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Last Updated: Monday, 7 April, 2003, 14:00 GMT 15:00 UK
Actor takes novel direction
Alan Cumming
Cumming made his name in sitcom the High Life
Alan Cumming - the Scottish actor best known as a villain in James Bond movie Goldeneye - has added novelist to his list of career achievements.

His book, Tommy's Tale, is the story of a hedonistic Londoner facing the prospect of turning 30.

Cumming admitted that although the book was not an autobiography, much of what happens was drawn from real events in his life.

"It was a cathartic experience," Cumming told the BBC World Service's The Ticket programme.

"I wrote it in between films over a good few years, and I changed and things happened to me during those years that affected how the book came out.

"It is a novel - Tommy's not me - but everything that happens to him, all the experiences that he has, I have some experience of."

Varied career

Cumming has recently become established as a star in America - he hosts his own talk show and has won widespread critical acclaim for his performances in the Broadway version of the musical Cabaret.

He will next be seen as the teleporting mutant Nightcrawler in the X-Men sequel X2.

When I go to sign a credit card, the waiter's twiddling a pen in a sort of homage
Alan Cumming on being remembered as Bond villain Boris
Cumming started acting as a boy in the north of Scotland, although at the time he did not know what it was he was doing.

"We lived in a very remote place, and so to entertain myself in play I would pretend to be people and make up stories and act them out with my dog," he said.

"I'm glad that my reason for wanting to be an actor wasn't to do with wanting to be famous or wanting to have that glory of emulating other people.

"It came from a real play thing - I didn't know what an actor was when I started doing that.

"Then when I went to high school I starting doing some plays and I realised that that was what [acting] was about."

Bond baddie Boris

After starring in BBC comedies The High Life and Bernard And The Genie, Cumming landed the prime role of double-crossing Russian computer nerd Boris in the James Bond "comeback" film Goldeneye.

Stanley Kubrick
Cumming featured in Stanley Kubrick's last film
"It was really amazing actually. It happened at a time in my life when I was having a bit of a bad time.

"I went for this meeting and was so excited. I ended up doing it and it was this huge thing.

"It was a great experience to be on a Bond set - I got to be in all these explosions, I had to have a model of my entire body made because I got frozen alive.

"Even now I walk down the street and people shout "I am invincible".

"When I go to sign a credit card or whatever, the waiter's twiddling a pen in a sort of homage."

'No small parts'

After that success, Cumming auditioned for and got a part in legendary director Stanley Kubrick's last movie, Eyes Wide Shut.

Though he was cast for just one scene, but was happy to have had the chance to work with Kubrick.

"Stanley was so great because he taught me that there's no such thing as a small part," Cumming said.

Hugh Jackman and Rebecca Romijn-Stamos in X-Men
Cumming will next be seen in the X-Men sequel X2
"That scene took a week to shoot of really intense focusing and pushing it and pushing it.

"In a normal film that would have been shot in a morning and you were lucky if you were still there for your lunch.

"I really loved him, he was a really great man."

He added that he had adopted a "healthy attitude" to the Hollywood lifestyle to avoid getting carried away with his recent success.

"I have fun with it, I appreciate it - I think it's hilarious.

"I got a vacuum cleaner, a week's free holiday at a surf camp in north Carolina - in a goodie bag.

"It's insane."


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