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Alan Cumming

Alan Cumming , co-star of the "Son Of The Mask" Movie!

Scottish, versatile, and for a long time underappreciated, Alan Cumming is chameleon-like in both his choice of roles and his ability to inhabit them convincingly. Born January 27, 1965, in Perthshire, Scotland, Cumming studied drama at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama before embarking on a career that would have its roots on the stage. For years, Cumming worked steadily in the theater as a member of repertory companies, such as the Royal Shakespeare Company. In 1992 he had his film debut in the largely unheard of Prague, which was essentially a historical overview of the city. In 1994 American audiences were introduced to the sound of Cumming's voice thanks to his role as the narrator of Black Beauty, but it wasn't until 1995 (Cumming's other 1994 film, Second Best notwithstanding) that they actually saw him, this time via his small but memorable role as a Russian computer programmer in Goldeneye. Wider exposure followed, thanks to two successful films. The first, Circle of Friends (1995), featured Cumming as Minnie Driver's slimy, unwelcome suitor, and the second, 1996's Emma, saw Cumming playing yet another unwelcome suitor, this time to Gwyneth Paltrow. More sympathetic roles followed in For My Baby, Buddy, and Romy and Michele's High School Reunion (in which he played a sweetly awkward nerd with a crush on Lisa Kudrow), all released in 1997. Work in Spice World came next in 1998, as did the stage role that was to give Cumming critical acclaim, a host of awards, and the wider respect he deserved. That role was Cabaret's Emcee, and Cumming managed to make the character -- previously the sole territory of Joel Grey -- all his own, giving a wickedly delicious performance that was unabashedly dark, sly, androgynous, and altogether terrifying. His performance won him all three New York theater awards: a Tony, a Drama Desk, and an Outer Critics Circle. This triumph resulted in a new range of opportunities for the actor, one of which was the chance to be a part of what was to be Stanley Kubrick's last film, Eyes Wide Shut (1999). Although Cumming's role as a hotel desk clerk was a small one, the actor turned in a sly and insinuating performance that reflected his ability to make the most out of even the most limited opportunities.

Cumming was subsequently given almost unlimited opportunities to showcase his flamboyance in Julie Taymor's Titus, her 1999 adaptation of Shakespeare's Titus Andronicus. In his role as the queen's (Jessica Lange) debauched lover, he gave a performance that was as over-the-top and rococo as the film itself, leading some critics to say his portrayal had a little too much in common with a Christmas ham.

Fortunately, Cumming surprised critics and audiences alike when he directed, with Jennifer Jason Leigh, The Anniversary Party (2001), a marital comedy-drama that starred him and Leigh as a husband and wife whose anniversary party exposes the many flaws of their fragile marriage. Featuring a cast that included Kevin Kline, Phoebe Cates, Gwyneth Paltrow, John C. Reilly, and Jennifer Beals, the film, which was shot on digital video, earned a fairly warm reception from critics, many of whom praised Cumming for his work both behind and in front of the camera.

 

Alan Cumming in Boreanaz's Directorial Debut

The Winnipeg Sun chatted with Son of the Mask star Alan Cumming who says that he's got a role in the new film from former Angel star David Boreanaz.

"It's called Suffering Man's Charity and it would mark the feature film directing debut of David Boreanaz. I'd get to play this crazy music teacher for the vampire," he says of Boreanaz.

There was talk he'd play a gay cabaret actor who coaches a rugby team to victory in Coming Out, but he says that project is "in some kind of limbo.

"Catherine-Zeta Jones is producing through her company and also wanted to star, but I don't know if that one is ever going to get made. I haven't heard anything from Catherine for a while now."

'Mask' star Alan Cumming getting scent-sational

Hollywood - Later this month, as befits an international star of stage and screen, Alan Cumming will launch his own fragrance.

Cumming.

"Originally it was for men," he says, "but women love it. So I'm saying it's 'beyond gender.'"

It's also beyond the age of the target audience for "Son of the Mask," opening tomorrow. It's a sort of prequel to Jim Carrey's 1994 "The Mask."

