Sweet Land is the story of a young German woman who is sent from Scandanavia to Minnesota in 1920 as a mail order bride. The film flashes forward to the present to throw light on the love story from the past.
It was directed by my friend Ali Selim and also stars Tim Guinee, Elizabeth Reiser, Alex Kingston, Ned Beatty and Lois Smith. I love this film. I love its pace and its heart. I love that it is undefinable. It is a simple tale about love and home, something everyone can relate to, but it is also a sweeping big story about a side of America we rarely see, especially in a low-budget independent film.
I also get to play a Minnesotan farmer with nine children. That was a first!
The film was shot in Minnesota in 2004 and premiered at the Hamptons Film Festival in October 2005, going on to be screened at many film festivals across America and Europe, before being released in the US in 2006. I was one of the producers of the film, and we won a 2007 Independent Spirit Award for Best first feature. The film was included in Leonard Maltin's 151 Best Movies You've Never Seen.
Neverwas was a really great script written and directed by Josh Stern. It's the story of Zach (played by Aaron Eckhart), a young doctor who gets a job at the mental hospital where his father was once a patient. There he meets Gabriel, played by Ian McKellen, a patient at the hospital who has a mysterious knowledge of Josh and his past. The film also stars Jessica Lange, Brittany Murphy, Nick Nolte, William Hurt and Vera Farmiga.
I played a small role, one of the patients in the mental hospital. Here I am impersonating a 70s porn star at the Neverwas world premiere at the 2005 Toronto Film Festival
Bad Blood is a short film directed by my friend from Vancouver, Kyle Leydier, and he adapted it from a chapter of the novel Trainspotting by Irvine Welsh.
The film premiered at the 2005 Tribeca Film Festival in New York City. We shot it in Vancouver in 2004, around the time I was there to shoot Neverwas, and it also features my Eighteen co-star Paul Anthony.
Bad Blood is a really dark look at revenge and pain and disease. I like it.
After shooting Reefer Madness, I stayed on in Canada to shoot a small role in Eighteen, a film written and directed by Richard Bell, who I'd first met when I was shooting Josie and the Pussycatsin Vancouver in 2000.
Eighteen is Richard's first feature-length movie, and is about a young boy of 18, Pip (played by the wonderful Paul Anthony), who is given for his birthday a tape from his dead grandfather telling him what his grandftaher went through in when he was 18. The film flashes between the present and the trenches of World War Two.
I play Faher Chris, a priest who befriends Pip.
I was asked to host Out on the Edge, a special for Comedy Central that was an attempt to showcase a more edgy, queer brand of comedian and performer, and I was really excited to do a bit of stand up comedy again.
Craig Chester worked with me on my material, and I blame him for encouraging me to talk about my foreksin on national television at such length (as it were) again.
For the last of my talk shows for Oxygen, Eavesdropping with Alan Cumming, I took Juianne Moore to Dumbo in Brooklyn to make chocolate at Jacques Torres' chocolate store.
Graham Norton and the lovely Vicki Gaberau...
Reefer Madness is a movie musical based on a musical based on the 1936 propaganda film!
I had seen the original movie a long time ago and didn't remember too much about it (I wonder why?!), but I did remember it being hilarious. I also remeber thinking how alarming it was that people would go to such lengths to demonise and misreprsent something (in this case pot). This is what Dan Studney and Kevin Murphy highlighted so cleverly in their musical - the way we are ruled by fear, and how it is in our governments' interests to keep us in this state.
The film is an absolute hoot and we had a blast making it. It was great to be able to sing again, and also act with such an amazing group of performers: Christian Campbell, Kristen Bell, Ana Gasteyer, Steven Weber, Amy Spanger, Neve Campbell, Bob Torti and John Kassir, and a hilarious director, Andy Fickman.
I play the lecturer who come to the town to warn the parents of the evils of marijuana, but then in the film within a film parts I take on lots of different disguises including President Franklin Roosevelt and Goat Man!!
Reefer Madness premiered at the Sundance Film Festival on 27th January 2005 - my 40th birthday! I know it sounds like a great thing to have a film premiere on your birthday, but actually having an entire audience sing me happy birthday and then having the after-party come to a halt whilst a massive marijuana leaf-shaped cake was wheeled towards me followed by a phalanx of photographers was really very embarassing!
The film was then shown on Showtime, who incidentally supported it from its early incarnation onstage in LA and were really amazing to work with, especially considering they were funding a political satire about a propaganda film about drugs!!
I interviewed the gorgeous Megan Mulally for the fourth of my series of specials Eavesdropping with Alan Cumming for the Oxygen channel in LA. We had never met before but got on like a house on fire.
I took the lovely Liv Tyler to Coney Island for the third of my Eavesdropping with Alan Cumming shows for Oxygen.