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Alan Cumming Explains How His Gay Adoption Drama 'Any Day Now' Involved Bette Midler, His Love for Scotland and Voting for Obama

Photo of Nigel M Smith By Nigel M Smith | Indiewire December 12, 2012 at 11:40AM

Alan Cumming, the Scottish stage and screen star best known to audiences as a scene-stealing supporting player (he's appeared in everything from the "Spy Kids" franchise to Cher's latest vehicle "Burlesque" and the hit CBS TV series "The Good Wife"), takes center stage in "Any Day Now," a powerful indie that's won 10 audience awards on the festival circuit, including in Seattle and Chicago.
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"Any Day Now"
Music Box Films "Any Day Now"

Things have moved forward on the gay adoption front in the U.S., but the fight still has a very long way to go. In your home country of Scotland, however, since 2008 it’s been legal for homosexuals to adopt, countrywide. Have factors like that ever made you want to move back?

No. I voted in this election for the first time, and I’m very excited about the next four years, in terms of what could happen in this country. Obviously, there are things about it that I find annoying, and I think we need to not simply be complacent, but bizarrely – even though I don’t live there – I’m much more connected to my country now than I was ten years ago. I think it’s because I went back about six or seven years ago and I did a play with the National Theatre of Scotland. Since then, I’ve been going back a lot more and doing various documentaries and things, and sort of becoming involved in the political thing that’s independence. I think, in a way, when you’re away from where you’re from, you understand what your country has contributed to who you are, as a person. You see that more clearly when you’re away.

The whole political situation in Scotland is very exciting right now. It’s hard for me, even now, to get my credit card out at the dentist without feeling horrible. It’s like, “What? You have to pay for your dentist?” Even the other day, my friend Alan who’s staying with me, my oldest friend from school, was saying, “What is this ‘Adopt a Highway’ thing?” And I said, “Basically, it’s getting Commerce to do things that the Government should normally want to do.” It is. The political priorities in Scotland are much more up my street, but I like it here.

"I’m much more connected to my country now than I was ten years ago."

Did you take on the role mainly because Rudy was a great character to play, or because you wanted to bring awareness to his battle?

It was kind of great, because the story was a powerful thing about something I really feel we can’t be complacent about. We’ve got to keep telling these stories. I think that’s why it connects so much with people – it’s won all of these audience awards. OutFest was the only gay film festival where it won, the rest were just regular film festivals. I think people connect with the fact that this horrible, sad situation occurs; these people want to give their love, and they’re obviously really good for this boy, and he’s really good for them. And that’s not allowed to happen just because of prejudice that still exists. We’re all complicit in it because we’re a part of the society that makes it. I thought it’s good to say, “Here, this is going on; it was going on then, and it’s still going on.” I really responded to that. And it’s a pretty fantastic part; you don’t come along those big parts very often. It was mostly the story that I connected to, initially, and what it could hopefully do.

Your adopted son in the movie, played by Isaac, delivers a rather astonishing performance. How was working opposite him?

It was lovely. He was so excited to be in this movie; it was a dream come true for him, to be in any movie. He was just a really great spirit to have around. It was fucking hard, and we worked really, really long hours. It was made for very little money, and that comes with certain annoyances and stress. To have him there, he was just this light. It was really lovely, actually. It reminded me of what acting is all about – like I said, it should be about playing. When he was happy, he would literally be jumping up and down. When he was sad, he would weep. I loved that -- that purity. It was very refreshing for me. He is such a nice boy. We were in the middle of this night shoot one time, everything was going wrong and there were delays, and he said: “I can’t wait for the Oscars.” And I go, “Oh. Oh yeah, me too, Isaac.” And he went, “I’m going to thank Travis… and I’m going to thank” -- and he pointed at me -- “what’s your name, again?”

Was he kidding?



No, he wasn’t kidding.

This article is related to: Alan Cumming, Any Day Now, Interviews






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