Cumming plays Loki, the Norse God of Mischief, who created the mask and now will go to any length - and any disguise - to get it back. No costume or hair style is too demeaning, if it gets a laugh.

"Sometimes people get really sniffy about the films you choose if you've done more dramatic projects or you're classically trained," says Cumming, who studied at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Dance.

"But I love a film where I get squished by two Dumpsters or I fly through the air."

The outrageous Cumming has a career that goes both ways. His heavyweight credits include "Cabaret," his Tony Award-winning revival in 1998, and heavy dramas like "Eyes Wide Shut" (1999).

Then there's the more mainstream "Emma" (opposite Gwyneth Paltrow), "X2" and TV versions of "Annie" and "The Goodbye Girl." Kids flock to him because of "Spy Kids," "The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas" and "Black Beauty."

"What I really liked about 'Son of the Mask' was the homage to Looney Tunes and 'One Froggy Evening,'" Cumming, 40, says. "Kids are more genuine. When they come up and want to talk to you, they don't have an agenda. It's more endearing and less piercing to your aura."

Cumming is "like a finely-tuned Rolls Royce," says "Son of the Mask" director Lawrence Guterman. "He exudes such confidence as he chews up the scenery."

He chews more scenery in "Reefer Madness," a musical airing on Showtime in April. In a parody of the 1936 anti-marijuana film, he plays the emcee-like Lecturer, President Roosevelt and Goat-Man.

"I thought it was a funny story," he says. "What our film is saying is that we're encouraged to be scared about certain things - in the movie it's marijuana, which is not very scary at all. But it takes up all your energy and you don't worry about the really important things that are going on."

After President Bush's re-election, Cumming thought about leaving America and New York, where he has lived since 1998 (and "Cabaret"). But he decided he had too many commitments here.

He's already at work on "Bam Bam and Celeste," in which he plays Margaret Cho's love interest. After that comes "X3," reprising his role as the blue shape shifter, Nightcrawler.

Then there are more films to promote: "Mr. Ripley's Return," "Neverwas," "Ant Bully," "Eighteen," and "Wedding Photo," in which he plays a 1920s Minnesota farmer with 10 children.

Cumming enjoys toying with gender issues. He was married for eight years to Hilary Lyon, his Ophelia in "Hamlet." In 2002, he wrote a novel, "Tommy's Tale," about the wild life of a pansexual Londoner. Currently he speaks about having a boyfriend.

His fragrance's advertising campaign features postcards of Cumming doing homages to old fragrance ads.

"In some of them I'm naked," he says. "I sent the postcards to my mom, and she sent me an E-mail, saying: 'I saw the pictures of your fragrance, dear, and I wasn't shocked because 40 years ago I saw you just as naked - but everything was a bit smaller.'"

Alan Cumming: The “Masked” Entertainer

After a while, you might wonder what chameleon actor/singer Broadway Tony winner Alan Cumming really looks like. Wth Alan's
starring role in “Cabaret” to a turn as the cartoony “Floop” in the Spy Kids films, a nerdy clergyman in love with Gwyneth Paltrow in Emma and his blue meanie masterpiece Nightcrawler in X-Men 2, the dark-haired Scottish-born actor has impressed as a master of disguises and he just loves to slip into every bizarre one of them!
Now you can catch Cumming as the original owner of The Mask; Loki, the Norse God of Mischief in Son of the Mask in which he co-stars with Jamie Kennedy. He’s again covered in strange make-ups (he plays several characters in the film) and gets to wear some wild outfits. When we sat down with him in Beverly Hills, it was the “real” Alan, a slight, really exuberant, very funny, dark fellow with handsome face, a rich Scottish accent and a “normal” outfit of black jeans and shirt. We learned all about his love of playing wild character despite the horrors of all the make-up, the challenges of working with special effects, his acting preferences and the fact that there will soon be an Alan Cumming fragrance line.
TeenHollywood: Is there any chance you would ever do “Cabaret” for television?
Alan: Not any more. There was definitely talk of doing it a few years ago. What they wanted to do is for me and Natasha (Richardson) to go back into it in the theater and do it for a month or like three months and shoot it and then end the show. I think, when you try to recreate something that….it would be weird. It wouldn’t be the same people around you. You don’t really have the same exact formula. Even if it does, it can end up somewhere bad.
TeenHollywood: This (Loki role) must have been a fun part for you.

