Though he’s one of the top stand-up comics performing today – a comedy career he’s spun off into a string of successful acting gigs, Cars 2 director and Pixar/Disney boss John Lasseter asked him to tone it down to play the rich race organizer, Sir Miles Axlerod (a newly redesigned hybrid Land Rover).
Fortunately, Izzard’s own history with cars is far more colorful than the subtle performance he serves up in the animated racing blockbuster. CraveOnline chased down Izzard as he prepared for a performance at The Hollywood Bowl.
CraveOnline: In Cars 2, you play an English SUV with a typically shoddy British engine. But, what are you out there driving in real life?
Eddie Izzard: I stick with Volkswagen – more fuel efficient German cars.
CraveOnline: That’s fairly pedestrian. Do you have a dream car?
Eddie Izzard: A few years ago, Ford brought back a modernized version of the classic Thunderbird. It had the look of the 1950s classic with modern technology. If anybody out there is listening, I would love designers to do the same thing with the 1964 Aston Martin DB5. The classic James Bond, Goldfinger car. If they will bring back that car with today’s technology, I promise you, I will buy one.
CraveOnline: You’ve played a car now, and it sounds like you have a good relationship with your cars. What’s your craziest driving experience?
Eddie Izzard: Just out of university, I bought this Mini – my first car. I studied accounting in school, and it seemed like a proper car to start with out of school. So, I was leaving university and driving to London when I got hit by a massive rain storm – and the windscreen wipers wouldn’t work. Have you ever tried to drive any distance in hard rain without wipers? Light refracts, if you know your physics. I was looking ahead and realizing I was seeing images coming to me at an angle.
So, I pull over and call AA (AAA in The States). Their mechanics shows up and fiddles with it. He tells me, “It's f****d, mate.” Fortunately, another bloke was able to help and rewire them – get them running again. Otherwise, I was going to have to do a scene out of a Schwarzenegger movie and punch the window out to save my own life.
CraveOnline: So, you learned not to take your life into your own hands behind the wheel?
Eddie Izzard: No. Years ago, when I was just gigging and doing stand-up, a friend and I
performed at the Edinburgh Festival. Then we had to do a gig in Cork, in Ireland. But, I got the
date and time around. We had about three hours to get from Edinburgh to Swanzee to catch a
ferry to Ireland – about 300 miles. So, I spend three hours doing about doing 110 mph in a small
car. Arms bolted to the wheel, eyes wide open. No stopping I wouldn’t recommend it.
And, we still didn’t make it.
CraveOnline: Do you have a favorite place to drive?
Eddie Izzard: I’ve always enjoyed driving across Europe – especially through the Alps. I’ve done
that in my Volkswagen convertible – beautiful views.
CraveOnline: The ineptitude of the British car industry is a plot point in Cars 2. Does it bother
you that the experts like to say, “If there’s no oil under a British-made engine, there’s no oil in
Eddie Izzard: It does annoy me. The British car industry is gone. The famous British makes are
all owned by other international companies. And, it’s our nation’s fault. The high end models
weren't such crap, but so many British cars were. I admit that it is a patriotic source of anger for
Apparently, you have to lose the Second World War to be good at cars. But, in Britain, we export