Alan Cumming’s celebrity confessions: Actor reveals how he crashed JLo’s 2001 wedding, stood up to Stanley Kubrick and praised Jessica Lange’s breasts during a naked scene in deliciously candid memoir

  • Alan Cumming, 56, has opened about showbiz encounters in autobiography 
  • The Scottish Cabaret actor turned New Yorker reflects on his career in Baggage 
  • Revealed he accidentally crashed Jennifer Lopez’ 2001 wedding to Cris Judd
  • Also added was not scared of ‘formidable’ Hollywood director Stanley Kubrick 

Veteran actor Alan Cumming has shared his shenanigans with some of Hollywood’s most glamourous A-listers in a deliciously candid new memoirs.

Cumming, 56, who lives in New York and has a dual US-Scottish citizenship, reflected on his career in showbiz spanning nearly four decades of TV, movies and thears, in Baggage, published by Canongate Books.

The Cabaret actor recounted crashing Jennifer Lopez’s 2001 wedding to Cris Judd, where he accidentally insulted the groom, and saw Martha Stewart fall off a patio into a hedge at a party with her legs sticking out like the ‘witch in the Wizard of Oz’.

The star of X Men and The Good Wife also recalled how he was not intimidated by Stanley Kubrick after the ‘formidable’ director gruffly welcomed him to the set of Eyes Wide Shut in 1999. 

Cumming, who starred in Spice World: The Movie with the Spice Girls in 1997, said her ‘felt at home.’ spending the summer filming with the five singers at the height of their careers.

He also shared a treasure trove of candid anecdotes about showbiz legend Liza Minelli, Sean Connery and American Horror Story’s Supreme, Jessica Lange. 

STANDING UP TO STANLEY KUBRICK ON THE SET OF EYES WIDE SHUT 

The actor played a hotel clerk in Stanley Kubrick’s Eyes Wide Shut, where he flirted with Tom Cruise, pictured, and stood up to the director’s ‘gruffly’ behaviour

In the book, Alan also recounted how he was not afraid to make an impression on people, one of them being the director of the Shining. 

Working with Stanley Kubrick would be the highlight of many starting actors’ career, but as a 30-something with a small role in Eyes Wide Shut, Alan decided to stand up to the director when he welcomed him gruffly on set. 

When Alan introduced himself to Stanley Kubrick, the director immediately said ‘you’re not American,’ and then insisted Alan sounded American on his audition tapes.  

‘I had heard tales of Stanley being formidable and demanding, so I was slightly on guard already,’ the actor wrote in his memoirs. 

‘Something in me snapped, or maybe I just took an objective look at the situation—I had been waiting for months to shoot this scene after auditioning for it many times, on several continents.

‘F**** you, old man, I thought to myself. I know I was American on the tapes.

‘But I actually said, “Yeah, that’s because I’m an actor, Stanley”.’

Alan credited this moment for having a good relationship with Kubrick for the rest of his time on set, saying the director respected him for it. 

In the movie, Alan played a hotel clerk being questioned by Tom Cruise. 

‘The clerk is incredibly flirty, and I remember voicing my worry to Stanley that perhaps I’d gone a little too far in how enamoured I was and how full-on my seduction seemed (and remember, that was me saying this). Stanley would have none of it,’ he wrote. 

‘”No!” he encouraged me. “Keep going! It can go up another notch”,’ he added.

ROMY AND MICHELE’S HIGH SCHOOL REUNION AND SPICE WORLD: THE MOVIE 

Pictured with Mira Sorvino, left, and Lisa Kudrow, right, on the set of Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion 

Alan showing off the messages the Spice Girls left on his torso after they finished filming Spice World: The Movie in 1997

Early on in his career, Alan starred in several female centric films, including Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion, in which he starred alongside Lisa Kudrow, whom he said had a ‘brilliant, quick mind’ and has remained a friend. 

He also starred in the Spice Girls movie Spice World in 1997, after Geri Halliwell, who had seen him perform as Hamlet years earlier, insisted he’d be cast as Piers.   

‘So, that summer running around London, laughing, and frolicking with five girls who were at the very zenith of their pop princess potency, being taught the dance moves of the Spice Girls’ songs by the Spice Girls themselves, was golden for me,’ he wrote. 

‘I felt at home, I felt happy, I was carefree. Every day was an adventure, and anything seemed possible, and that’s how I want all my life to be,’ he added. 

