Friday night, IFC debuts its new black comedy series called Bullet in the Face. Starring Canadian actor Max Williams (Alyce) as psychopathic assassin Gunter Vogler, the show features Eddie Izzard (Valkyrie) and Eric Roberts (The Dark Knight) as competing criminal bosses.
The series, created by Sledge Hammer’s Alan Spencer, involves assassins, cops, and, of course, a femme fatale at the core of the conflict. It’s very, very violent with random and not-so-random shootings, but the violence is so over-the-top, it’s cartoonish. But its violence is also pretty gratuitous at times, making the series pretty controversial. Originally conceived as a six-episode, 30-minute series, the show will instead air over two nights, each showing three episodes back-to-back.
I had the opportunity to speak by phone with legendary British comedian/dramatic actor Izzard last week along with two other journalists. Eddie Izzard plays crime boss Tannhauser, a man quite comfortable ordering the assassination of pretty much anyone, including his lover; he’s also agoraphobic, terrified of leaving his comfortable mansion. The actor spoke about his involvement with Bullet in the Face, performing at Edinburgh Fringe, and carrying the torch at the London Olympics as well as his new projects.
Although Izzard is a standup comic, his acting roles have for the most part been dramatic. He explained that being a standup comic, he preferred to go into a different place for his acting roles. “I thought maybe I should, you know, just allow [comic roles] bit more so I was intrigued by where [Spencer] was going [with Bullet in the Face]. It was kind of an unusual place. It is rather violent, and I just thought, ‘Why not?’ Let’s see what comes out.”
Tannhauser is a great part for Izzard; he simply drips evil nonchalance. “I felt it was a place where I could just thrive,” Izzard explained. “It was just a charm for me to be able to go out on a strange and unusual angle of someone who is a complete megalomaniac. [There weren’t] any holds barred on where I was going to go with the role. So I just sort of went for it and didn’t take very many prisoners and sort of tried out some different things.”