Scottish Actor Alan Cummings was busy in the Hamptons for the Hamptons International Film Festival where he participated in the conversation with series, hosted the Golden Starfish awards and promoted his new film "Any Day Now
". He sat down with Hamptons.com at the Maidstone
to have a spot of tea and discuss the memoir he is writing, his choices in acting and of course his new film "Any Day Now".
In "Any Day Now" Cumming plays Rudy, an aspiring singer and part-time drag queen in 1970s Los Angeles. He and his partner take in their teenage neighbor with Down syndrome, Marco, who is abandoned by his drug-addicted mother. Cummings said about the movie which comes out in December, "This is one of the things that I am most proud of in my career". He continued, "It's a great role, with a great story, and I get to sing it in but bring your hankies, it's really intense." Cumming is partial to the film because it is about a cause and an issue, stating, "As an activist I feel like it's a great thing to be telling this story, it's kind of like the perfect storm where everything came together."
After seeing the film which used to be called "Families", Cumming wants people to come away thinking, "Families can come in different shapes and sizes and different genders, the most important thing is making the child feel safe and secure." He went on to say, "Whatever that version of the family is, that should be respected, there is a political and social message that I hope people come away with."
Alan finds a couple who invested in "Any Day Now" incredibly inspiring. The same sex couple sued the state of Florida to allow them to officially adopt the kids they had been fostering for many years and won the case. Cumming believes that they saw something similar in the film to their story and said they were on the set a lot with the kids.
To prepare for the role he decided he wanted to loose a lot of weight, saying "I looked at all these photos from the 70's and everybody was skinnier. I guess because it was before processed food was so prevalent and because everyone smoked." But that wasn't the only thing Cumming changed for his part in the movie, Cumming joked (in a heavy Queens accent), "I'm from Queens in the movie, so I talked like this, and his name was Rudy Donatello, so I had to do some work on my accent."
Cumming was involved with the film early on, he was able to see an early draft of the film, was able talk to Travis Fine
the writer and director and was involved with the film as it was on going. Cumming thought, "In a way that was my preparation, becoming immersed in the story and characters." He was a little nervous about how the film would turn out with the subject matter including his character in drag and his neighbor with learning disabilities, but said, "Every step of the way
the clichés were missed."
When asked what the proudest moment of his career Cumming replied, "I'm really proud of this out of all the films I've done." He also said, "The last film that I did "Sweet Land", I was really proud of that because it was a beautiful film, I was a producer on that and we made it for like 26 cents."
"The Anniversary Party" which he directed, wrote, produced and acted in with Jennifer Jason Leigh
was also a proud career moment for Cumming. He stated, "I felt very invested in those films because I wasn't just acting in them." He continued, "But this one even though I am just acting I feel very invested, I think personally it speaks to me. But really the thing I am most proud of is I am still here and that I stuck to my guns, I am who I am and I do what I want, I haven't changed."
Cumming feels lucky that he can do something mainstream like appearing on "The Good Wife
" and also be able to go off and do his what he calls "weird art projects" and he also loves photography. He mused, "I feel proud of and am very lucky I am able to have many identities and I think I have been able to do that by not compromising on any of them. I say what I like, get into trouble sometimes. I am my own man."
When asked whether preferred playing oddball characters, Cumming responded, "I like to go back and fourth and I think none of them really work without the other." For him it's part of a balancing act, stating, "I think part of the reason people like Eli on "The Good Wife" is that they know it's me and they have a history with me." He thinks, "The audience isn't just looking at a character, they are looking at a character played by you and they are used to seeing you in other ways."
Cumming said recently he and co-star Juliana Margulies
were laughing at how Cumming spent his three summer holidays from "The Good Wife". For his first holiday he went to South Africa and played a transvestite for a mini series, the second he filmed "Any Day Now" and the past one he played Macbeth
in a one man version. Cumming joked, "I always run screaming for the Good Wife to do the most extreme thing I can think of, I think I need the extremes."
When asked if there is anything he was itching to do, Cumming replied, "I'm not an itcher, interesting things just fall on my lap or come to me and I am open to things." Macbeth was something Cumming wanted to do but said, "I didn't quite mean for it to come out as weird as it did where I would play all the parts, that wasn't my intention initially but it just happened that way."
At the moment there is no role he is really dying to play but said, "I have a lot of ideas, sometimes too many ideas." Cumming who is vegan would like to create a cookbook with vegan food that includes easy party dishes and top foods to have in your fridge to be a healthy vegan without worry. Cumming said, "My friends come up to my house in the country and are always amazing how I rustle up food for 15 people easily." He doesn't have plans to write the cookbook, but who knows what the future will bring.
Currently Cumming is writing a memoir based off his experience two summers ago when he participated in the genealogy show "Who Do You Think You Are". The experience was eye opening for Cumming saying "I had this summer of like what the fuck, I find out all this crazy stuff about my grandfather like he died in Malaysia playing Russian roulette and at the same time I find out some things about my actual father because he came and told me some things. So the memoir is about that summer, my childhood and crazy shit." After hearing that, personally I can't wait to read Cumming's memoir.
So be on the look out for his memoir and catch Cumming on "The Good Wife" Sundays at 9 p.m. on CBS
and in December in "Any Day Now".
To watch a conversation with Alan Cumming
at the Hamptons International Film Festival visit: hamptonsfilmfest.org