Q&A: Alan Cumming

6:00 AM PST 11/06/2012 by Gregg Kilday

Born in Scotland and now a dual citizen of the U.K. and the U.S., the actor has become the go-to guy to host the Britannia Awards.

Alan Cumming, 47, won a Tony in 1998 for playing the leering emcee in Cabaret, but more recently he's found a steady gig serving as emcee of the far more proper Britannia Awards, at which the British Academy of Film and Television Los Angeles celebrates its own -- not to mention a number of Yanks. It's his fourth time hosting the black-tie dinner, which will be handing out honors to Lincoln's Daniel Day-Lewis and Django Unchained's Quentin Tarantino, among others. In addition to his ongoing role as a shrewd political operative on CBS' The Good Wife, Cumming also stars in the indie film Any Day Now, opening Dec. 14, which has earned him several best actor trophies of his own on the festival circuit.

THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER: Historically, there's always been a very tight British community here in Hollywood. Any idea why?

Alan Cumming: There's such a big difference between Britain and L.A. I think people like to get together for a bit of a reality check. The thing about L.A., I always find, it's such a transient community. There's always people coming through. I actually see more Brits in L.A. than I do in New York.

THR: In terms of your job as the evening's host, does it make it easier knowing that a lot of folks in the audience share certain cultural references?

Cumming: Well, yes, because you know there are certain jokes, certain British gags that will work. The glossiness of Hollywood versus the meat-and-potatoes of Britain, that's always good for a laugh. Last year, I know I said since we only hand out four or five awards, we make the Oscars look like total whores. That got a big laugh. Everyone comes to have a good time.

THR: How well do you know Daniel Craig and Daniel Day-Lewis, the two British actors who are getting awards this year?

Cumming: I've met them both, but I've never worked with either of them. I know Daniel Craig a little better. We met years ago in London. It will be nice to check in, see how they're doing.

THR: You've picked up a few awards yourself for your new film, Any Day Now, in which you and Garret Dillahunt play a gay couple fighting for custody of a mentally handicapped teenager. What are you hoping audiences take away from the film?

Cumming: It blows your socks off a bit emotionally. I think it definitely has that, but most of all, it's about the idea that families come in all shapes and sizes, genders and sexualities.

THR: The film is set in L.A. in the late '7OS. How was it getting into that era?

Cumming: Doing a period piece of any kind frees you up. It removes it from realism, makes it a little more heightened. But the wigs were insane. There's one particularly serious scene where both our wigs were so bizarre, and at the Tribeca Film Festival premiere, Garret and I got the giggles.

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THE BRITTANIA AWARDS

  • Britannia Award for British Artist of the Year: Daniel Craig
  • Stanley Kubrick Britannia Award for Excellence in Film: Daniel Day-Lewis
  • Charlie Chaplin Britannia Award for Excellence in Comedy: Trey Parker and Matt Stone
  • John Schlesinger Britannia Award for Excellence in Directing: Quentin Tarantino
  • Albert R. Broccoli Britannia Award for Worldwide Contribution to Entertainment: Will Wright

 

 

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