Top 10 Alan Cumming Movies

January 27 16:08 2014

Alan Cumming was born in Aberfeldy, Scotland. His family lived nearby in Dunkeld, where his father, Alex, was a forester for Atholl Estate. Cumming along with his older brother Tom, his mother, Mary and Alex moved to the east coast of Scotland in 1969, where Alex took up the position of Head Forester of Panmure Estate and it was here Cumming grew up. Cumming began appearing in plays when he attended the Monikie Primary School and Carnoustie High Schools where he began working with the Carnoustie Theatre Club and Carnoustie Musical Society. In 1981 he left high school with exceptional grades, but because he was too young to enter any university or drama school he worked for just over a year as a sub-editor at D.C. Thomson Publishers in Dundee. In September 1982, he began a three-year course at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama in Glasgow. He graduated in 1985 with a B.A. in Dramatic Studies and won awards for verse speaking and direction. He also formed a double Cabaret act with a fellow student, which went on to become hugely successful with a month-long engagement at the Sydney Opera House as part of an Australian tour. Cumming’s Hollywood film debut came in 1991 when he starred opposite Minnie Driver and Chris O’Donnell in the romantic dramedyCircle of Friends. He followed that up with 1995’s GoldenEye, the 17th James Bond movie starring opposite the newest Bond, Pierce Brosnan and the 1996 romantic comedy Emma alongside Gwyneth Paltrow. With these roles, Cumming gained the attention of Hollywood producers and they quickly cast him in a number of Hollywood films like 1997’s Romy and Michelle’s High School Reunion and 1997’s Buddy. In 1998, he reprised his role in Cabaret on Broadway and won a Tony, Drama Desk, Outer Critics’ Circle, Theatre World, FANY, New York Press and New York Public Advocate’s awards for his performance. Cumming’s other films include the Spy Kids trilogy, and 2003’s X-Men 2 just to name a few. In honor of his 48th birthday, here is a list of Alan Cumming movies.

10. Circle of Friends: This 1995 romantic dramedy was based on the novel of the same name written by Maeve Binchy. This was Cumming’s first Hollywood film and he co-starred with Minnie Driver and Chris O’Donnell. Set in 1950s Ireland, Cumming played Sean Walsh, a creepy character who attempts to rape Driver’s character, Benny, but doesn’t succeed. Not the most flattering role for your US silver screen debut, but Cumming stood out nevertheless.

9. Spice World: This 1997 British/American musical comedy starred the best-selling pop group at the time, The Spice Girls. It had many similarities to The Beatles’ A Hard Day’s Night, which depicted fictional events leading up a major concert for the band. Cumming played film director Piers Cuthbertson-Smyth, who stalks the girls hoping to use them as documentary subjects. The film was light-hearted and an obvious publicity vehicle for the group. Cumming shined as a devious man trying to exploit the fun-loving ladies for his own gain. Thought it received mainly negative reviews, Cumming’s performance was a bright spot.

8. Spy Kids: Written and directed by Robert Rodriguez, this 2001 family sci-fi adventure flick had Cumming starring opposite some top Hollywood brass like Antonio Banderas, Carla Gugino, Teri Hatcher, Danny Trejo, Cheech Marin, Robert Patrick and Tony Shalhoub. Cumming starred as Fegan Floop, the star of a children’s television show, who was really a mad scientist building legions of robots he wanted to use to take over the world. Cumming’s jaunty wit played off his dastardly dialogue so well that some moviegoers may have forgotten he was a villain in the first place.

7. Josie and the Pussycats: This 2001 musical comedy was loosely based upon the Archie comic of the same name, as well as the Hanna-Barbera cartoon. Cumming starred opposite Rachael Leigh Cook, Tara Reid, and Rosario Dawson, Parker Posey and Gabriel Mann. Cumming played Wyatt Frame, a manipulative record executive at the major record label MegaRecords, who manages young bands. Along with MegaRecords CEO Fiona (Posey,) have an arrangement with the United States government to get teens to buy their records and follow by putting subliminal messages under the music. Cumming’s interpretation of a crafty, under-handed record exec is incredibly campy and he delivers wry humor amidst a chaotic yet spirited “friends forever” movie.

6. The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas: This 2000 family-oriented romantic comedy was based on the 1960s cartoon series of the same name and was a prequel to 1994’s The Flintstones, which starred John Goodman, Elizabeth Perkins, Rosie O’Donnell and Rick Moranis. Set before the Flintstones and Rubbles were married and had kids and the events of the first film, it featured none of the original cast. Cumming played an alien named The Great Gazoo, who offers to help a young Fred and Barney find women to date.

5. Burlesque: Cumming had a very small role in this 2010 musical romantic drama. Cumming played Alexis, a performer at the Burlesque Lounge. Though he had really one performing scene, his brash nature made his performance stand out amongst Christina Aguilera and Cher’s talented exhibitions.

4. X-Men 2: This 2003 superhero film was based on the fictional characters, the X-Men. Directed by Bryan Singer, it was the second film in the X-Men film franchise. Cumming starred opposite Patrick Stewart, Hugh Jackman, Ian McKellen, Famke Janssen, Anna Paquin, Shawn Ashmore, Aaron Stanford, Brian Cox, Rebecca Romijn-Stamos, James Marsden, Halle Berry and Kelly Hu. Cumming played Kurt Wagner or “The Nightcrawler,” who could teleport from place to place in an instant. Cumming brought his unique acting style and toned down his usual over-the-top antics making him one X-Men character fans aren’t sure to forget!!

3. Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion: This 1997 comedy had Cumming starring opposite Mira Sorvino and Lisa Kudrow. Cumming starred as Sandy Frink, who adored Kudrow’s character, Michelle, all through high school despite her shooting him down repeatedly. Cumming went for the subtle approach as he played the mousy nerd in high school but the more confident billionaire at the fateful reunion. He made the character unforgettable especially during the end dance scene at the reunion with Kudrow and Sorvino.

2. Emma: This 1996 romantic comedy based on the novel of the same name by Jane Austen had Cumming starring opposite Gwyneth Paltrow, Jeremy Northam, Toni Colette, Ewan McGregor and Greta Scacchi. Cumming played Mr. Elton, who Emma Woodhouse (Paltrow) was trying to fix up with her friend Ms. Harriett Smith (Colette.) Unfortunately, Mr. Elton only had eyes for Emma and felt Ms. Smith was beneath him in social status. Cumming played this period character perfectly bringing the needed haughty attitude to pull off a character who thought very highly of himself.

1. GoldenEye: Cumming really stood out in this 17th James Bond movie filled with intrigue, secrets and betrayals and it was the first film in the series not to take story elements from the works of novelist Ian Fleming. Cumming starred opposite the latest James Bond, Pierce Brosnan along with Sean Bean, Izabella Scorupco, Famke Janssen, Joe Don Baker and Judi Dench. Cumming played Boris Grishenko, a computer programmer secretly aligned with Bond’s enemy/ex-MI6 agent friend Alec Trevelyan (Bean.) Cumming’s distinctive acting style made Boris stand out against the other enemy flunkies in the movie and made me kind of like him despite his aligning with the enemy to destroy London.

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Sari N. Kent
Sari N. Kent

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