‘Once you see Izzard in costume for the role, you’re hit by how the similarities are staggering,’ said friend and agent Jim Murphy. ‘But it’s Eddie Izzard’s vocal impersonation of the SNP leader that swung the balance in the casting of the star role for the new movie Nicola, telling the life story of the ‘Caledonian Boadicea.’ That and his take on her clothes sense. Don’t get me wrong, he could have played the role of Alex Salmond equally well. But that one will go to one of the Brian Coxes.’
‘I’ve been studying what makes Nicola tick for weeks,’ Izzard told Variety magazine. ‘Now I am certain I have got her down to a t. I am ready to step into her shoes and have already done footwear research at Russell and Bromley in Leith.’
‘There are obvious anomalies,’ admits Izzard. ‘Everybody knows the one thing I am definitely not is Scottish. I can’t help that. I wasn’t born that way. But I’m also an actor, and that’s the main thing. The fact that I am immersed in politics is also important. But it’s as a freewheeling performer that I’ve really got under the skin of this new brand of female hustings-lady, and toast and marmalade as well! Anchovies, maybe!’
Izzard – known for his surreally spontaneous inventions and careful hair colouring did meet with some disquiet among Scottish documentary fans, and there were heated scenes at the final auditions yesterday. Izzard’s agent – that’s Jim Murphy, MP, soon to make a big change himself as he morphs into plain old Jim Murphy, conceded the audition process was ‘a bit rough and tumble’. In a police car in which he and Izzard were held for their own protection, Murphy told one police officer ‘This is what politics is all about. Meeting the people, or in your case, officer, meeting the person, and showing you’re willing to make changes for Britain. Eddie’s performance as Nicola will help heal the wound between Scotland and the rest of the world. Scotland gave us men in kilts. Eddie does Nicola in a skirt. It’s what’s beneath that counts.’
Meanwhile Labour officials would not comment on rumours that Michael Sheen will play Cherie Blair in a new film about the Iraq war.