‘America feels like it’s always teetering on the edge of awfulness’

Has America regressed since Obama? “Oh my God, yes,” he said. “No matter what your leanings, it was a time of great positivity and hope. Now, I don’t think there’s any hope. Certainly no positivity. [2008] was the turning point, and I don’t think one can underestimate how little the race map was dealt with during Obama’s tenure.

“The whole, ‘When they go low, we go high’ – I’m not sure I agree with that, in this case. Because getting high is not talking about it. And what happened was that as soon as he came out we found out that we were in an even more racist country because while we had this black president the flames of racism were fanned. t was therefore a turn in the right direction and in the wrong direction.

Cumming’s mother-in-law is a Trump voter and he has made his feelings known. “I say, ‘Just so you know, I think you’re voting against me, against your son, against the poor, against people of color – you’re persecuting all those people. That’s all I want you to recognize. So it’s not going well, but I’m doing it…in a cute way.

His anti-Republican leanings have already seen him receive death threats on social media, and when would-be Twitter owner Elon Musk said he would allow Trump to return to the site, Cumming abruptly deleted his account (“The president has incited violence, and are you going to let him? It seems illegal”) Today he reaffirms an earlier promise that after a quarter of a century he will leave the country and will return to Britain if Trump comes back, maybe even if he doesn’t.

“Yeah, [I will]. I don’t think he’ll come back, but I still feel like I could leave. I don’t know, I worry about what’s going to happen in a few years, and I don’t know if there’s a place for me there. I don’t want to live in a country where I get death threats for posting on Instagram! Hands go up again. “Because it’s crazy.”

Publishing a second memoir in his mid-fifties may seem like the behavior of a wondrous ego or a debt-ridden publishing house, but Cumming’s life has taken enough turns to warrant a dozen volumes. He was born in Perthshire, Scotland, where his father, Alex, was the head forester of the Panmure estate on the Angus coast. There, Cumming, his loving mother, Mary Darling, and older brother, Tom, grew up in fear of Alex, who was violent and abusive towards boys, as well as a serial adulterer.

“I actually think that the prolonged period of tension before he delivered his beatings, while we were systematically inspected, reprimanded and humiliated, had a far worse effect than the actual beatings,” he wrote in his first autobiography, Not My Father’s Son. “My dad told me I was worthless, my mom that I was precious. They both couldn’t be right, but they evened out and I started to make up my mind, not just about myself, but on everything that was happening around me.

Alex would challenge his sons to increasingly difficult maintenance tasks around the estate, then beat them when they failed. Cumming escaped drama school, trained at what is now the Royal Conservatory of Scotland, and began a career that never lacked work.

By age 20, Cumming was married to actress Hilary Lyon, who would play Ophelia opposite her Hamlet at the Donmar Theater eight years later, the same year they divorced. The torture of his childhood caught up with him in his late twenties, when his sanity crumbled just as his screen career took off.

As he wrote in his second memoir, Baggage: Tales from a Fully Packed Life, even on the day of his GoldenEye audition in 1994, “the shadow of suicide had entered my mental periphery”. Yet he always got the villain role, a Russian computer geek. “The fact that I didn’t want to disappoint anyone by postponing or canceling the game says a lot about how little I valued myself at the time. Before, immediately after, and even during, I was a zombie.

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