Alan: beaming) I like when I get to do things where there are a lot of different disguises. I play one person
within the film but I change into all these other people. I really like that. It’s great and your ego is very flattered when a big film company thinks you can do all these different things so it’s nice. I’m also really intrigued by that whole Americana aspect of Looney Tunes cartoons. I really liked how much that played a part in this film.
TeenHollywood : Did you have any input into your costume and how important is that for you?
Alan: I did. With every film, really, you can have a say. I think it’s contractual, with your make-up and costume. Obviously, the costume designer, she was brilliant. I really liked the main costume, the leathery thing. I thought it was really clever and kind of weird so, yeah, it’s really important, especially for that part of the character. I got to wear that so much and feel comfortable in it. I thought it was a good way to go with the character, also the hair. It’s so creative. I find it hilarious that it’s a kids’ movie and here I am shoving my crotch out in leather. It’s very funny.

TeenHollywood: What was more difficult for you; the make-up for Nightcrawler or this?
Alan: Well, Nightcrawler was much worse because with this, when I get angry and have the big prosthetic green thing (on my head)which I hated… I only had to do that maybe five or six days. With Nightcrawler, I did it about forty times and it was like four hours and there weren’t even any prosthetics on my face. It was
just blue stuff and some tattoos. That was horrendous. Every moment of being on the set was like that. It was spraying stuff on your face. On this, when I had to be Loki they scheduled it so they could do something first in the day so I wouldn’t have to come early. On Nightcrawler, X-Men 2, I still have the call sheet. It said ‘Alan, pick-up 2:42 A.M’. (we groan) That was my earliest pick-up.
TeenHollywood: What does the green face feel like?
Alan: It’s absolutely horrible. The worst thing about it is that you’re completely enclosed and it’s like you can’t really do anything. It must be a bit what it’s like to have Botox or something because it goes right under your eyebrows and it’s really hot and I had these contact lenses and you can’t really see. You feel so corseted and weird.

TeenHollywood: Do people treat you like a freak when you are in make-up?

Alan:I learned a very interesting thing. I felt really freakish (in the Loki make-up) and the same thing with Nightcrawler, until people got used to me on the set. When new people would come on the set it would be like (staring at me intently) hello, in your face like that and you just go eww, stop it. Don’t look at me. With the green, angry Loki, I felt the same thing. Everyone wanted to look and stare at you and I felt kind of like a circus thing. Obviously, I’m an actor and I’m used to having people look at me otherwise I wouldn’t do this job but it doesn’t feel like it’s you. I actually feel like it could be anyone inside that thing. I think it was a little over-designed.
TeenHollywood: Your Son of the Mask director Larry Guterman was saying your first take was actually your best. Do you usually like to keep it down to only a few takes?
Alan: I’m just so happy to hear that. He was very incisive and made me do it millions of times and I was like ‘well, the first one was the best’. I actually quite like working fast and I’m quite instinctive and I think that if you’ve got it, there’s that thing on a movie set where you go ‘that was perfect. One more time’. Why, if it was perfect? On a movie like this that is so technical, they rely on you to just be able to churn it out because there’s so much other stuff going on they can’t be worrying about you so much. I think on this film especially, I went to kind of a Zen mode of thinking, ‘okay, I am going to have to do this a gazillion times because they haven’t decided yet what thing is going to be sticking out of your head at this moment or what size of dumpster is going to be squashing you’. It’s crazy. You have to go into a different place.
TeenHollywood: Did working on X-Men 2 help you with all the effects in this film?
Alan: Yeah, there were more in this; more of a cartoony aspect. I think, in these films, people think that you’re just in front of a bluescreen for months. You’re not really. There’s lots more there than you actually think. At the end, that big boxing ring was there and those big, huge banners with our faces on them were actually there and that was kind of fun. But I suppose (X-Men) did help. When I do a big film like this, I have a way of keeping sane.

