A weekend's worth of independent days' Ask Alan

From Claire re my post a few weeks ago about the extras on The RunawayI used to madly love Wim Wenders' Wings of Desire. Your post about extras somehow reminded me of the scene in which Peter Falk -as himself (almost)- watches the extras and says "these people are extras - they are extra people" and begins to sketch them.  How funny you should mention Wings of Desire. I love that film and was thiking of watching it again soon. Bruno Ganz, the angel in the film was in my first feature film,Prague.

From Stephane: Do you speak french ? Mais bein sur!  Je suis Ecossais et j'ai appri le francais a l'ecole.  Aussi, j'ai tourne des films avec des franciais et une copine de moi etait une mannequin a Paris donc j'ai parle beacoup avec elle.

Stacey writes: It seems to have been ages since you finished filming The Tempest - is there a UK release date yet and/or will it be making an appearance at the London Film Festival in the autumn? I don't know about the London film festival but I have heard that it is set to be released, in the US at least, in early December.

Kathy asks: what is it like being so well known? do you even have a private life? It's weird, obviously.  I never thought I would be in a restaurant in Singapore for example, and be asked to have a photo taken with people who know my work.  You just have to live with an extraordinary level of self-consciousness. But I do have a private life I think. I have great friends and I have been at this for long enough so that I have formed a way to have my own life that is not only about Alan Cumming.

Cat says: Here is my really dumb question because I can't remember even though I know you said it in your blog: What is the name of the movie in which you play Desrae? When will it be on DVD in America?  Wow, that is so dumb. Only kidding. It is a mini-series for Sky Tv and is calledThe Runaway and will be broadcast in the UK early next year.  As for elsewhere and a DVD release date, I know not young Cat.

Michelle from Chicago asks: I was wondering whether having been involved in acting and filmmaking has affected your ability to sit back and be entertained, yourself.  I'm not sure "suspension of disbelief" is the right term here, but it's a similar concept.  Do you find yourself taking note of how something's been done, and perhaps how you might have done it differently?  Do you see others' performances and feel the itch to be involved in them yourself?  Or are you able to turn off that portion of your mind and just enjoy? That's an interesting question.  I tend to find that I am able to totally let go and enjoy the experience of something unless a) I am with a crowd of industry types who tend to prattle on about whatever it is in a worky way and not an emotional way and b) if I know people in the film.  When these things happen it doesn't mean that I can't enjoy, but I sort of have to make a mental adjustment to suspend my disbelief.  I never think of how I would have done things differently, or that I want to be involved, but I sometimes notice things like locations I have been in, or continuity issues or little tricks of the trade.  But I get over it!!  There are more difficult things in life to deal with!

Jane asks: You have Honey and Leon now, but what other pets have you had, and what were their names? When I was a little boy I had tow West Highland terriers called Shona and Kerry. I also had a pet lamb called Jimmy, and have had goldfish and a dove whose names I can't remember.

Alex from Coatbridge: I'm looking for tips for creating the character Emcee from Cabaret, I am currently devising a one man cabaret piece and wondered what you done to create the character when you done it with the revival broadway cast? I just thought of who this person really was and what his life must have been like and, in conjunction with the mood and aesthetic of the show, I tried to make him of that time.  Basically I thought of him as a glorified rent boy who had worked his way up, and the Kit Kat club was basically a bit of a sex club with some songs.
Good luck with your show!

i feel so horrible now! i've missed about a months worth of blogging and im literally on my knees begging you to give me a recap because i dont have internet up right now. please cpould you recap for me!?????? oh.... and please dont smite me that mite hurt just a tad. Don't fret. There is no smite here. You can go to the archive at the bottom of this page and see everything from all time!!

You were in my dream last night wearing some very tight black dress and a boa before a show you were in, and when I ran up to you begging for an autograph, you scowled at me. I woke up and was sad. Haha so question time: do you ever get swarmed for autographs and do you ever say no?  I only say no when I am wearing very tight black dresses and boas and getting ready for a show.  haha.  I would say the only swarming happens at things like premieres or events or at stage doors or places where people know you're going to be and maybe they've been waiting for a while so they get a bit excited. It's not a daily occurence.

You are wildly photogenic and have the sexiest accent of any man i've ever heard.  please clone yourself and send me a copy. thanks!  But then you wouldn't think me special any more. you are so beautiful, really stunning.  do you think there is an element of narcissism in some people being homosexual?  do you see this in yourself?  I kind of find the notion that being into the same sex as yourself is a narcissistic thing rather offensive.  I mean, I think if we love ourselves and think of ourselves as sexy then it makes sense that we might find other people who look and are similar to us attractive, but I think that applies to everyone, regardless of gender or sexual orientation, and I definitely don't think that homosexuality hinges on it. And I think the most narcissistic thing I have done in a long time is post your comments about me!!!  Thanks though.

