his tea break. He’s not the evil, pet-rubbing sort of villain. he‘s just a big show-off. a wee boy really.’
Cumming’s career has been steadily progressing since the Perthshire—born actor left Scotland for London a few years ago. While studying at Glasgow‘s RSAMD, he took time off to star in Gillies Mackinnon’s graduation film Passing Glory. thus beginning a film career that spans Prague, Black Beauty. Circle Of Friends and the English vicar in a newly completed rework of Emma. On stage, he’s fondly remembered in Scotland for his Victor and Barry ‘amateur dramatics’ duo with Forbes Masson. but down south he has taken on increasingly heavy roles. from an acclaimed West End debut in Conquest UfT/It’ South Pole, to major award nominations for his Hamlet and his compere in Cabaret.
He has also been building a reputation as a writer for television and radio, and last year Butter. his debut as a short film director, was well received on the film festival circuit.
‘The model of me is in the window of Planet Hollywood. Right there in the corner window beside one of those busts of Lenin on its side.’
Cumming is currently in pre-production for another short for the BBC. based on a radio piece he wrote, Burn Your Phone, in which he plays ‘a telephone operator who gets stalked by a killer‘. A couple of feature ideas are under consideration. Busy. busy, busy.
‘I like that.’ he says. ‘I think I’m lucky that I’m in a position where I can really do what I like. in a way. Whenever I come tip with another mad thing. or mad in relation to the thing I’ve done before. everyone thinks: “Oh, there he goes again — that‘s Kookie Cumming.” I like that. because sometimes it’s harder for actors to do that because people won‘t accept them in different things.’
It‘s a big jump from Barry to Boris, from Milngavie to Moscow — ’you could use from llamlet to ham. that's another one’. Goldeneye will undoubtedly showcase Cumming’s talents to his biggest worldwide audience yet, even if the actor is no great fan ofthe Bond series - ‘it’s an action film, isn’t it‘." — and doesn’t even know much about computers. Being in (Jolt/eneye isn‘t just about taking a role in a huge blockbuster: Boris Grishenko and Alan Cumming have entered into the Bond mythology.
‘Already I‘ve been bombarded by these sort of' - his voice drops to a conspiratorial whisper — ‘mad people. who do, like. all these magazines. A James Bond man last night asked me to come and . . . well. I don’t know what he wanted me to do . . . maybe ljust had to go along to this event and be myself and they’d all go “()hhhbh! You‘ve been in a Bond film!” And if you get killed last. there‘s more of a coup about that. And Boris has a good death [he gets frozen in a flood of liquid chemicals]. The model of me is in the window of Planet Hollywood. Right there in the corner window beside one of those busts of Lenin on its side.‘
So forget all those acting awards. Once you’ve been a tourist attraction in Sly and Arnie‘s burger bar, there isn‘t really anywhere further to go.
Colt/encye opens on Friday 34 November:
/ The bad and the beautiful
The tuxedo, the puns and the vodka martinis might never change, but the villains come in all shapes and sizes. When their ﬁendish plots are all but forgotten, it’s the Bond baddies, their sidekieks and poisonous femmes fatales who stick in the mind. The List makes sure you don’t get your Blofelds and Oddjobs round the wrong way.
JAWS (Richard Kiel). all 7ft 2in of him. also returned from the dead to follow up his scene- stealing turn in The Spy Who Loved Me with a late change of heart in .lloonraker. With a metal-toothed smile more fixedly false than Anthea Turner. he proved himself more than
ODDJOB (Harold Sakata). tight-lipped bouncer for Auric Goldfinger. was one of the most sartorially elegant Bond adversaries. Taking the maxim ‘if you want to get ahead. get a hat‘ to extremes. he and his steel-rimmed bowler could score a better decapitation rate than the French Revolution. Not a physics major, however. as he proved when he got frazzled while retrieving his lethal lid from a giant electricity conductor.
a match for his underwater namesake when
dunked into a shark pool.
VALENTIN ZUKOVSKY (Robbie Coltrane). a former KGB head adapting his former skills to the underbelly of post-Soviet capitalism. still holds a grudge against Bond for his limp caused by a bullet in the
ERNST STAVRO BLOFELD (Donald Pleasence) masterminded a SPECTRE plan to hijack US and Soviet space capsules from his base in Japan. Blackmailing the superpowers was his hobby. but his penchant for fluffy white cats showed a softer side. The film was You Only Live Twice. but Blofeld managed three times. popping up in subsequent movies as Telly Savalas and Charles Gray.
MAY DAY (Grace Jones) was but one of an ongoing series of Amazonian beauties who launch dual attacks on Bond's physique and libido with lighting techniques as deadly as their
leg. The big man's Bond debut is only a
two-scene cameo. bttt it's still one of the funniest sections of the new movie.
looks. Jones might warble in high fashion on vinyl, but the filmmakers reckoned it was a better move to keep her silent as an actress. Bruised stunt opponents complained that she couldn't draw a line between reality and make-
XENIA ONATOPP (Famke Janssen) and ALEC TREVELYAN (Sean
Bean) lead the onslaught in Goldeneye. Second on the bill, it‘s no surprise when Bean reappears after dying in the pre-title sequence; as 006 gone over to the dark side. he's probably the most equally balanced adversary Bond as ever had. Ms Onatopp. on the other hand. joins Pussy Galore. Honey Ryder and Plenty O‘Toole in the shameless double entendre directory. Her orgasmic moans as she crushes the life out of her opponents with her thighs
is surely the sign of someone enjoying their work.
The List l7-.’~() Nov I995 11