Emmy winner Eddie Izzard — whose HBO special “Dress to Kill” remains a cult fave — will try his hand at series TV, signing on to star in a dark comedy pilot for FX.
Untitled project will feature Izzard (most recently seen in “Ocean’s Twelve”) as the patriarch of an Irish family that moves to the southern U.S. and sets out to con the community.
Russian playwright Dmitry Lipkin (“Baton Rouge,” “Cranes”) will create and write the hourlong pilot. Maverick TV is on board to produce.
Maverick TV prexy Michael Rosenberg was instrumental in bringing all of the pieces to FX; he’ll exec produce, along with Maverick principal Guy Oseary and Maverick Films topper Mark Morgan.
“I’ve been looking for a family show that’s sort of original enough, dark enough, funny enough and deep enough to fit with the types of shows we have on our air,” said FX entertainment president John Landgraf.
Landgraf said he’s been a fan of Izzard’s since the groundbreaking standup special “Dress to Kill,” which scored the comedian/thesp two Emmys (for writing and individual perf in a variety or music program) in 2000.
Izzard also has received strong notices for both his comic and dramatic turns in films such as “All the Queen’s Men,” “The Cat’s Meow” and “Velvet Goldmine.” He also was nominated for an actor Tony for “A Day in the Death of Joe Egg.”
“He’s gotten phenomenal notices, and we were aware of him as an emerging dramatic actor,” Landgraf said. “We love to allow actors to appear in something different from their familiar guise. That’s been true for Michael Chiklis, Jamie Foxx and Denis Leary.”
Part of the project’s conceit — a European brood transplanted to the American South — also comes out of the personal experiences of Lipkin, whose Russian/Jewish family immigrated to New Orleans, where he got his first exposure to American culture.
“He has a very interesting point of view about American society,” Landgraf said. “This is a very original series that’s also soulful and deep, a thematic exploration of the American family.”
The Izzard project is one of several in the works at Maverick TV, which was relaunched last year with the hiring of Rosenberg (Daily Variety, Sept. 17).
Oseary called the Izzard pilot “a perfect example of the programming that Maverick is developing.”