We had the chance to chat wit Alan Cumming bout his recent film Any Day Now, a true-to-life story about a gay couple in the 70s who take on the courts as they try to adopt a mentally disabled boy. The legal and social stickiness are not only more relevant then ever but they also seem like they could be lifted from Cumming's other project, the Emmy-winning TV serie The Good Wife. Read on to see what the busy Brit has to say about his new role, what would happen if he adopted Taylor Swift and what's been his favorite moment on stage.
What attracted you to Any Day Now?
Stories from the past help us connect to the present and I thought [the film's themes of] lack of fairness and goodness that tore a beautiful family unit apart might open some eyes.
Did you like the way you looked in a dress?
I always cringe when I see that bit of me in drag -- I feel like it's amateur hour. Early on I played a transgender, which I liked better because I became a woman instead of a man pretending to be a woman. Those dresses and heels feel like constant S & M bondage, all wrapped up with itchy boobs. And forget about getting out of a car, no wonder women are flashing their things.
Which young celebrity would you like to adopt and take care of?
So many people I'd like to name but shouldn't... Hmmm, little Taylor Swift. I would keep her well-fed in a room away from her guitar and most importantly away from boys.
Your relationship with Isaac felt authentic; did you get to know him prior to filming?
I was working o The Good Wife right until shooting, so I actually met Isaac shortly before we began. He sang me a song, told me the plot o High School Musical nd then [we] instantly hit it off. Being thrown into meeting each other echoed the film and felt like a real-life family sitting down together for the first time, which worked perfectl
Do you have any fancy acting processes?
Process? I'm not a slice of cheese. Keep acting simple -- it can be difficult if you don't know how to do it. When people practice character acting and go around pretending to be their role 24/7, it's rather selfish and makes everyone feel uncomfortable. I'll be sitting at a table and someone will come up to ask me a question and then say, "Oh sorry I didn't mean to interrupt your process," and I'll reply, "I'm only having a cup a tea."
What tea do you sip?
Darjeeling, if I had my rather.
Was there a lot of prepping for the role?
Really only losing a little weight. I had to fit into the gay world in the 70's -- all pretty skinny pre-gym blokes that didn't eat all the processed sugary foods offered today.
You tweet a lot about food -- what makes you lose your appetite?
Drugs -- wait I can't say that. When people are mean to waiters and when politics are discussed at dinner disrespectfully. I was at thi W agazine event having a wonderful time with Iris Apfel and then we spoke of politics. She didn't like my responses, so she asked me to "drop it" and I replied, "But Iris, you brought it up." Within a few moments she was back on the subject, and lets just say she's not a big fan of Obama and I am.
Speaking of politics, what do you think motivates your character Eli o The Good Wife?
The show is so well-written [and] honestly I just respond to the script. Unlike movies, you never know what going to happen because there is no ending. Someone once said, "Politics is the show business for the ugly" and I'd add "and just a little more sexually charged."
Has being openly gay hurt or helped your career?
It's kinda difficult to say if my sexuality has hindered my career, though you never know. But as a person, people seem to like me for being who I am. If you're gay in Hollywood it's only a big deal because we make it a big deal. Over in London, if you come out, it's "blah blah, who cares?" Honestly, going on about [who's gay] keeps that stuff alive. I think we should talk less about it.
You were at the President's inauguration; do you think there's hope for gay marriage?
I was first married in London where civil partnership has been legal for quite some time and last year on our anniversary we got married again in New York. I'm very active in the fight and I'm fed up with it being an issue. You can't blame people for not treating others equally and respectful when there are no laws in place to protect us. I don't like feeling grateful for my rights and I'm very hopeful that Obama's second term will implement more change.
What's one of your fondest moments on stage?
Well, performing with Liza Minnelli on Fire Island has got to be one of the gayest days in the history of the world, and it was so fab we are going to be doing it again in March.