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Alan Cumming 'Talks Pictures,' Films & Gay Rights At Palm Springs Film Festival

Cumming participated in a question and answer segment with film goers at the final Talking Pictures event of this year's film festival on Saturday.

There wasn’t a dry eye in the Annenberg Theater by the end of the screening of Any Day Now Saturday, a moving film about a gay couple trying to adopt an abandoned child with Down syndrome. Directed by Travis Fine, Cumming stars as Rudy Donatello, “a drag queen on the mime-track to nowhere, whose outrageous exterior hides a lonely but loveable soul.”

The film has already won Audience Awards at the Tribeca, Seattle, and LA Outfest Film Festivals, among others.

After the screening, Jeremy Kay moderated a question and answer session with Cumming who delighted the crowd with his engaging personality and hilarious – and occasionally racy - anecdotes.

Cumming said he was drawn to the story of Any Day Now because of its sense of justice and the story, even though it was “potentially gooey,” managed to be emotionally rich without being manipulative.”

As he was talking about the film, he said something about tossing the script in a closet and then joked, “There wasn’t anything in the closet about this film.”

Cumming said there was not a lot of rehearsal for the film, but he likes to “keep acting simple” anyway. He met the boy, Isaac Leyva, and his co-star Garret Dillahunt only days before filming began, which paralleled the story in the film about the gay couple and boy becoming a family almost immediately.

On The Good Wife:

He didn’t care much for the role or the show when he first read the script. He “didn’t get it” and said no originally. His agent was the one who convinced him the role was a good one for him. “Guess that’s why we pay gobs of money to agents,” he said.

On Sylvester Stallone:

Cumming said he worked with him once on a film. They were in a forest getting ready for a scene and Alan was getting a little roughed up in the foliage and ended up bumping his head. When he mentioned his injury to Stallone, the action star turned to him and said,”  “Welcome to action movies.”

On losing weight:

During his research for Any Day Now, which takes place around 1979, he said he lost weight because “people in the 70’s were skinnier than they are now, so I gave it my best shot.”

On gay rights:

Cumming said he was pleased Obama supported gay marriage before the election, but suggested it’s time for action now. But he added, “I don’t like feeling grateful for my rights.”

On idols and roles he would love to play:

He doesn’t really have any idols and said he’s not really “a yearner.” He said when people ask him about roles he wants to play, he doesn’t know what to say so he started responding by saying, “King Lear,” because he figures it will be years before he’s old enough to play that role and maybe “no one will remember” he said he wanted to play it by then.

“I’m open to what the world opens to me,” he said. 

Responding to audience praise for his wide range of roles and emotional depth, Cumming said it’s “important to go for it, whatever you do.” Especially if you’re an actor, he said, “You can’t just sit on the edge of the pool, you have to dive in.” 

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