Alan Cumming plots 'fantasy' return to live in Scotland again

Hollywood and Broadway star Alan Cumming has revealed he is considering moving back to Scotland after admitting his life was becoming too hectic since he had emerged from lockdown.

The Perthshire-born star says he is increasingly drawn to return his home country, more than 20 years after moving to the United States.

The 56-year-old stage and screen star, who secured American citizenship in 2008, has revealed a "primal" urge to spend the latter years of his life in Scotland.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

New York-based Cumming said he was harbouring a "fantasy" about living life as a "Scottish Greta Garbo" by living in the middle of nowhere in Scotland. The Scot, who has just published his autobiography, said travelling around Scotland over the summer with actress Miriam Margoyles for a new Channel 4 travel show got him thinking about relocating.

Alan Cumming was at the Edinburgh International Festival this summer with his new stage show. Picture: Jessica Shurte

Cumming was a star of the American legal and political drama The Good Wife for years. His films include Circle of Friends, Goldeneye, Romy and Michele's High School Reunion, Eyes Wide Shut and The Anniversary Party.

In recent years he has been a regular visitor to Scotland, including shows at the Edinburgh International Festival, where he performed this summer.

Cumming was speaking during an in-conversation event at the Toronto International Festival of Authors to promote his book, Baggage. It recalls huge transformation in his life when he moved to the US to star on Broadway in Cabaret.

Cumming told festival director Roland Gulliver he had been able to enjoy New York City over the last 20 years as he also had a home in the Catskill Mountains.

Alan Cumming has been based in the United States for more than 20 years.

Cumming said: “Having spent so much time there during the pandemic, coming back to the city I’m like a country boy getting used to it again, the noise, the intensity and bustle.

“I love that, but I think I’m readjusting my ratio of how much time I’m going to spend here and there.

"I’m really feeling a draw back to Scotland. I feel a really primal thing that I’m going to end up there.

“I’ve had this fantasy of being a Scottish Greta Garbo, being reclusive, in the middle of nowhere. There’s something about that that I feel I want in my life.

Alan Cumming was in Glasgow this summer to receive an honorary doctorate from his old drama school, which is now known as the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. He’s the global actor, author and activist with an eclectic and electrifying career. Alan Cumming, the Scots-born superstar of stage and screen – and much more in between – returned to his drama school roots today (Monday, August 30) to receive an honorary doctorate from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. Aberfeldy-born Alan, an alumnus of Scotland’s national conservatoire, was recognised for his multi-award-winning and genre-spanning career that has taken him everywhere from Hollywood to Broadway, and his passionate and lifelong dedication to equality and human rights. Alan’s honorary doctorate of drama was presented in a small and intimate ceremony in Glasgow under strict Covid safety regulations. It was filmed for a special video segment that will be unveiled at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland’s winter graduation ceremony that will take place on Thursday, October 21. Accepting the honour and fresh from performing his new cabaret show, Alan Cumming is Not Acting His Age at the Edinburgh International Festival at the weekend, Alan Cumming said: “I feel very moved today on receiving this honorary doctorate. I came to study here 36 years ago and I felt like I belonged here from the word go. The spirit of this institution has made me the performer that I am today.

"Sometimes you have to be away from where you are from to understand how much you are formed by it and how much of it is part of you. That’s definitely been the case for me and I’ve been spending more time there.

"I shot a travel show this summer with Miriam Margolyes. She and I went round Scotland in a van together, which was nuts.

“There was something about that that made me just sort of think that I could make it a reality.

“I’m not sure how my husband would take it. I’d probably be going off making the odd film here and he’d be stuck up a mountain somewhere on his own.”

Cumming said he had mixed feelings his work schedule had become so busy again.

He added: "I’ve gone back to pre-pandemic life. I thought there would be a gradual easing into it, but no. It’s kind of daunting.

"I’m actually good at relaxing. I give it as much focus as everything else. I think I might slow down a bit.”

A message from the Editor:

Thank you for reading this article. We're more reliant on your support than ever as the shift in consumer habits brought about by coronavirus impacts our advertisers.

If you haven't already, please consider supporting our trusted, fact-checked journalism by taking out a digital subscription.

 0 comments

Want to join the conversation? Please or to comment on this article.