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Sun, February 20, 2005

Alan Cumming has a knack for getting in trouble

HOLLYWOOD -- Alan Cumming is not sure he likes having a magnetic personality. It keeps attracting the wrong kind of people.

"My publicist calls me a crazy- person magnet," says Cumming, whose more outrageous screen characters include the game show host of the Spy Kids movies, the alien Gazoo in The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas and Nightcrawler in X2: X-Men United.

To illustrate his predicament, Cumming recalls an incident at this year's Sundance Film Festival after the premiere of his musical spoof Reefer Madness.

"It was not just the premiere of the film but my 40th birthday. They had this huge cake in the shape of a cannabis leaf. It was a wonderful, wild party," he says.

He and his lover left the party, only to discover their limo driver was watching porno on vehicle's DVD screen.

"He asked if we wanted to join him for a three-way. It sounds outrageous but that kind of thing happens far too often," he says. "When people approach most celebrities, the most they'll try for is a handshake, and that's usually tentative. Not with me. They'll hug me or put their arm around me to talk to me."

He admits his award-winning stage role as the MC in Cabaret didn't help.

"I was half-nude up there on that stage for eight performances a week, simulating all kinds of sexual acts," says Cumming, who has played a whole gallery of straight, gay and sexually ambivalent characters.

"I guess it's a complement that people think they can touch me and share intimate conversations, but it's also invasive. There are times I want to be anonymous but it just doesn't happen these days.

"People want to take my picture even if I'm just out walking my dog. I was even recognized when I was on holiday last November walking on The Great Wall of China. That was creepy.

"I actually had a near meltdown the night before my birthday. I freaked out about being famous."

Cumming senses his newest role as Loki, the god of mischief, in Son of the Mask, isn't going to tone down his image. The whole idea of a manic mischief maker is bound to appeal to his wilder, weirder fans.

"I can't say no to movies like Son of the Mask because they give me the opportunity to do what I love doing best which is playing multiple characters in the same movie."

But he admits that, as much as he complains about the cost of celebrity, he's got a great life.

"I have so many irons in the fire right now. There's a movie in the works based on my first novel, Tommy's Tale, and my new fragrance line is already in stores. I've also got more film and stage offers than I can handle."

Before the end of the year, Cumming will be seen opposite Sandra Bullock and Sigourney Weaver in the drama Every Word is True and with Ned Beatty and Lois Smith in another drama The Wedding Picture. He is also signed to star opposite Sissy Spacek in Gray Matters, Winnipeg's own Nia Vardalos in Living Neon Dreams and to reprise his role as Nightcrawler in X-Men 3.

There was talk he'd play a gay cabaret actor who coaches a rugby team to victory in Coming Out, but he says that project is "in some kind of limbo.

"Catherine-Zeta Jones is producing through her company and also wanted to star, but I don't know if that one is ever going to get made. I haven't heard anything from Catherine for a while now."

But he's not going to lose any sleep over the status of Coming Out -- he's already a project that could replace it.

"It's called Suffering Man's Charity and it would mark the feature film directing debut of David Boreanaz. I'd get to play this crazy music teacher for the vampire," he says of Boreanaz who played TV's vampire Angel.

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