Just before we started rolling on this interview, I asked Eddie Izzard how things were going, and how he and Owen Wilson were enjoying their press day for “Cars 2.”
He fixed me with a bleary gaze and, with surprising bluntness, replied, “We are both dead behind the eyes today.”
Now, I certainly don’t think things were as bad as that, but it’s good to remember that there is a toll that these things can take on you when you’re grinding out about 100 interviews a day for three days in a row sitting outside in the beginning heat of an LA summer. No matter how pampered you are by the studio that’s hosting the event, when those interview lights are all directed at you all day long and you’re doing your best to not look like they’re sucking your very essence out of you, it can be real work.
I used to trade occasional e-mail with Izzard when I was still Moriarty over at Ain’t It Cool, and a few times, he invited me to shows here in LA where he was working out new material. Watching Izzard think onstage is one of the great delights in modern live comedy. I’ve seen a bit crash and burn on him, but I’ve also seen him ad-lib his way into a roll of laughter that crippled a crowd for ten minutes straight. He’s remarkably nimble when he’s off the leash like that. In “Cars 2,” he’s far more reserved than fans of his live show might be used to, but it’s a nice performance.
Owen Wilson is one of those guys I’ve interviewed many times over the years, and I always get the feeling he is being sincere because there’s no other setting. Sincere is just what he does. It also doesn’t feel like everything out of his mouth is canned. I get the feeling he stays awake by making sure he answers every question differently, even if it’s the 300th time he’s heard it.
I’m sorry these guys were worn down by their day, but I was the second-to-the-last interview of the entire junket for them, so I think I represented the light at the end of the tunnel for them, and it was good to touch base.
“Cars 2” opens this Friday, June 24, 2011, in theaters everywhere and in IMAX.