Cumming Up

Is he a writer, director, actor or...sex symbol? Um, yes--and more

Alan Cumming is, in no particular order, the following: an actor, a pop icon, a Renaissance man, a sex symbol, a bon viveur and the boy next door. "I am a combination of all those things," insists the 36-year-old Scot, who punctuates every other sentence with a sly giggle that suggests he knows something you don't and never will. Then, if you know anything at all about Cumming--a man who has portrayed Hamlet on the British stage and the Great Gazoo in The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas--you are aware that he has more fun in a day than more of us do in a lifetime. His life is a lark, a night on the town that turns into a week that feels like a year or forever. Cumming is a self-proclaimed hedonist, a man prone to dressing up as a woman for fashion pics, a good-time boy who makes no excuses or apologies for keeping his options open when it comes to damned near everything.

"I am fearless," says the man who won a Tony for portraying the bi-and-high Emcee in Sam Mendes' 1998 revival of Cabaret, then turned up as Sylvester Stallone's sidekick in the daft, sloppy 2000 remake of Get Carter. "Yes, I have no fear, and there's nothing to fear but fear itself. There's no place for fear. Fear equals shame. No, thank you. And I love being with people who have no fear. Sometimes, people are attracted to me because I'm fearless, and they sort of get this vicarious thrill out of it, and I like that. I like going out for a night with people and they know something exciting's going to happen."

The aforementioned description of Cumming (pop icon and so forth) comes from the man's own eponymous Web site, which overflows with pictures of Cumming in various states of dress and undress. Some, including the home-page pic of the actor-sex-symbol-etc. sporting a fez, are photos from an old Vanity Fair shoot; others, including a backstage snapshot of Cumming with Monica Lewinsky after one of his performances in the current Broadway revival of Noel Coward's Design for Living, are from his private collection. "Isn't that a riot?" Cumming says of the latter photo, in which he's holding a glass of white wine in his right hand and the world's most famous giver of blow jobs in his left.

Willkommen, bienvenue, welcome to the thrill-ride world of Alan Cumming, seen here in the 1998 revival of Cabaret.
Willkommen, bienvenue, welcome to the thrill-ride world of Alan Cumming, seen here in the 1998 revival of Cabaret.

"The next thing I'm doing is, I've taken pictures of goody bags I've gotten at various functions I've been to, and I take all the things out of the goody bags and take a photo of them and then grade the goody bags," says the actor who, in 1999, played both the flirtatious hotel desk clerk in Stanley Kubrick's sex-free porno Eyes Wide Shutand "Rooster" Hannigan in the Wonderful World of Disneyversion of Annie. He's referring to the totes handed out to celebrities whenever they attend award shows or benefits. One of the most astonishing things about Hollywood is that the people who least need free crap are the ones who always end up walking away with bags full of jewelry, perfume, clothing, even food.

"Sometimes, they're really mean," explains Cumming, who flashed his ass in Julie Taymor's decadent 1999 cinematic interpretation of Shakespeare's Titusbefore going off to play villains in Spy Kidsand Josie and the Pussycats, which opened within weeks of each other earlier this spring. "You go to posh functions, and inside the bag is a copy of Vanity Fairand a pen, and then you go to other ones and it's full of fabulous things, like money. I find it hilarious that the more money I have, the less things I have to buy, because people give me things for free. Clothes, for example. Like, they send me things to wear for interviews or stuff. They give you things to borrow or keep, depending upon who they are. I was looking at the labels for this thing I'm wearing today, and it's $1,200 for this little ensemble I've got on, and it looks like something you could buy at the Gap for about $150, and I would never, in a million years, pay that money for it. But I don't have to. Isn't that the ironic thing?"

But scrapbook and screw-offs aside, the main reason Cumming maintains his burgeoning Web site is to inform the ignorant and oblivious of his rather lengthy list of acting credits--on British television, on stage (here and abroad) and in film. Turns out he's famous enough to warrant gratis designer wardrobes and extravagant photo shoots in slick fashion mags but not famous enough for most journalists to know he's been in more than just a couple of movies. Just the other day, while doing press for The Anniversary Party--a film written by, directed by and starring Cumming and his one-time Cabaretco-star, Jennifer Jason Leigh--a woman asked him how difficult it had been making the transition from stage to screen for Robert Rodriguez's Spy Kids. He told her it was no trouble at all, seeing as how he made his TV debut in 1984, while he was attending the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama in Glasgow. Cumming then directed the journalist to his Web site, as he often does, and suggested they talk about things more interesting than his career, since he obviously knew more about it than she.

1
 
2
 
3
 
All
 
Next Page »
 
My Voice Nation Help
0 comments
 
Miami Event Tickets
Loading...