Montecarlo Television Festival. In conversation with Alan Cumming

He is for sure one of the funniest and interesting people you will ever sit with for an interview, a chat about theatre and musical (I could stay there listening to him for days) or for a party. Who is he? Tony winner Alan Cumming, better known as Dr. Dylan Reinhart in CBS series Instinct.

C: How much did you know about the book before being cast for Instinct?

AC: I was sent the book as the first thing. I was doing a show in Edinburgh and that book wasn’t exactly my cup of tea…not the kind of book I usually read. But Patterson and Roughan are very good storytellers. Then I met Michael Rauch who was adapting the show. Here is the thing: when you work on a book adaptation, you have really little to do on the material; but I felt a connection with his adaptation and his work.

C: What was the first thing that caught your eye about the story?

AC: Basically that it’s based on a gay couple. You don’t usually get a lead gay couple in these kinds of shows. Especially not someone so confident, where being gay is not the main part of the story. So that was the real thing that interested me; because I didn’t feel that I did a character like this before.
C: Your relationship starts to crack when your character comes back on working with the CIA. How did you work on that part? Did you discuss it with your partner? Or have you ever experienced something like that?

AC: No, not really. I mean, my husband is very supportive. Sometimes I say to him that I’d really like to this; like by the end of the year I’m going to do a play in London so we’re all going to move to London for a few months; me, my husband and the dogs. And he is like:     ” Oh, it’ll be great. Even if he has to cancel something he’ll do it anyway. And he is used to seeing me sporadically when I do a play every night. He has a very flexible job, he is an illustrator so it’s quite easy to organize ourselves.

C: So, how did you put something so unknown for you on screen in such a great way?

AC: I’m an actor (he smirks and puts on his diva face we adore). No, seriously. They wrote it in an extraordinary way, in a kind way. It’s more about to explain why it’s so important, for my character, to be back in the CIA than a relationship drama.

C: James Corden Tony‘s opening number last week was about pros and cons of working in TV or of working in theatre. What are your thoughts about TV and theatre as you have experienced them both a lot in your career and you have both won and co-hosted a huge event like a Tony‘s night?

AC: Being honest I didn’t watch the Tony’s last week, I was on holiday in Greece. But, first of all, both can be very rewarding and inspiring and challenging and fun. The pro in television is that you get paid more, usually. The cons are that work hours are insane. You work 13/14 hours a day, every day, some days more, some days less, but still…With the theatre, the pros for me are…routine. I like the fact that I go to work at the same time every night, to the same place. The con about the theatre, obviously, is that you have to do the same thing every night, but I don’t actually mind it. If the play is interesting enough for me, it’s exciting to do it again and again and to feel the slight differences every time when you are completely in the moment of it.

C: And as part of the audience, do you prefer a night out at the theatre or a night on the couch watching a TV series?

AC: I mean, I’d probably go to the theatre. I never sit in front of the television and watch it all night. Never. I don’t have cable so I’d probably go to watch one something in my house on TV but not just keeping it on all night, never. I go to the theatre quite often. I like being in the room where all happens, the lightning, feeling the excitement of being alive. I love that. I just realized I have to do it more often. And I love having people coming over to my house too, I don’t live isolated.

C: Which is your favorite musical that is on Broadway right now and which is the last one you saw? Musical or play.

AC: I very much liked The Ferryman, it’s one of the best play of the year. I was in a play too this year so I didn’t see much… Oh, I know what I liked. I saw The Prom. I really liked that, another good gay message, you know.

C: How do you feel about coming back on stage in London next year?

AC: I’m really looking forward to doing it…it’s been ages since my last time on a stage in London. Last time, if I’m not mistaken was in 2006 for six months…so I can’t wait to be back. Will I see you there?

C: Obviously, how I could ever miss it.

Instinct is coming back tomorrow on CBS with season 2.

 

 

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