand-up now. And I’m going into politics in nine years.”
Q: A cross-dressing politician? Gay or straight?
A: “I’m not gay. I’m not even bisexual. I’m a straight transvestite. A wannabe lesbian. I wanted to be (actress) Carrie Ann Moss in ‘The Matrix.’ That was my thing. If I was a woman, I’d want to be an action transvestite, a kind of feisty girl.”
Q: So, what office would lesbian transvestite politician Eddie Izzard run for?
A: “I’ll be mayor of London or MEP (Member of the European Parliament) or MP (Member of Parliament).”
Q: Why politics?
A: “I’m a radical centrist. I think most of the world is around the center of politics and that’s where I want to be. I like people setting up businesses and creating wealth. I distrust the right wing and I don’t like fascists. They keep rearing their heads and we fought a war to get rid of them. It should be about the people, about having a safety net and fighting to have health care for people.”
Q: You’ve performed your stand-up shows in French. Any plans to tackle other languages in foreign countries?
A: “I will do it in German, Russian and Arabic. Languages are a case of hard work and repetition. For Russia, I’ll spend two months learning the language before I start the shows. I’ll be in deep immersion, speaking Russian morning, noon and night, 24-7. It will be a hellish first two weeks but after that, you cannot but get better.”
Q: Why Arabic?
A: “I was born in an Arabic country so I have to go back to my home town — Aden, Yemen — where my parents met, where my brother was born and I was born. I think it’s my duty at this time, with this world, to learn the languages of countries who maybe feel a little bit separate or are having a tough time.”
Q: Do you identify with the Arabic culture?
A: “Yes. A lot. And I want to identify with it more. I want to be in there. I want to get immersed with it. Because I don’t believe in a God. I’m a spiritual atheist. I believe in us. I believe in humans. I believe the God and the devil fight is in everybody’s heart and mind. Heaven and hell are on Earth and we all know people who have lived through it over the years.”
Q: Why is this your belief?
A: “I can’t afford to believe in something that I don’t think is happening. I would love to think God is organizing stuff but how can you take my mother when she was 40 (years old), of cancer, when she never smoked and worked as a nurse — and let Hitler live to 56? People do good works and then they get taken. People do evil works and they live.”
Editing by Bob Tourtellotte