With Victoria & Abdul now playing in limited release and expanding into more cities this weekend, I had the chance to sit down with Eddie Izzard for an exclusive video interview. Directed by Stephen Frears (The Queen, High Fidelity) and scripted by Lee Hall (Billy Elliot), the film is based on journalist Shrabani Basu’s book Victoria & Abdul: The True Story of the Queen’s Closest Confidant. The film tells the true story of Queen Victoria’s (Judi Dench) latter years, when she befriended a young clerk from India named Abdul Karim (Ali Fazal) and subsequently struck an unlikely and deep friendship that was looked down upon by her contemporaries. The film also stars Adeel Akhtar, Simon Callow, Michael Gambon, Ruth McCabe, Tim Pigott-Smith, Julian Wadham, Olivia Williams, and Fenella Woolgar.
During the interview, Eddie Izzard talks about how the film is a crowd-pleaser, what the film is about and who he plays, what it was like working with Stephen Frears, how he first heard about the true story, and getting to voice Voldemort in The LEGO Batman Movie. Check out what he had to say in the player above; below is exactly what we talked about and the official synopsis.
- Talks about getting to voice Voldermort in The LEGO Batman Movie.
- How the film is a big crowd pleaser. How the comedy takes you in.
- Talks about who he plays and story of the film.
- Talks about working with Stephen Frears.
- When did he first hear about this crazy true story.
Here’s the official synopsis for Victoria & Abdul:
Academy Award winner Judi Dench (“Shakespeare in Love”) reunites with Academy Award-nominated director Stephen Frears (“The Queen”), and returns to the role of Queen Victoria, in “Victoria & Abdul.” The screenplay of “Victoria & Abdul” is by Academy Award nominee Lee Hall (“Billy Elliot”), based on journalist Shrabani Basu’s book Victoria & Abdul: The True Story of the Queen’s Closest Confidant., which brought to light the long-hidden history of Victoria and Abdul from their own diaries and journals. The extraordinary true story of the amazing and unlikely friendship between Queen Victoria (Judi Dench) and a young clerk, Abdul Karim (Ali Fazal), who becomes her teacher, her spiritual advisor, and her devoted friend. In 1887, Abdul travels from India to present a ceremonial medal as part of the Queen’s Golden Jubilee but surprisingly finds favor with the elderly Queen. The unprecedented and unlikely relationship causes a battle royale within the royal household, pitting the Queen against court and family. “Victoria & Abdul” humorously explores questions of race, religion, power, and the farce of Empire through the prism of a highly unusual and deeply moving friendship.