Belfast Telegraph

Izzard's famed pirate to be Cockney

Eddie Izzard has revealed he made a last-minute decision to ditch a West Country accent and play Long John Silver as a Cockney villain in a new adaptation of Treasure Island.

The comedian plays the one-legged pirate in a Sky1 adaptation of the Robert Louis Stevenson story - in which a ship of pirates and sailors sets sail from Bristol in search of buried gold - and said he opted to make a break with tradition just before filming started.

"I chose to make him London rather than West Country," said Eddie.

"I was getting ready to do him West Country then I thought, 'Everyone does him West Country!' There must have been so many sailors from London too, and it just twisted it a bit and made it mine."

The 49-year-old added that it was also his idea to shave his head to play Long John Silver, saying he had been "planning to shave my head for some time".

Eddie said he only agreed to take on the role if the tone of the two-parter was more like Tim Burton's dark Batman and less like a pantomime or The Pirates Of Penzance.

He said: "I agreed to do it if it could be a kick-arse Goodfellas version. I think the analogy I was using was Tim Burton's Batman."

Producers used CGI to make it look as if Eddie had only one leg, and the actor said he learnt to enjoy using Long John Silver's crutch.

"It became part of the character and I actually grew to like it, you know how soldiers keep their guns with them at all times? I just wanted to be with that crutch," he said.

Treasure Island, which was filmed in Ireland and Puerto Rico and which also stars Donald Sutherland, Elijah Wood and Rupert Penry Jones, will be on Sky1 during the Christmas period.

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