Alan Cumming

My 5 Minutes with the President

Scotsman Alan Cumming began his acting career at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama in Glasgow. His first Hollywood film, “Circle of Friends,” was followed by “Emma,” “GoldenEye” and “Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion.” For his star turn on Broadway in “Cabaret,” he received the Tony, Drama Desk, Outer Critics’ Circle, Theatre World, FANY, New York Press and New York Public Advocate’s awards for his performance.

Cumming alternates between theater and films, and between smaller independent films and more mainstream fare. His theater work also includes “Design for Living” on Broadway and the hugely successful off-Broadway “Elle.” Films have included Julie Taymor’s “Titus,” “Urbania,” the “Spy Kids” trilogy, “Josie and the Pussycats,” “X2,” “Nicholas Nickleby,” “Son of the Mask” and the Showtime movie musical “Reefer Madness.” He wrote, directed, produced and acted in “The Anniversary Party” with Jennifer Jason Leigh, which premiered at the Cannes Film festival and went on to win a National Board of Review award and two Independent Spirit nominations. More recently he has produced the documentary “Show People” and the films “Sweet Land” and “Full Grown Men.” Cumming has also found the time to write a novel, Tommy’s Tale, and to develop a fragrance, Cumming.

ROBIN BRONK: If you had five minutes in the Oval Office with President Obama, what would you discuss with him? What issue would you like him to know about?
ALAN CUMMING: I would discuss gay rights, or the lack of them. I would remind him of his campaign promises and the damage his administration is doing by persisting in releasing inflammatory statements and taking unnecessarily hostile actions that are sending very mixed messages to gay Americans.
 
RB: If you could ask President Obama one question, what would it be?
AC: I would ask him if he was familiar with the African concept of ubuntu, and Desmond Tutu’s definition of it: A person with ubuntu is open and available to others, affirming of others, does not feel threatened that others are able and good, for he or she has a proper self-assurance that comes from knowing that he or she belongs in a greater whole and is diminished when others are humiliated or diminished, when others are tortured or oppressed
 
RB: If you could give President Obama one piece of advice, what would that be?
AC: Be louder, be more angry, don’t be so afraid of what people think.

RB: Would you ever consider a political career?
AC: I feel like I already have one.

Bronk is a seasoned Capitol Hill strategist and advocate. She started her career at The Creative Coalition, a nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy group for the arts and entertainment industry, in July 1998. During her tenure as CEO, Bronk has taken The Creative Coalition from a New York-based entity to a national organization. www.
thecreativecoalition.org