MIPCOM: Eddie Izzard on 'Treasure Island': It’s More 'Goodfellas' Than 'Pirates of The Caribbean'

6:26 AM PST 10/03/2011 by Mimi Turner
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Excitement is building around the gangster-themed new adaptation of "Treasure Island," which also stars Elijah Wood and Donald Sutherland.

CANNES – “It’s more Goodfellas than Pirates of The Caribbean” says Eddie Izzard of the gangster-themed and adrenalin-fuelled new re-invention of Treasure Island from RHI Entertainment.

Izzard, who recently was on screen in The Good Wife and alongside Tom Cruise in Valkyrie, plays a shaven-headed Long John Silver on a mission to claim treasure he believes to be rightfully his.

Excitement is building around the project, not only for a cast that includes Elijah Wood as Ben Gun, and Donald Sutherland as Flint, but also for the thriller-feel to the three-hour drama, which will debut as two 90-minute episodes on Sky in the fall.

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“I said I’d do the part because but only if it was edgy enough and I didn’t sign on 'till I saw the script,” says Izzard, speaking at MIPCOM, likening the reboot of the Pirate genre to something like the way Tim Burton transformed Batman.

Being able to bring more than a touch of brutality - as well as a Pirate’s self-serving ethic – to the complex and often ambiguous role, was part of the fun, he adds.

“It’s not an ordinary family drama like the ones where no-one really dies, or if they do they are quite happy to do it. We’ve put Treasure Island into this darker place where everyone is after the money. These are villains who want their money. It’s very full on.”

Izzard took inspiration from big figures like Churchill who had charisma and stoicism as his core but also a flair for ambiguity and getting the job done.

“Silver has got to try and keep everyone onside while he kept changing his position. I feel from his point of view they are the good guys, he says.

“I’m a determined bastard and that’s what Long John I like to play those sorts of characters.

“We didn’t want to make a boring costume drama – we’ve seen a lot of those. The brief was to be brave,” says director Steve Barron. “You don’t often see a period piece where the camera is moving in such a way that makes you feel you were really there.”

The project has completed filming in Dublin and in Puerto Rico and is now in post production, expecting to air on Sky as one of the hallmarks of its Christmas schedule and has been launched to international buyers at the market.

Although the drama has yet to be sold in the U.S., co-CEO of RHI Entertainment said that a “natural home” for the show could be ScyFy.

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