These two enormously appealing Brits — who play married con artists in the dark FX series The Riches (premieres March 12) — chat about their first meeting and why he won’t crack wise on demand.
EDDIE IZZARD: We first met in New York, didn’t we?
MINNIE DRIVER: Yes, we did, briefly. At a tea shop.
EI: A woman came in who spoke Russian and I so love languages, because Dmitry Lipkin, who created The Riches, speaks Russian. I had a birthday party, and the catering guy was from Czechoslovakia…
MD: Honey, we’ve got to have a conversation. You can’t tell a story. We met a year ago…
EI: We were scouting each other out. I’d known of Minnie for some time, and I’m a huge fan of Grosse Pointe Blank…
MD: …which was mostly improvised. That’s probably why you love it so.
EI: But first impressions were…I mean, we chatted, we got on fine. It wasn’t like, Oh, my God, I suddenly was taken to another planet.
MD: I liked you! I wanted to be married to you! Apparently, you didn’t feel the same way. I thought I had the job, so one of the first things I said was ”God, this is a bit like an arranged marriage, isn’t it?” And I just had this blank face looking at me.
EI: We were talking to other people…. It turned out the way it was supposed to.
MD: I can’t really remember a time when I haven’t seen you on the telly in England. You were this beautiful man. You’re not pretty now. You’re manly and gorgeous.
EI: I was a big girl.
MD: I do remember one night when I was about 26: I was having a big fight with a chap I was living with, and one of your concerts came on. We stopped growling and started laughing. My stomach hurt so much from laughing.
EI: I have a fear of the written word.
MD: I have a profound fear of numbers. That’s really strange. And here we are, playing a married couple.
EI: I don’t want to riff or improvise [like he’s famous for doing during his concerts] in The Riches.
MD: No, you don’t do that in this show. Everyone has an understanding of you, whether they’ve seen Dress to Kill or any of the specials you’ve done. Here, you’re all new. I’m not Minnie from Good Will Hunting. There’s no kind of referencing [to past work].
EI: And people can’t do that to me, like, ”Oh, go and be funny!” I’d have to hit them.
MD: Do one of your accents!
EI: Dance, monkey boy, dance!
MD: It’s bloody hard work, what we do. It’s not some boring procedural nonsense. It’s real life and words and feeling, and we’re passionate, and we cry. Obviously we’re all getting better, and…you’re really, really good, Eddie.
EI: Well, thank you!
MD: I need money and cash underneath my trailer door by 5 p.m., or I’m going to ring EW up and go, ”I’m f—ing lying, he’s s—!”