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Eddie Izzard gets his pirate on for 'Treasure Island'

New adaptation of “Treasure Island” to air 6 to10 p.m. Saturday on Syfy
By Kate O'Hare Published: May 2, 2012

Over a glass of wine at a busy restaurant on the west side of Los Angeles, British comic and actor Eddie Izzard shares his long-standing desire to be bald — not permanently, mind you, but just for a role.

“I've been trying to shave my head in some role for eight years,” he says. “I just thought it'd be an interesting take. ... To keep a comedic thing going and a dramatic thing, it's a tricky thing to do. If you can break a look, if you can make it so one is over there and one is, ‘Oh, God, you look so different,' that really helps.”

Izzard is at a cinema for a screening of the first half of his latest project, a new, four-hour version of the Robert Louis Stevenson classic “Treasure Island,” airing 6 to 10 p.m. Saturday on Syfy. Steve Barron (“Merlin,” “Arabian Nights”) directs from a screenplay by Stewart Harcourt (“Hearts and Bones,” “Marple”).

Izzard plays Long John Silver (complete with tattooed bald head and missing leg), with Elijah Wood as Ben Gunn, Donald Sutherland as Captain Flint, Philip Glenister as Captain Smollett, Daniel Mays as Dr. Livesey and Rupert Penry-Jones as Squire Trelawney.

As to whether if he's trying to rescue the image of pirates from “Pirates of the Caribbean,” Izzard says, “I said, ‘I'll only do it if it's edgy, if it tracks all the way down to real lives and real people.' What would you do in the 1700s with that kind of money? How bleak was it?

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