Cumming shows versatility as artist, actor; lends name to new fragrance

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by Ryan Breegle
A&E Writer

Alan Cumming is a man of so many talents. As a film actor he has played some of the most enjoyable and fun villains in films (Josie and the Pussycats, Spy Kids), as an author he has written a screenplay (The Anniversary Party) and a novel (Tommy’s Tale), and as a comic genius he has given us some of the most memorable guest appearances in films like Eyes Wide Shut as the bellboy who flirts with Tom Cruise and on “Sex and the City” as Dolce & Gabbana designer “O.” He has now chosen to tackle a “funny pop art exercise” by giving his name and complete endorsement to a cologne, easily remembered as Cumming the Fragrance.

Also the multitasker, Cumming was open to talking about his new foray into scents in a phone interview while parking his new Ford Escape Hybrid in New York City and taking his dogs for a walk. “It wasn’t on my list of things I thought I’d be doing,” said Cumming, “but it did sort of happen. I knew Christopher Brosius who’s the ‘nose guy,’ you know. I’ve known him for years, and I’ve worn his other smells that he made when he was at another company called Demeter. And then my friend Jason, who was a marketing person at Kiehl’s…and we all knew each other and hung out together. It was Jason who came up with this idea and said, ‘you should do this.’ And I thought, Yeah, why not? If you support the line, and it’s something that I really like and happily endorse. And also I thought we could have a lot of fun with it in terms of how, you know, the tongue-in-cheek aspects of it, the way we did the ad and the commercial.”

The commercial, a quick look into a possible night in Alan Cumming’s bedroom after being dropped home by a taxi, has the actor rolling around in his bed, imparting words of wisdom such as, “You are the most interesting thing about yourself” and “At the end of the day, it’s your essence that matters.”

“It was a hoot,” said Cumming. “It’s only been played on the Internet. VH1 showed it last week on their sort of “Best Of”-something. But it’s not designed for television, obviously. We decided we’d make an ad for the Internet, try and make it sort of, you know, fun and explain a bit about the feeling we wanted to create for the fragrance. Make it playful and sort of sexy, but quite funny as well. And then we wanted to put that out on the Internet so it could have a little more adult content. And you know, my ass sells.”

The Cumming fragrance, a sweet and warm mix of black pepper, scotch pine, and whisky, will soon be followed by a whole line of products bearing the actor’s name and cheeky sense of humor. Alan explains: “Cumming All Over is the body lotion; Cumming Off Buff is the body scrub; Cumming Clean is the shower gel; Cumming In The Air is the candle; Cumming In A Bar is the soap. They come out in a few weeks,” he said, pun surely intended.

Cumming also spoke about his upcoming projects. While the film version of his novel Tommy’s Tale has been put “on the backburner,” he will be appearing on an upcoming episode of the television show “The L Word.” And fans of Cumming in the musical Cabaret will be thrilled to learn he is starring in The Threepenny Opera on Broadway next April. “I did a workshop of it already last year and I really liked it, it was pretty intense. But I’m looking forward to it. And then Edie Falco from the Soprano’s is doing it with me, and Nellie McKay who is a really great singer, she’s just charming, and she plays Polly Peachum.” Written by Kurt Weill and Bertolt Brecht in 1928 in German, this production will be held in New York’s Studio 54 theatre and will be in English. “I’m not sure Broadway’s ready for a German musical,” quips Cumming.

Outloud! Department Store will soon be carrying the Cumming cologne, and it can be ordered from his Web site: www.cummingthefragrance.com. Also, the Web site is the home of the naughty yet intriguing commercial. As he states in that advertisement, “Cumming is a strange name to have,” but thank heavens Alan Cumming is making the most of it.