TeenHollywood: Have you heard anything about returning to X-Men for the third movie?

Alan: Yeah. I signed for two films so I’m going to. The last I heard is we’re starting on the 20th of June but they’re nuts because there isn’t a script or director yet. So that might be pushed a little bit. But I found out they have to release it in May of 2006 for some reason. It’s going to be shot in the summer. It’s one of these things that I just want to know when I’m going to do it because it just effects your whole life. You can’t do other things because you know that’s a large lump of time. I’m going to do this show on Broadway which I moved to like January of next year just to make sure I’d finished X-Men. Stuff like that.

TeenHollywood: Do you think they’ll change your look at all?
Alan: I have some great ideas that some fabulous, crazy, terrible thing happens to him, some chemical accident and his face turns white or he dies in the first… I don’t know. (we laugh).
TeenHollywood: What is the Broadway show you’ll be doing?

Alan: “Three Penny Opera”. I play Mack the Knife.

TeenHollywood: Cool. Is this a new, reworked version?

Alan: Yeah. We did the workshop of it a few weeks just before Christmas and Wallace Shawn has written a new book and new lyrics and stuff and Scott Elliott is directing it. It’s really fun but it’s hard though. My character has a lot of singing, a lot of everything. It was really great. I think we’re starting in January of 2006.

TeenHollywood: Do you try to get a balance in your life of these costume roles and smaller films like The Anniversary Party?

Alan: I don’t plan it. It’s all a bit of a mish-mash. Things just happen. Maybe if I need to focus on something a little different, I do. Right now I’ve been working on this fragrance that’s coming out in February. I’ve finished all the sniffing for a while and now it’s all about the marketing thing.
TeenHollywood: What’s it called?
Alan: It’s called Cumming. It was originally started for men and we had this launch party and now it’s called “Beyond Gender”. Actually, it was so funny, at Sundance last week my dog was there. There’s a body wash called “Cumming Clean”.
My dog was really stinky so I washed my dog in the “Cumming Clean” stuff. It was so funny because she liked it and she smells gorgeous. Someone said, ‘Oh wow, even your dog is an advertisement for you now’. You can’t even leave your dog alone. She’s a mix of a collie and a German Shepherd.

TeenHollywood: How did you get into the fragrance market?
Alan:I’ve got these friends. One is called Christopher and he is a “nose”. He used to work for this company called Demeter which has all these different smells which I used to wear. My favorite was “Dirt”. It smells like newly-turned soil. It sounds crazy but there was one called “Leather” and “Laundromat”. He’s really a genius. And, my friend Jason used to be the creative director of Kiehl’s. They started working together and then they just sort of said ‘let’s do this’. So, the bottom line is it’s an amazing smell. It smells kind of grrrrr. It smells sexy. When girls put it on it smells different. Different bits come out. It’s interesting. It’s fascinating actually.
TeenHollywood: Back to this movie.

Alan: (laughing) Oh, my day job.
TeenHollywood: Loki plays “Twister” with the magical baby and there are hands, arms and legs everywhere. How was that done?
Alan: It’s all these stunt men and body doubles. They’re all dressed up as me so the bit where (the camera) pans along is different people. There were all these muscley Australians hanging onto my legs. My head’s way down here and my arm is over there. It was great. That’s how they did it. The baby was there one time. And another time, it’s me in a funny blue thing with all the spots on it. (motion capture suit). Then there was another stuntman holding me down so I could sit up like that (suddenly). It was kind of crazy because there were all these people dressed in blue or green holding parts of your body. It was quite strange. There are things you have to imagine like the baby’s ear is tickling you or something.
TeenHollywood: What was your most difficult or favorite scene to shoot?
Alan: My favorite thing is when, on my birthday, I had to be lying in a dumpster. I had all this crazy burnt make-up and a smashed up face and crazy clothes and I had to lie in a dumpster for a close-up just landing there. I did it a few times and the first A.D. came and said ‘Larry said, could you be more amusing?’ I said ‘of course’. It was my birthday and I’m under a banana skin or a rotten tomato.

