I shot Ripley Under Ground, an adaptation of one of Patricia Highsmith’s Ripley novels, in London and the Isle of Man in the summer of 2003. The film was directed by Roger Spottiswoode and also stars Willem Dafoe, Barry Pepper, Tom Wilkinson, Ian Hart and Claire Forlani.
I had a real laugh making this film, playing a coked up art dealer, but sadly it never really saw the light of day in theaters. Click here to see the trailer
Fegan Floop makes a brief but thrilling appearance in what we all thought was the final installment of the Spy Kids trilogy, Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over.
Going back to Austin to shoot these few scenes I had in this movie felt like going home for Thanksgiving. I was seeing all the same cast and crew for a few days and going to the old familiar places, even wearing the old familiar Floop costume. This experience was quite different to the other two because practically the entire movie was shot against green screen. Also of course the 3-D part made it very different technically. I have always been bitter that there weren’t any Floop dolls made, apart from the one Juni has in the first movie (which I have), so when I was wrapped they gave me a bronzed Floop doll for posterity. It sort of looks like an award so that makes up for not having been an action figure.
I went to LA to interview the goddess that is Halle Berry for my Eavesdropping with Alan Cumming show. We had just finished shooting X2, and that is why I look ill and drawn and fat.
I took part in Jon Favreau's discussion showDinner For Five with Isaac Mizrahi, Faizon Love and Amy Irving
The lovely Wayne Brady, the hilarious Caroline Rhea, and my first time sparring with the delightful Graham Norton. Then Conan. And giving an award away with Rachel Griffiths at the Independent Spirits
I played the role of Mr. Williams in Pits, the 8-minute Canadian comedy short about a young man who discovers that he has two large pit stains on his dress shirt as he's running late for an interview at a prestigious law firm.
I shot it whilst in Canada shooting X2, and it was directed by Gary Hawes who worked as an A.D. on the mutant extravaganza.
I shot two 'Painting With Light' promos for Turner Classic Movies. Here's the one for North by North West...
I was asked to go on the BBC's coverage of the Oscars and discuss my thoughts with Jonathon Ross. I was in LA anyway shooting Zero Effect, so I did, and had a real laugh with Jonathon.
I was asked by Dori Berinstein if I'd like to do a talk show for the then new channel, Oxygen. I'd always loved chatting and the idea appealed to me, though I was wary of staying away from more conventional formats which I didn't think would suit me. So we came up with Eavesdropping with Alan Cumming.
The idea is that the audience would basically be voyeurs. I would meet up with someone, usually someone I alredy knew, and we would wander around together, get in a car and drive to a restaurant, and then eat. Pretty simple and not exactly ground-breaking but it actually made for some really interesting material.
On most talk shows, you are performing. I always say that when I come out and sit on the sofa I feel as though I am playing a version of myself: Alan Cumming, the chatty celebrity. I genuinely do enjoy most TV talk shows (the lack of ability for them to editorialise as well as the opportunity to counter any nonsense on the spot has a lot to do with it), but there is a format which you must adhere to: regurgitate the anecdotes you have been briefed to do per the pre-interview you have had with the show's producer. So there is a pressure to be funny and witty and brief - attributes that are usually incidental to why you are actually on the show on the first place! . Some hosts, of course, are confident and skilled enough to be spontaneous and to have a genuine conversation, but mostly it is a series of pre-arranged funny stories.
So the great thing about the Eavesdropping format, despite the fact that we were aware of being tailed by three camera teams and we had to stop occasionaly for technical reasons, was that there was no pressure to be funny or to tell anecdotes. It was quite rambly, and when it worked best, a genuine conversation between two friends.
For me the best bits are in the car. There we used two tiny cameras at either side of the front windshield (they're called lipstick cams) and although there was a cameraman out of sight in the back seat behind us, it really was the most self-conscious you could possibly get whilst being interviewed on a TV show! I think this section in the first show with Gwyneth Paltrow proves my point.
I also get Gwyneth to come off her macro-biotic diet and have french fries. Beat that, David Letterman.
In Spy Kids 2: The Island of Lost Dreams, the sequel to Spy Kids, I reprised his role as the mad genius Fegan Floop. Carmen and Juni Cortez team up with two other spy kids, Gary and Gerti Giggles, and together they must save the world from the hands of an evil scientist named Romero, played by Steve Buscemi.
I only shot one day on this film, but it was a packed day! I learned the song then recorded it first thing in the morning, then rehearsed and shot the scene where Juni and Carmen call me up for advice, and then I lip-synched the song against blue screen in the afternoon! It was great to be back in Austin again to see everyone and to be part of the next Spy Kids installment.