Alan Cumming: Interview

By Jeff Walsh

Alan Cumming does it all well: actor, screenwriter, director, novelist, singer... hell, he even has his own fragrance. I got the chance to sit down with Cumming (that's my hand on his shoulder) when he was in town for the showing of Suffering Man's Charity at the San Francisco gay film festival back in June.

As these things often work, the interview is done in the afternoon on the day the movie is screening, so you basically interview him about a movie you haven't seen, and then once you see it, he's out of town. I was holding the interview to time it with the long-passed DVD release of "Rick & Steve: The Happiest Gay Couple In All The World," which never seems to show up in my mailbox. So, I figure, we'll just run the interview on Thanksgiving, since Alan is someone for whom the community is thankful.

In Rick & Steve, Cumming plays the elderly, HIV-positive Chuck, who adds a lot of un-PC color to the amazingly funny proceedings. Back when I reviewed that, a few of you did the math regarding his four-year relationship with his 19-year-old boyfriend, and were rightfully appalled. Hopefully LOGO goes for another season of Rick & Steve, which is just amazing work from queer cinema wunderkind Q. Allan Brocka.

Of course, like a true theater queen, I start the interview with the Cumming that I know best, the one who injected an amazing amount of fresh energy into Cabaret for its restaging on Broadway a decade ago. His Tony-winning role as the emcee ratcheted up the role's sex appeal and the good news (possibly an Oasis exclusive?) ... he might be hitting the boards again for the show's anniversary:

So, I've been following your career since Cabaret, although you didn't appear the day I went.

Well, I might do it again. It's a possibility. They want to do it again next year. It's the ten-year anniversary of it.

Sort of like how Anthony Rapp and Adam Pascal are going back to do Rent again now.

Are they? That's got to be more than ten years? But yeah, they suddenly want to remount the show in Studio 54 again, so we'll see... (he rubs his fingers together, as though they are still ironing out the financials to get him back).

So, I may get another chance.

Maybe. Wherever I go, people say 'I missed you in Cabaret.'

The hard part about interviewing you is you're doing everything and you're good at everything. So, what are you bad at? That'll be a shorter list.

What am I bad at? (pauses) Remembering things the next day. I don't know. I don't know what I'm bad at. I try not to put a negative stance on things, so I'm just less good at some things.

I mean, you're writing novels. You're in mainstream movies like X-men, animated things, you're writing and directing independent movies. Is there a dominant thing you consider yourself or do you just like gravitating to different things all the time?

I think of myself first as an actor. But in a way, I sort of think about it more as being an artist with some power. Because producing, writing, or directing, it's kind of all the same thing where you're just trying to tell a story. Especially when you're producing, for example, you have the ability to make something happen that otherwise you'd just be a part of if you're an actor. Although I'm producing lots more now, it just sort of happened because, in a way, if there's something I'm passionate about I've always tried to support it and bring it to fruition.

Comments

Orah's picture

Thank you for doing this

Thank you for doing this interview, I love Alan Cumming! What a great role model.

now what's picture

Alan Cumming is definitely a

Alan Cumming is definitely a good role model.
And he's so cute too!