Sir Billi

He began his theatrical career as an extra in the chorus, playing bit parts, and modeling. From those modest beginnings, he has become an international film icon. Many believe that his talent and appeal continue to improve with time.

His humble beginnings, growing up in a working class neighborhood in Edinburgh, gave no indication of the achievements that were destined to come. Sean was born into a working class family in August of 1930. The oldest of two boys, he spent much of his youth working at menial jobs, just to get by. He left school at an early age and went to work fulltime.

At sixteen, he enlisted in the Royal Navy. Like many young men in the Navy, he opted for a tattoo. However, unlike many tattoos, his were not frivolous - his tattoos reflect two of his lifelong commitments: his family and Scotland. After six decades, his tattoos still reflect those two ideas: One tattoo is a tribute to his parents and reads "Mum and Dad," and the other is self explanatory, "Scotland Forever."

After three years of Naval service, a long bout with a stomach ulcer shortened his "naval career". He returned to Edinburgh and seemed to settle into a life of hard work: bricklayer, lifeguard, and coffin polisher. Sean spent much of his free time bodybuilding, a pastime that eventually started his acting career. His hobby of bodybuilding culminated in a bid for the 1950 Mr. Universe title where he placed third.

From his early acting days until his first superstar role, Sean's stardom was certainly not an over-night success story. From his first work in modeling, bit theatrical parts, and chorus appearances, it was almost eight years before he was cast opposite Lana Turner in Another Time, Another Place (1958). It would be another four years before he first uttered those unforgettable words, "Bond, James Bond."

Connery skyrocketed to international fame as the suave, confident (and many say definitive) Secret Agent 007 in six of Ian Fleming's Bond movies over the next decade: Dr. No (1962), Goldfinger (1964), From Russia, With Love (1964), Thunderball (1965), and You Only Live Twice (1967), and Diamonds are Forever (1971).

He then broadened his career with an Agatha Christie whodunit, Murder on the Orient Express (1974), John Huston's adaptation of Rudyard Kipling's adventure, The Man Who Would Be King (1975), the medieval romance, Robin and Marian (1976), and Peter Hyams' sci-fi film, Outland (1981). He resurfaced as a much wiser and more mature Bond in the 1983 adventure, Never Say Never Again.

The 90's brought such great films as The Hunt for Red October (1990, as a Russian sub commander); and 1993's Rising Sun (as an expert in all things Japanese); Dragonheart (1996); and the successful contemporary action dramas Just Cause (1995); and The Rock (1996). In 1999, Connery starred in and produced (Fountainbridge Films) Entrapment, a love story-thriller, costarring Catherine Zeta-Jones.

 
 

The year 2000 brought what many have said to be one of his best films, Finding Forrester. Sean's latest movie "The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen" was released in 2003.

Many critics and fans alike have said that the quality of his acting has only improved with age. Certainly his personal appeal has. In 1989, at almost 60 years of age he was voted People Magazine's "Sexiest Man Alive." When advised of the award, Sean seemed to be unaffected as he replied, "Well there aren't many sexy dead men, are there."

Recruiting a legend for husband and wife team Sascha and Tessa Hartmann was quite literally a dream come true.

"We approached a mutual friend of Sir Sean's and asked if he would be so kind as to forward a package to Sir Sean for consideration. He agreed and we waited nervously. We heard nothing for a few weeks, feeling slightly disappointed until my mobile rang late one Friday evening! It was Sir Sean. At first I thought it was a joke and as he continued to speak the realization set in that it was actually him calling from the Bahamas," explains Tessa Hartmann, producer.

"He explained that his grandchildren had taken the DVD from him home in the Bahamas back with them to California, without his knowledge, they loved it so much. When word finally got back to him about what had happened, he called us straight away and we met in Scotland several weeks later to present and discuss the project. That was 5 years ago and we have been working together ever since!"

The appeal for Sir Sean wasn't just the originality of the story and characters that Sascha had created, it was the fact that it was being produced in Scotland. Sir Sean said: "It was important to me there was a Scottish element in terms of production and content. In many ways the landmarks used in Sir Billi, even though imaginary, remind me of my time filming 'Highlander'. We did that in the north of Scotland where there are great beaches and spectacular countryside. There's something for everyone in Sir Billi and I'm certain it's going to be something special!"

"It is an honour and indeed privilege to have worked with Sir Sean over these last few years. He is the consummate professional in every way. We are indebted to him for his support, ideas, passion and indeed faith in this production!" stated Tessa.

 
Born in 1965 in Perthshire, Scotland, Alan trained at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama. On the New York stage he has appeared in Elle (which he also adapted), Design For Living and Cabaret (for which he won the Tony, Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle, Theater World, New York Press, FANY and New York Public Advocate's Awards). In London: Hamlet at the Donmar Warehouse (TMA Best Actor award and Shakespeare Globe nomination), Cabaret (Olivier nomination), La Bete (Olivier nomination), Conquest of the South Pole (Olivier nomination) and seasons with the RSC and RNT, where he won an Olivier Award for his performance in Accidental Death of an Anarchist (which he also co-adapted).

Alan is an accomplished writer, director and producer with projects such as 'The Anniversary Party' (with Jennifer Jason Leigh) and two short films entitled 'Butter' and 'Burn Your Phone'. His other acting credits include X2: X-Men United, Spy Kids 3, Nicholas Nickleby, Josie and the Pussycats, Company Man, Titus, Urbania, Eyes Wide Shut, Emma, Circle of Friends, Goldeneye and Buddy.

Alan is currently shooting the role of Alexis in the movie Burlesque, opposite Cher and Christina Aguilera, as well as playing Eli Gold in an arc on the hit CBS series The Good Wife, opposite Julianna Marguiles and Chris Noth.

Alan will play the Green Goblin in the new Broadway show Spiderman:Turn Off The Dark, with music by Bono and the Edge and direction by Julie Taymor. Performances begin in fall 2010 at the Hilton Theatre.
In Sir Billi, Alan takes on the role of Sir Billi's best friend and companion 'Gordon the Goat'. Faced with an indentity crisis, Gordon is a goat who think's he's a dog! "We were always huge fans of Alan Cumming, being a Scot and such an accomplished actor and innovator. When we came to cast the role of Gordon the Goat there was only ever one name we had in mind - Alan. From the moment we recorded his vocal in New York, I knew then we were absolutely right - he is the only man for the goat and his performance is just classic. It's one of those roles that you simply have to see to truly appreciate the subtle nuances in his comic and 'dry' delivery - very apt for the personality of Gordon the Goat! He does steal the show in a few scenes!" Stated Sascha Hartmann.

He resides in New York City and has a long-running website, alancumming.com, where you can find the latest information on everything he's involved with, from acting projects to charitable organizations.