Being Angus Scattergood: A Conversation with National Treasure Eddie Izzard ahead of the Release of ROCK DOG
For the Tibetan Mastiffs living on Snow Mountain, a dog’s life has a simple riff; Guard a peaceful village of wool-making sheep from the thuggish wolf Linnux (Lewis Black; Inside Out, The Aristocrats) and his rabid pack. To avoid distractions, Mastiff leader Khampa (J.K Simmons; Whiplash, Spider-Man) forbids all music from the mountain. But when Khampa’s son Bodi (Luke Wilson; Legally Blonde, Charlie’s Angels) discovers a radio dropped by a passing aeroplane, it takes just a few guitar licks for his fate to be sealed: Bodi wants to be a rock’n’roll star. Yet that means defying his father’s wishes, heading to the city and locating the legendary – and reclusive – musician Angus Scattergood (Eddie Izzard; Cars 2, Valkyrie), who needs to write a new song and fast.
If Bodi can put a band together, help Angus with his song, and defeat the wolves’ plot to take Snow Mountain, his life will be in tune. Body will become what he’s always dreamed of being: More than a dog…more than a rock god… he’ll be a ROCK DOG!
In our interview, Eddie tells us about his inspiration for Angus Scattergood, his career as a Voice Over Artist and his affection for this character in Rock Dog...
Do you have a certain affection for your character in Rock Dog?
He’s fun. At the beginning, I wasn’t sure I wanted to do him. The fading rock star. Somewhere between fading and ageing – let’s put it that way. He’s not on the top of his game. He’s not coming up with anything creatively. And maybe he fired the band and only with the band could he come up with stuff. You think of some bands, working on individual projects, it doesn’t work. Collectively it works better.
Was there a specific musician you were thinking of?
No, I went...having done Long John Silver with a London accent [in 2012 mini-series Treasure Island], when I played him, instead of doing the West Country accent, I thought, ‘I’ll go there first.’ And then I just started talking like him and it played well...and we kept it going. I’d say things like ‘Mother fudgecake’ – swearing for kids!
So nobody – say Mick Jagger – fed into your portrayal of Angus Scattergood?
No, I think it was a merging of them all. I didn’t want to get stuck. The creative star who has got to a place...in a comedy, I could be in a castle, but I’m not in a castle. So I could understand part of that mindset. What if the stuff won’t come anymore? I could understand that.
Does that worry you, slipping into a creative funk where you might dry up?
No, it doesn’t! It is a scary thing to worry about and worrying about it might cause it to come. Because I road test my material...in my new shows, I workshop it all in, so I should get there. Even if the first stuff I do isn’t funny, I keep going until I go, ‘That’s funny!’ It’s like verbal sculpture – each night, I’m sculpting away at the thing, having done a sculpture the night before. So in the end, you’re coming up with this fantastic sculpture every night and you know where to go with it. I’m just not worried about it. Maybe I should be!
ROCK DOG IS OUT IN CINEMAS AND SKY STORE FROM FRIDAY JUNE 16