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Alan Cumming tries the small screen

Alan Cumming tries the small screen–The actor stars in the animated show ”God, The Devil and Bob”

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If typecasting is an actor’s worst nightmare, then Alan Cumming must be sleeping like a baby. In the past decade, the 35-year-old Scotsman has dodged predictability by trying everything from Jane Austen (Emma‘s slimy Rev. Elton) to James Bond (Goldeneye‘s Russian baddie, Boris), from Broadway (he won a 1998 Tony award for his turn as the emcee in Cabaret) to bubblegum pop (he played a documentarian in Spice World). ”I like doing things that I fancy,” he explains, dragging on an American Spirit cigarette. ”Usually that means doing something different from what I last did.”

The chameleon’s latest role is voicing the bleach-blond Beelzebub on NBC’s new animated series God, the Devil and Bob. The premise: God (James Garner) wants to chuck Earth in the cosmic trash bin and start over. Enter Bob (3rd Rock from the Sun‘s French Stewart), a dim-witted auto-assembly-line worker elected to save humanity — if the devil doesn’t trip him up first. ”It’s my sense of humor,” Cumming says. ”God drinks beer, and [in one episode] Martha Stewart comes to redecorate hell.”

Cumming, who has a devilish habit of stealing props from the projects he works on (he was caught red-handed trying to ”pinch” his crown from the recent feature Titus), nabbed the satanic role after Robert Downey Jr. dropped out of God last summer (due to his impending sentencing for previous drug problems). ”There’s something about Alan that’s like this gentle, sweet 5-year-old,” says French Stewart. ”And then there’s this side of him that’s sort of elfin and perverse.”

The slight, classically trained actor with heavenly eyelashes enjoys a multi-faceted lifestyle, too. Cumming jets between L.A. and his homes in New York and London, where he maintains a ”massive garden”; he’s working on both a novel and a screenplay about relationships (”it’s like Woody Allen meets Cassavetes”); and he’ll soon show up on the big screen as both the Great Gazoo and Mick Jagged in The Flintstones In Viva Rock Vegas.

Like all good workaholics, Cumming has a system to keep himself sane: a color-coded schedule. Last summer, the actor was working simultaneously on God, Flintstones, and ABC’s Annie. ”I had a big board in my living room, and my assistant had three different colors for each project,” he recalls. ”Literally, I’d wake up and go, ‘What color am I today?”’ We’re guessing tickled pink.

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