Eddie Izzard discusses gender issues, politics and his new film Rock Dog
by Joanna Orland
I met with stand-up comedian, actor and soon-to-be politician Eddie Izzard on a yacht parked outside of the Palais des Festivals at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival. Along with director Ash Brannon, Izzard was doing roundtable interviews for their new animated film Rock Dog, a Chinese-American collaboration based on the graphic novel Tibetan Rock Dog by Zheng Jun. In the film, Izzard voices the character of Angus Scattergood, a British rock legend of a cat who’s suffering from writer’s block.
Rock Dog‘s universal appeal is one of the aspects which drew Izzard to the project. “I get this gut instinct that creativity is handed out equally all around the world, senses of humour is handed out equally, the wise and sensible and groovy people are handed out equally – percentage wise in every country,” he says. “The pain in the ass people, the close-minded people are handed out equally – it’s kind of like an even stevens… the genetic cards that get handed out accidentally are sort of even all over the world.”
Rock Dog wasn’t the only subject matter at hand for Izzard as he discussed gender issues, appropriately in comparison to cats and dogs. “We are obsessed with the differences between men and women,” he explains. “Whereas cats and dogs – you look at a cat and dog, you go ‘nice cat, nice dog’. ‘Boy, girl, boy, girl, boy girl’ and we have no fucking clue have we!?” Izzard states, “I think cats and dogs look at us and go ‘nice human’!”
Beginning his entertainment career with an interest in drama, Izzard initially found his mainstream success in comedy. “I hit puberty and it all went kind of awkward for me so I thought, I’ll dump the drama, I’ll just do comedy ’cause I discovered Python comedy, The Goons…” he explains. “So I had Python visual surreal comedy and The Goons which was audio surreal comedy at the same time, which is kind of bonkers but yeah, that was a big influence.”
Over the years Izzard has returned to drama with roles in both television and movies. After his found success in both genres, Izzard will be taking his career in a new direction. He explains, “I’ve said for five years I’m going to run for mayor of London or member of parliament – May 2020 so that’s what I’m going to do, if people will vote for me.”
Our interview with Rock Dog director Ash Brannon