TeenHollywood: You are really funny. Kids love you. Are you just a big kid at heart?

Alan: I suppose so, yeah. If you saw my house, you would think that.

Alan Cumming on X-Men 3

who stars as Loki in the action-comedy Son of the Mask, told ComingSoon.net that he expects to start shooting X-Men 3 this summer. Cumming played mutant Kurt Wagner (aka Nightcrawler) in director Bryan Singer's X2: X-Men United.

"I signed for two films, so I'm going to. The last I heard is that we're starting on the 20th of June, but they don't have a script or a director yet so that may be pushed a little bit. But they have to release it in May of 2006 for some reason so it's gonna be shot in the summer," Cumming said.

"And it's one of these things, I kind of just want to know I'm going to do it cause it affects your whole life. You can do other things cause you know that it's a large amount of time; I'm going to a show on Broadway which I moved to January of next year just to make sure I finished X-Men…Every film you do you have to tell them just in case they're going to get it together really fast. You're under some options; it's quite weird."

After directing the first two "X-Men" films, Singer has moved onto Superman, but Cumming is surprisingly not disappointed. "No. I'm not disappointed; I cannot deny that. I think he's really talented and I'm very proud of the film and I think it's a great film. I didn't enjoy working with him on the film."

Cumming didn't really have any suggestions for a new director though. "No. My mom? It's a really hard act to follow."

He had to go through hours of makeup to transform into Nightcrawler for the last film. "I have this brilliant idea," Cumming added, "I want some kind of fabulous, crazy, terrible thing-some terrible accident happens to Nightcrawler and his face turns white."

New Line's Son of the Mask, also starring Jamie Kennedy and Traylor Howard, opens February 18th.

Alan Cumming Talks X3

Broadway stage vet Alan Cumming is not exactly the actor you might expect to play one of the members of the legendary X-Men gang, particularly the blue-skinned Nightcrawler. After fans got over his casting and then finished making fun of his name, his performance in X2 turned out to be one of the favorite characters for many fans of the series.

Now, a few years have passed and X3 has gone through some difficult sidesteps in its road towards production. The biggest blow came when director Bryan Singer departed for a chance to direct the man of steel.

IGN FilmForce spoke with Cumming over the weekend at the press day for Son of the Mask. During the course of the interview, Cumming spoke briefly about X3.

While many cast-members have been upset over Singer's departure, Cumming says that he's not too broken up: "No. I'm not disappointed; I cannot deny that. I think he's really talented and I'm very proud of the film and I think it's a great film. I didn't enjoy working with him on the film."

While many names are currently being floated about as to Singer's replacement, Cumming has no real opinion when asked if he has suggestions for a new helmer. "No. My mom? (Laughs) It's a really hard act to follow."

Either way, Cumming says he is contracted for a second film and will be returning for part 3. "I signed for two films, so I'm going to [do another one]. The last I heard is that we're starting on the 20th of June, but they don't have a script or a director yet… So that may be pushed a little bit. But they have to release it in May of 2006 for some reason, so it's gonna be shot in the summer… It's one of these things that I sort of, I kind of just want to know I'm going to do it 'cause it affects your whole life. You can't do other things cause you know that it's a large amount of time; I'm going to a show on Broadway, which I moved to January of next year just to make sure I finished X-Men… Every film you do you have to tell them just in case they're going to get it together really fast. You're under some options. It's quite weird."

