MCM: Alan Cumming

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Has Alan Cumming done enough historical costume roles to really warrant him being featured for Man Candy Monday? Probably not, but I find him so damn charming and talented that I’m going to abuse my power! He’s done a ton of theater, for which he’s won awards, but I probably love him most for modern-set Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion and 1950s-set Circle of Friends. Whatever, let’s just give him a nice shout out, shall we?

 

Cabaret (1993)

As “the Emcee” in a stage production of the classic musical set in Weimar/1930s-era Germany and broadcast on TV.

1993 Cabaret

He wears it well…

 

Circle of Friends (1995)

He’s SO GREAT as the icky, smarmy guy Minnie Driver‘s character’s parents want her to marry in 1950s Ireland!

1995 Circle of Friends

He’s your parents’ wet dream…

1995 Circle of Friends

And your worst nightmare!

 

Emma (1996)

He and Juliet Stevenson as the Eltons are probably the best thing about this Jane Austen adaptation.

1996 Emma

Cumming does these just-slightly-dandified roles so well!

 

Plunkett & Macleane (1999)

The costumes are mostly WTF, but he’s a fabulously foppy aristocrat in this pseudo 18th-century tale of two outlaws.

Plunkett & Macleane 1999

He totally pulls off the look!

1999 Plunkett & Macleane

Even when the look includes an eyebrow ring and Joan Crawford hair!

 

Titus (2010)

More historical/fantasy costumes in this Shakespeare adaptation, but I’m reaching here!

1999 Titus

Fascism, I guess?

 

Intimate Affairs (2001)

A group “scientifically studies” sex in 1920s Paris.

2001 Intimate Affairs

Not sure what’s going on here, but at least Cumming has his shirt off!

 

Nicholas Nickleby (2002)

The shitty feature film with Anne Hathaway. My vague memory is that he and Nathan Lane are the only redeeming factors.

2002 Nicholas Nickleby

As an OTT actor…

2002 Nicholas Nickleby

Some kind of Victorian wood sprite?

2002 Nicholas Nickleby

Right, that’s what Scotsmen look like!

 

The Tempest (2010)

Another historical/fantasy take on Shakespeare…

2010 The Tempest

I guess the costume designer decided to use All The Zippers?

 

What’s your favorite Alan Cumming historical movie role?

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About the author

Kendra

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Kendra has been a fixture in the online costuming world since the late 1990s. Her website, Démodé Couture, is one of the most well-known online resources for historical costumers. In the summer of 2014, she published a book on 18th-century wig and hair styling. Kendra is a librarian at a university, specializing in history and fashion. She’s also an academic, with several articles on fashion history published in research journals.

16 Responses

  1. thedementedfairy

    Never really noticed him, but that Cabaret pic made me suddenly realise he was THAT character in The L Word. Terrible, terrible plot lines, but he was soooo funny!

    Reply
  2. ljones1966

    He and Juliet Walters as the Eltons are probably the best thing about this Jane Austen adaptation.

    They were pretty good. But I think Gwyneth Paltrow owned that movie.

    Reply
  3. Sarah Faltesek

    He was also in an independent film called Sweet Land, set in the countryside of 1920’s Minnesota. It also stars Alex Kingston, Elizabeth Reaser, Tim Guinee, and John Heard. The costumes aren’t particularly exciting, but Cumming is adorable (of course) as a struggling but optimistic farmer.

    Reply
  4. suzieday

    While he wasn’t in costume himself, Alan Cumming was the voice of Black Beauty in 1994. The costumes themselves were nothing special, but you do get to see a young Sean Bean and Jim Carter!

    Reply
  5. Kathleen Norvell

    He stole Plunkett & McLeane. Stupid movie, but worth seeing for him. And his purple hat.

    Reply
  6. Sue Lewus

    If you want his earliest comedy role (non historical but very hysterical) check out The High Life on DVD (I doubt anyone is streaming it). Very funny, lots of Scittish jokes and the 80s clothes. As they would say “pure dead brilliant”.

    Reply

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