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Here, there and everywhere (david boreanaz mention)

samedi 1er juillet 2006, par Webmaster

Scottish-born actor Alan Cumming has become a master of showbiz multitasking : film, stage, TV, books, beauty products - he has done it all.

NEW YORK - Quietly, stealthily - likely while you weren’t paying attention - Alan Cumming took over show business.

You can find him on Broadway. You can see him in movies, from Spy Kids to The Anniversary Party. You can play one of his characters in a video game. He hosts a TV show and has written a book.

You can even smell like him, courtesy of a line of beauty products.

"I think I work better when I’m multitasking," he says during an interview, between bites of salad and performances of The Threepenny Opera on Broadway. "I think I focus more."

The Scottish performer seems to pop up when you least expect it - usually winking like a demented Puck.

"Some people will say, ’Oh, Alan Cumming does this and that - I don’t get it,’ or ’Why does he do that ?’ " Opera director Scott Elliot says. "But it’s not for them to get or to figure out. It’s to enjoy."

That may be a tad difficult with Cumming’s current project, a modern interpretation of a German expressionist musical that’s always irked people. In The Threepenny Opera, Cumming plays Macheath, a vicious mohawk-wearing street thug who occasionally breaks into song.

That the musical by Bertold Brecht and Kurt Weill is on Broadway stuns Cumming, 41, a product of the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama and winner of a Tony Award in 1998 for playing the master of ceremonies in Cabaret.

"It’s sort of a weird thing that you’d normally find off-off-Broadway," he says. "Broadway is now a code word for a certain type of experience. And we’re not giving that experience."

So provocative is the material that the audience is usually shell- shocked at the end of a performance. "You’re not supposed to know what to make of it," Cumming says. "You’re supposed to feel all jingled. All these songs suddenly appear for no reason, and there’s no actual narrative.

"If you came for a trip to New York and went to Tarzan last night, Beauty and the Beast tomorrow and have us in the middle, you’d absolutely be on crack. You wouldn’t know what the heck was going on."

In that way, it seems a perfect vehicle for Cumming, who has a knack for provoking theatergoers. "Pleasant is not good. I think pleasant is boring," he says. "You should have an experience. It shouldn’t just be an experience."

As serious as his theater work has been - including a revival of Noel Coward’s Design for Living and the role of a roller-skating pope in Elle - Cumming’s film career has been eclectic. That was him as a hotel desk clerk in Eyes Wide Shut, a computer nerd in GoldenEye and Saturninus in 1999’s Titus. He played opposite Gwyneth Paltrow in Emma.

Cumming also has appeared in the Spy Kids series, Son of the Mask, Spice World, Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion and X2 : X-Men United, as Nightcrawler, the demonic yet cuddly blue-skinned mutant.

"You can’t always do challenging, scary things all the time, or else you’d die," he says in his thick Highland burr. "So it’s nice to go and do some fluffy film and just have an easy time for a while.

"I call it the Hollywood Bank. When you do a big Hollywood movie - doing X-Men 2, for example, or Spy Kids or something - it’s like you make a deposit, and then when you go and do all these little, independent films, you withdraw. So now my balance is quite low."

During the Opera run, Cumming has been finishing a labor of love, a film he has directed called Suffering Man’s Charity, which co-stars David Boreanaz of TV’s Angel and Bones. It’s about a struggling writer who is murdered by an obsessed man, who then swipes his unpublished manuscript.

"I’m the obsessive weirdo - of course," Cumming says.

On TV, Cumming hosts Midnight Snack for the Sundance Channel. And though he doesn’t appear in the new X-Men movie, he did lend his voice to X-Men : The Official Game, reprising his role as Nightcrawler.

"I have a wide demographic," he says. "I have a whole kids’ following from all the Spy Kids films. I have a kind of intellectual, highbrow crowd from things like Titus and The Anniversary Party. I have a sort of theater crowd. And I have a kind of a gay thing. And sometimes they cross over. You can be in more than one section. It’s kind of fun. I like to have different people to engage with."

Need more Cumming ? Check out his semiautobiographical novel, Tommy’s Tale, about a pansexual Londoner with a fondness for all matter of sin. (Sample passage : "Charlie belonged to that lucky, lucky group of normal people who are not waiting for their lives to start.")

Then there’s the face and body product line, complete with its facetious advertising campaign that mocks both Calvin Klein ads and supermodel endorsements.

"For me, it was like a kind of art project," he says of the original idea for a fragrance. "The bottom line is it is something that I liked and would wear and would willingly endorse, but also I can subvert the whole thing of celebrity endorsements at the same time. I just thought that was the funniest thing."


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