Cumming says that he found the make-up for Nightcrawler to be a pretty grueling process which he's not looking forward to going through again. "With Nightcrawler, I did it about 40 times. That was about four hours and that wasn't even prosthetics on my face, it was just blue stuff and some tattoos. So that was horrendous… It was entirely, every moment of being on the set was like that. It was strange… In X-Men 2, I still have the call sheet. It said, 'Alan Pick-up 2:42 a.m.' That was my earliest pick-up..."

While Cumming may have a few ideas to make his process less arduous, he doesn't expect much of a change in Nightcrawler's look. "No. [I have an idea] where there'd be some fabulous crazy, terrible accident happens to Nightcrawler [and] his face turns white… (Laughs)"

'Son of the Mask' Stars Jamie Kennedy and Alan Cumming to Participate in Feb. 14 Event at Children's Museum of Manhattan

New Line Cinema and Milton Bradley are teaming up to host a unique Twister Contest on Feb. 14 at 4pm at the Children's Museum of Manhattan (CMOM). The event is inspired by a memorable scene in the upcoming family comedy "Son of the Mask" in which Alan Cumming's character plays a wild game of Twister, contorting in a variety of moves with the help of the magical Mask.
"Son of the Mask" stars Jamie Kennedy and Alan Cumming will be on hand to participate in the festivities, along with children who have won promotions through the New York Post and WPLJ-FM and patrons of the Children's Museum.
In addition to hosting this special event at CMOM, New Line will donate $5,000 to the museum which will go towards CMOM's public programs, helping to make high quality entertainment and art and science workshops accessible to children of all means.

About "Son of the Mask":
A decade after the legendary Mask of Loki wreaked havoc on the life of an unsuspecting adult, the magical mask finds its way into a new home in the family comedy "Son of the Mask." When cartoonist Tim Avery's (Jamie Kennedy) new son is born with the Mask's spectacular powers - to the dismay of the family's jealous dog - it turns the household upside down and launches a kid versus canine battle for control of the Mask. But unbeknownst to them all, Loki has come looking for his mask and is willing to do whatever it takes to get it back.
Featuring incredible special effects work from the Academy Award-winning Industrial Lights and Magic team and Tippett Studio, "Son of the Mask" is directed by Lawrence Guterman ("Cats & Dogs"). The film also features a talented ensemble cast that includes Alan Cumming, Bob Hoskins, and Traylor Howard. It is scheduled for a Feb. 18 release.

Cumming Bitter About Singer

Actor ALAN CUMMING is relieved BRYAN SINGER isn't on board to direct the second sequel in the X-MEN series - because he hated working with him on X2.

The Scottish star played KURT WAGNER/NIGHTCRAWLER in the last film and has already signed up to reprise his role in X-MEN 3, which is due to begin filming in June (05).

And Cumming is looking forward to working on the sequel without Singer, who made the first two films, making his life a misery.

He snipes, "I'm not (disappointed) and I can't deny it I think he's really talented, and I'm really proud of the film - I think it's a great film - but I didn't enjoy working with him on it."


Alan Cumming's Odd New Fragrance

Scottish movie star ALAN CUMMING has been given the ultimate honour by his favourite scent maker - his very own cologne.

The gay actor's namesake scent, CUMMING, has been dreamed up by CHRISTOPHER BROSIUS (corr) as a reward for wearing the perfumer's creations for years, and the X-MEN 2 star couldn't be more delighted.

He says, "It's a rich mix of peat fire, Scotch pine, Scotch whisky and burned rubber.

"What could be better than smelling nice, feeling sexy and having a laugh."

Brosius adds, "Alan loved the smell of burning wood and rubber, like the latex from a children's party balloon."

Alan Cumming Treks Great Wall

Scottish actor ALAN CUMMING is nursing aching feet after hiking on the Great Wall Of China to raise money for charity.

The X-MEN star joined 30 other volunteers to trek 50 miles (80 kilometres) of the historic landmark over eight days and have raised $243,000 (GBP135,000) for an AIDS charity.

He enthuses, "It was amazing. If you have never gone way outside your comfort zone in an alien culture with 25 strangers before, I can thoroughly recommend it."

 

 

 

 

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