Take no PRIS­ON­ERS

The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - TV Guide - - Close Up - – Maria Noakes

Alan Cumming is a man of many tal­ents. The Scot­tish ac­tor, 46, has lent his hand to every­thing from film and TV to cabaret, writ­ing, di­rect­ing, stints on Broad­way and has even penned a novel.

Over the past two years, the openly gay ac­tor has en­deared him­self to au­di­ences as Eli Gold in The Good Wife.

Based on Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel ( Pres­i­dent Barack Obama’s former chief of staff), Eli is a tough-talk­ing politico who takes no pris­on­ers.

“He’s ob­sessed with his work and his ca­reer and po­lit­i­cal am­bi­tions and he’d be hor­ri­ble to work for,” Cumming says.

But for all his flaws, Cumming was drawn to the char­ac­ter “be­cause he was so dif­fer­ent to me and just so alien”.

“Be­fore I know it two years have gone by and I’m still play­ing him,” he says. “It’s been in­ter­est­ing see­ing his softer side this sea­son.”

Sea­son three of The Good Wife, star­ring Ju­lianna Mar­gulies as Ali­cia Flor­rick, a wife and mother who re­sumed her ca­reer as a de­fence at­tor­ney af­ter her hus­band’s ( Chris Noth) sex and po­lit­i­cal cor­rup­tion scan­dal landed him in jail, starts this week on Ten.

In a juicy dou­ble episode re­turn, Ali­cia is sep­a­rated from Peter and may, or may not be, hav­ing an af­fair with old flame and col­league Will (Josh Charles). Mean­while, Cumming’s Eli is at his sneaky, mer­ci­less, fast-tak­ing best.

Cumming says the rea­son the show works is be­cause of the writ­ing. It’s re­al­is­tic and raw.

“None of the char­ac­ters are black or white, ev­ery­one’s very grey and I think that’s very un­usual (in TV),” he says.

“You know none of them are com­pletely good and even the bad ones that you’re not sup­posed to like, sud­denly you feel such sym­pa­thy for them.

“That’s what makes it more life-like. It dares to play with your feel­ings.”

In be­tween shoot­ing The Good Wife in New York, Cumming finds time to write and per­form his cabaret works, shoot movies, do voice-overs and just about any­thing else he can squeeze in.

When he’s not work­ing, he is a pas­sion­ate gay, ac­tivist who cam­paigns for equal­ity.

“In the past decade the rep­re­sen­ta­tion of gay and les­bian char­ac­ters on TV has in­creased sig­nif­i­cantly, an­other step in the right di­rec­tion,” Cumming says.

“Even in the Good Wife there was a scene where Ali­cia’s brother was mak­ing out with a guy in the liv­ing room and I just think when it’s just some­thing that’s part of the story and not high­lighted as a gay story-line or a spe­cial story-line that’s a pos­i­tive step.”

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