Kat from Oz writes: Love love love The Good Wife - been googling the future storyline (we haven't finished the first season in Australia) and came across your blog. I've never blogged a celebrity before but I have to say I'm interested to see the gay and lesbian activitism you do. Society is too uptight and should refrain from butting-into individual's lives. With trepidation my ex-boyfriend came out and told me he was bi-sexual, but he was surprised when I didn't see anything wrong. The relationship while it lasted wasn't the most conventional by society's standards but who are the prudes to judge, they should get out more. Anyway, I see you can sing as well so I'm off to YouTube to do a search. I also think Alicia should end up with Will because from watching the show he's looks like the more masterly kisser. So who cares if it makes Mr Gold's job harder, dammit Alicia answer the phone !!!!  Well said, Kat! Thanks for writing.  I will ask Julianna when we start back on Season two in a few weeks who is the best kisser!!

Jeremy has this to say: How have you resisted the Twitter bug? I have my tickets for The Castro. Looking forward to it. Did I see you at a dentist office in SF a while, well over a year, ago? I remember the voice and brogue and thinking, "There goes trouble, Oh, it's Alan Cumming."  Haha. First of all, yes, I have resisted twitter. I think it encourages people to talk about their experiences rather than to actually experience them. I think twitter is like people who take a video camera on a roller coaster ride.  I hate it. And no I don't think I was ever in a dentist's office in SF.  Come to think of it, I may have been in a doctor's office in SF, but definitely not a dentist's. But thanks, I like sounding like trouble.

Alan Cumming, you are a hoot!  I live in South Carolina and that is a very common expression here for combining funny, poignant, goofy and perplexing.  And you are all those things at 6:00 am in China.  Damn nice looking, too.  Do you enjoy the world traveling or does it get "old" when you are working?  Will you have time to sightsee a bit?  I'm fairly new to the blog so 'scuse if this a redundant question.  You are a bold and brave soul to do this blog, but I have a ball watching the videos, although I sometimes feel as if I'm reading your personal diary.  I shall continue to do so with great relish.  I always thought 'hoot' was a Scottish word!  Thanks for your kind thoughts about me me in my undies. I do indeed enjoy traversing the globe but oh, it does get old too. Everything in moderation though, including moderation.  I have been traveling a bit too much recently and I am looking forward to some home time.  And re the personal diary: yes, that is what this blog set out to be. I wanted to get back into writing every day, I wanted to be able to be in contact with people (but at a distance) and so I suppose it is a personal diary that I am leaving open for you to see.  

From Joel: Alan, I'm desperately wondering how your campaign with Francis Hills is going! I am so excited about the possibilities, and I hope you've had some success with well-known peeps standing up for the rights of all healthy humans to not have valuable parts of their genitals cut off without their consent.  Please give us an update on how that is going!  Joel is referring to the photo project that my friend, photographer Francis Hills, and I have been trying to get off the ground to benefit Intact America and its UK counterpart Norm-UK.  We have been asking celebrities to be photographed wearing this sweater that you see me wearing for a book of pictures that would raise money and awareness for these organisations that are trying to turn back the tide of unthinking and unnneccesary genital mutilation of little boys. Welll, I have to say it's been a little difficult.  We have found some resistance in dealing with people's publicists about allowing their clients to be attached to something they percieve as so edgy and outlandish. I find that rather depressing, but it only reiterates the head in the sand policy that most people have about the issue altogether.  So we are going to try and approach people personally and try and do it more gradually, building up a portfolio and being able to show it to the next person we approach, then hopefully that volume will calm the industry types who are a little jittery about dealing with anything in the underpant department.  We'll keep you posted.

Hi Alan, I am intrigued by your last few blog entries.  Are you still filming WDYTYA or are your travels in search of family your own?  Also are you allowed to reveal if the painting of the 9th(?) Earl of Cawdor you showed is connected to the programme's revelations?  I was filming for Who Do You Think You Are, but as for anythign else about the show, as my Mum said when I was trying to squeeze information about it out of her, I am not at liberty to say.

Tina says: I'm just about to watch "Suffering Mans Charity" so i thought id research it first. I read that you are the director and main character. Is it hard doing 2 completely different roles at once in the production of a film like this? Or would you rather have more input on your films? Sometimes I think a certan role sort of makes it easier for you to be the director.  John in Ghost Writer/Suffering Man's Charity is so much the center and aesthetic of the film that it makes sense for the person playing him to also be directing.  Just as it made sense for Jennfier Jason Leigh and I to be directors of The Anniversary Party. I think you just do what you've taken on to do.  I don't go around wishing I was the director when I am acting in something, but when I am directing and acting I just have more to do, more control over the entire look and feel of the film.  I sort of think it's all just the same thing, but you have more strings to your bow. And I enjoy acting when I am directing because a) I am much more prepared than I ever would be as an actor and b) there is so much more to think about than just my character and so c) acting is the last thing I am worried about and so I feel I do it better, and I like that. I think it should be done wihtout lots of obsessing. Suffering Man's Charity (it's now called Ghost Writer) actually was very, very difficult to do for a variety of reasons and has kind of burnt me. I haven't had the desire or the courage to get involved with directing a feature since.  I just had too much of the crazy.  I have done lots of little videos and commercials and films but until I find something that I think I must direct, I am going to hold off.