When filming for the movie wrapped, Alan said he received a card full of messages written by the Spice Girls and took polaroid pictures with each of them, which he has kept in his study ever since.  

He said Emma Bunton anointed him ‘Special Spice Boy’ in her message.

WINNING A TONY FOR CABARET AND LEARNING THE TRICKS FROM LIZA MINELLI  

Alan Cumming, 56, opened up about his career in Hollywood and fun celebrities encounters in his new memoirs Baggage. Pictured with Liza Minelli in New York in 2013

Alan talked in-depth about his time starring in Cabaret in the late 1990s in New York, where celebrities like Whoopi Goldberg and Lauren Bacall showered him with compliments every night. 

‘Every night felt like some surreal showbiz dream,’ he said.

Playing the show’s Emcee led him to develop a strong friendship with Liza Minelli, who played Sally Bowles in the movie version of the musical. 

He was asked by his co-star, Natasha Richardson, who played Sally in their production, to bring Liza on stage to pay her homage. 

He admitted the idea of bringing Liza on stage caused him a lot of anxiety, because he thought she would hate being dragged into the limelight.  

‘As it turned out, the entire scene played out like a sincere and magical dream. Tasha made a lovely speech about being so nervous performing in front of Liza,’ he recalled. 

The actor won a Tony Award for Best Leading Actor In a Musical after playing the Emcee in Cabaret in the late 1990s. Pictured with Best Leading Actress In A Play Marie Mullen, Best Leading Actress In A Musical Natasha Richardson And Best Leading Actor In A Play Anthony Lapaglia in 1998

‘“Alan, I want to be your friend forever,” Liza trilled as she entered my room shortly after,’ Alan recounted. 

‘Meeting her was utterly exciting, of course, but it didn’t come with the anxiety and breathlessness of so many of my postshow experiences. 

‘Somehow, I felt Liza would understand me, that she probably did her own version of crying in the shower, too, like the screaming under a bridge she did at the end of the film of Cabaret. With absolutely nothing to go on beyond the few moments of contact down- stairs, I already felt we were connected,’ he added. 

Liza and Alan were reunited for a TV musical special where they performed New York, New York together. 

The actor revealed Liza and Broadway heavyweight Chita Rivera tried – and failed – to teach him a dance move he was having a hard time with.

‘Now any chance of my ever getting it totally evaporated as I began to fully process that both Liza Minnelli and Chita Rivera were trying to teach me a move that any eight-year-old in a Saturday morning dance class could muster in their sleep. 

‘I wobbled feebly on, pointed up, Liza and Chita actually taking my various limbs and trying to sculpt my body into recognition.

‘Eventually, when they could see their efforts were futile, Liza said, “Oh, darling, just make it your own!”

Meanwhile, the actor added meeting Sean Connery after one of his Cabaret perform was a ‘comfort, an honor and a destiny.’ 

‘But he was wearing a white cardigan, and all I remember thinking as we went in for the hug was that I was going to smear great wads of my still very present makeup all over the King of Scotland’s virginal apparel. He didn’t mind, however,’ he wrote. 

RAUNCHY JOKES WITH JESSICA LANGE 

Cumming and Jessica Lange, who played opposite each other in Titus, would joke about gravity taking the best out of their bodies. Pictued together in 2009

Alan also reminisced about raunchy jokes he made with Jessica Lange, of American Horror Story, on the set of Titus in 1997. 

He said the pair were joking about time impacting their looks, with Lange especially desolate about her breasts becoming saggy with age.  

A few moments after, the actors had to film a nude scene when Alan had his hand on Lange’s breast.  

‘I don’t know what you’re talking about, Jess,’ Alan remembered saying. You have fantastic boobs.”

‘“Oh, honey,” she purred. “If your hand wasn’t there that thing would be halfway round my back”,’ he continued. 

CRASHING JLO’S 2001 WEDDING TO CRIS JUDD IN ITALY 

Alan recounted how he accidentally crashed singer Jennifer Lopez’ second wedding during a night out in Milan. 

The actor and his friend Glenda Bailey, the former editor-in-chief of Harper’s Bazaar, arrived in the Italian city for fashion week. 

They were invited to the Versace runway, and later to the afterparty at Donatella Versace’s house by the Lake Como.  

The actor, who starred in countless Hollywood productions, including GoldenEye, Spy Kids, 1996’s Emma and The Good Wife, then suddenly realised in the middle of the party that he was crashing JLo’s nuptials. 

