Instinct Web Exclusive Interview: Alan Cumming Revealed
You think you know Alan Cumming but you have no idea. The former 'Bond boy', now Eli Gold from The Good Wife, dives into the deep end and dishes about everything from his love life and what makes him tick behind closed doors to the inside scoop on his upcoming projects in 2014. Prepare for Alan Cumming—revealed in this Instinct web exclusive interview.
First off, I have to tell you, you're basically the new Victor Garber, delving into both stage and screen. Tell us what you're currently working on and what's coming up for you?
ALAN: The new Victor Garber? I’ll take it! [Smiles] I am back on The Good Wife and I am doing that until the end of March 2014. I'm also writing a book, or finishing a memoir, rather, about some stuff that happened to me a few summers ago surrounding my father and my grandfather—quite intense! I recently went to London to promote Any Day Now, a movie I did last year... and I'm also doing Cabaret on Broadway again in April of next year. Rehearsals begin in January. So, I'm busy! But I'm excited to go back and play a character on Broadway after so many years since I first played it when I was only 28. Now I'm 48, and I think older and wiser.
Many people may not realize since you play Eli Gold, an American, on The Good Wife, that you are actually Scottish.
ALAN: Exactly, and it's true. People can’t get over it!
Going back to Broadway, it's public knowledge that you work with and support Broadway Cares/Equity Fights Aids. Are there other organizations that are important to you that you also work with?
ALAN: Absolutely. Gay rights and gay youth like the Ali Forney Center and the Trevor Project. I also support AMFar and I am planning a trip to Toronto to do a project for them. There's also a thing called Intact America which is all about trying to stop random circumcision in America. I think circumcision is a terrible thing. I am also an Ambassador for IGLHRC, the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission, an amazing organization that is a watchdog for human rights abuses against gay people all over the world. As we know this is on the rise obviously with countries in Africa, Uganda and of course now with the whole Russian thing. And I also work with Cyndi Lauper on her True Colors Foundation. All very important causes.
Let's go a little deeper on the topic of rights and equality. I know you are married. With several states in the U.S. allowing same sex couples to marry, do you think we truly have equality?
ALAN: Yes, I am married. But, no—not at all is there equality. What I think is great about marriage for gay people, other then having those rights, is the ritual that we now have that includes everyone—your family and friends and all the people you love most in the world who get to come together to celebrate your relationship. We have never had that before … I think that it's really an amazing thing. For me, I really felt that at our wedding. I have also been married before to a woman. But it struck me when I got married to Grant, how great it is to be able to do this with all of our family. We first got married in London and then here in New York on our 5th wedding anniversary. I think we have a long way to go even though great strides have been made. Until all the laws are equal, we can’t blame people for being prejudiced if the law of the land does not fight that prejudice.
Let's switch gears and dish a little. Tell me three things about you that no one knows ... but will now.
ALAN: Let's see ... I'm really good at cooking for large numbers, I was once a model for Lee Jeans, and—believe it or not—I have been stranded on a deserted island. [Long pause]
That’s a story we definitely want to hear! I guess that's another interview though?
ALAN: YES! [Smiling]
Who is your favorite female idol, living or deceased?
ALAN: Oh delicious! [Said as he bites into a cupcake] I guess it would be Meryl Streep—it just doesn’t get any better. She is such an amazing person. She has a lightness in the sense that she doesn’t take the business of 'show business' too seriously.
Have you worked with her or would you like to in the future?
ALAN: I actually did a poetry reading with her once where I did the male part, so I have worked with her, but not really. I just really like her and I think she is super sexy. Also, another woman that I think is incredible is Juliette Binoche, a French actress (and star of Chocolat), as she is absolutely amazing. When I first saw her she was in The Unbearable Lightness of Being. She's another one with a unique and special lightness.
What about a male idol?
ALAN: That’s a harder question—I don’t know! I suppose it would be someone like Charlie Chaplin. I think he is fascinating ... so much darkness and a happy go lucky fella. I like that and I think that‘s very important as an actor.
Sitting here looking at you, I have to ask, how do you look so young? Do you have an exercise routine, do you work out, any special foods you eat?
ALAN: Thanks! I'm vegan, so that definitely helps. I do exercise a lot and I sweat a lot. I always drink water and with every alcoholic drink I always have a glass of water in the other hand. I'm very conscious of how my body works and making sure everything is working well together. I moisturize, and again, being vegan I am very conscious of what goes into my body.
Being an actor, aging must be a challenge. Are you afraid of aging?
ALAN: Actually, no. I really feel better being vegan and exercising. I'm not scared of getting older—I kinda like it, in fact.
You said that you moisturize. Do you also manscape?
ALAN: I do a little but I would never go somewhere to be manscaped! I do a little downstairs just around the shaft. I like to look like a man. I think it’s a dangerous trend to shave the entire body.
Alright, that brings us to underwear. The magazine just shot their underwear editorial and our readers may be curious as to what type you wear?
ALAN: Well, I don’t wear boxers … I need support! I don’t like things dangling around. I wear a jock strap usually on stage. Typically, I must admit, I don’t wear anything. When I do, I wear briefs or actually a jock strap because I just like the way it feels.
We're on a roll here! What is one of your sexual fantasies?
ALAN: Haha! [Laughs] Give me an example!
Sex in a moving vehicle?
ALAN: Yes. I have done that. [Grin]
Alright. Sex with a uniformed official?
ALAN: I like that too! Actually, I like everything. However, when I look at porn—and I do, we all do—I'm not into that whole fisting thing or when you put the metal rod in the hole of the penis. Ouch! Role play is great and I love watching all types of porn. I have a healthy sexual appetite and a healthy imagination. I still define myself as a bisexual even though I have chosen to be with Grant. I’m sexually attracted to the female form even though I am with a man and I just feel that bisexuals have a bad rap.
Well done navigating the hot seat! A cooler question ... what do you do to relax?
ALAN: Mostly I go out with friends to have a drink and a chat. When I really want to relax, I also have a place up in the Catskills in the middle of nowhere with rolling hills … it’s so quiet and peaceful. I can walk around naked if I want to and it’s something that reminds me a lot of how I grew up.
Any books you're currently reading or have read recently?
ALAN: Oh yes. Maggie and Me, a novel about a Scottish lad coming of age when Margaret Thatcher is coming into power as Prime Minister. The other book is Your Cat is Dead. But I don’t read too much as I have so much to read for work—emails almost every night with scripts or projects to consider.
Before we wrap up here, is there anything else you want the Instinct readers to know or a final message to leave them with?
ALAN: Yes. Enjoy and celebrate life. Just keep being yourself—for that is the most important thing about you.
Catch Alan in action Sundays on CBS in The Good Wife, 9/8c