Alan Cumming published Baggage: Tales From a Fully Packed Life, pictured, with Canongate Books

The epiphany occurred when Donatella’s staff rolled out a table with a white cake on top of it, and took away people’s drinks to replace them with champagne flutes. 

‘“Oh my God,” I whispered to Glenda. “We’re at JLo’s wedding reception!”,’ Alan recalled. ‘And indeed, as the happy couple began to cut the cake, we were encouraged to raise our glasses in a toast, and Donatella shouted, “To Jenneefer and Crees!”. 

Things became awkward when JLO actually came up to Alan to say hi.   

‘“Oh wow, JLo’s coming this way,” I warned my group. “Oh wow, she’s coming straight towards us,” I said. Then, “Holy s***, she is actually coming right over here…”,’ the actor recounted saying.

When the singer reached Alan, she said hi, to which he replied: ‘Oh gosh, hi Jennifer. I totally forgot I knew you.’ 

To make matters worse, JLo had to remind Alan’s party that the pair had appeared on SNL together, him as the guest and her as the musical act. 

Alan revealed he tried to make things better by complimenting the artist on one of her latest music video, ‘Ain’t It Funny.’ 

Touched by the attention, Jennifer asked Alan if he could tell her new husband, who had directed the video. 

Alan obeyed and congratulated Cris Judd, telling him he particularly liked a washing line used in the video. 

He ound out years later that he had complimented JLo’s groom about the wrong video. 

He wrote in his memoirs:  ‘It is only now, twenty years later, having done some online research in order to remember which particular J-Lo song it was I liked all those years ago, that I have discovered the video I described in such glowing detail to the groom was not in fact the one he directed at all. 

‘I now know Cris directed the “Ain’t It Funny” remix that also featured Ja Rule and Cadillac Tah and contained not even a hint of a washing line. 

‘An easy mistake to make perhaps, but nonetheless, no doubt a doubly bitter pill for Cris to swallow considering I was congratulating him, at his wife’s behest, for something he had not only not done, but which was actually the work of the legendary photographer Herb Ritts,’ he said. 

THE GOLDENEYE PREMIERE AND BEFRIENDING TINA TURNER IN 1995 

The actor played Boris Grishenko in 1995’s James Bond movie GoldenEye, and befriended Tina Turner at the premiere 

The actor also recounted how he was faced with the dilemma of bowing or not bowing in front of the Prince of Wales at the premiere of GoldenEye, in which he played Boris Grishenko in 1995. 

‘Bowing, actually making myself lower and subservient to someone else, and then literally placing them on a pedestal by referring to them as “highness” is just never going to be part of my human engagement lexicon,’ he said.  

The actor was standing next to Dame Judi Dench and told her he was not going to bow and asked her if she was going to do the same. 

‘I’m a dame, I rather have to bow,’ he reported the actress as saying. 

He also recalled being starstruck by Tina Turner, who sang the movie’s theme song and was present at the premiere. 

‘All I could think to say to her was that I liked the color of her toenail varnish,’ he said. 

He claimed the singer showed him her toes and eyelids, saying: ‘Oh, you noticed! I’ve got golden toes and golden eyes!’

One of the most incredible moments of the night according to Alan was to see his mother chatting to Judi Dench and Tina Turner during the party.  

WITNESSING MARTHA STEWART FALL AT A PARTY 

The actor, pictured, reflected on his career’s success and revealed he crashed JLO’s wedding in 2001

He also recalled a humourous moment where he saw Martha Stewart fall at a party at the height of her career during a drunken evening.  

‘Just then Martha—perhaps in an attempt to make a little more room on the already crowded patio edge—took a step backward, lost her footing, and suddenly disappeared from view,’ he said. 

‘There was a gasp from the crowd as I strained on my tiptoes over the man in front of me to see Martha’s legs sticking up from behind the miniature hedge like the witch in The Wizard of Oz.

‘Then those very legs began to pedal as she vainly tried to get up, but almost instantly a gaggle of damage control experts rushed in, righted her, and swept Martha away, never to be seen again, that night anyway. 

‘A shimmer of incredulity rippled through the crowd. “Did that actually just happen?” one of my table mates gasped as she turned to me, openmouthed,’ he wrote. 

These delicious celebrity anecdotes are available in Baggage: Tales From a Fully Packed Life, published by Canongate Books

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