Alan Cumming had suicidal thoughts the day he auditioned to be Bond villain Boris Grishenko in ‘GoldenEye’

Alan Cumming in 'GoldenEye'
Alan Cumming in ‘GoldenEye’ MGM
  • Alan Cumming played Russian villain Boris Grishenko in “GoldenEye.”
  • He revealed in his new memoir that he’d had suicidal thoughts the day of his audition.
  • He said “feigning” mental stability in front of the Bond producers may be one of his “greatest performances ever.”

Alan Cumming revealed the dark circumstances around his audition for 1995’s “GoldenEye,” in his recently-released memoir “Baggage: Tales from a Fully Packed Life.”

Cumming ultimately landed the role of the devious Russian computer whiz Boris Grishenko in the film that marked Pierce Brosnan’s first outing as Bond. Still, he wrote in his memoir, released back in October, that he’d auditioned while having suicidal thoughts brought on by his troubled childhood.

“I had auditioned for the part the summer before on one of the darkest days in my personal fog. The day, in fact, when the shadow of suicide had entered my mental periphery,” Cumming wrote.

“I was probably in the room about half an hour, chatting with the director, Martin Campbell, and one of the producers, Barbara Broccoli, but my feigning of enthusiasm, lucidity, and, especially, emotional balance in those 30 minutes may rank as one of my greatest performances ever.”

Alan cumming
Alan Cumming’s memoir is entitled: ‘Baggage: Tales from a Fully Packed Life.’ Dimitrios Kambouris / Getty Images

Cumming’s father, a forester in east Scotland, was emotionally and physically abusive to him and his older brother, the actor said. The actor explained earlier in his memoir that he rented a room in Primrose Hill in London away from his then-wife actress Hilary Lyon to face his personal demons. 

“On waking one morning I discovered the shadow of suicide had glided into my periphery,” he wrote. “As a child, dealing with my father’s constant sadism, I had flirted with the idea of suicide. But it wasn’t my life I wanted to end, just my situation. And I felt the same again now.”

Cumming wrote that he never contacted his father again after returning to confront him with his older brother, which brought them closure.

“We had not merely faced our demon; we had also invited him to engage about why he might have behaved the way he had. In our hearts, I don’t think we really expected an answer,” he wrote. “The act of standing up to him was empowering enough. I have feared nothing since.”

Speaking to “CBS Mornings” in October to promote the memoir, Cumming said he realized when writing the book that his acting career allowed him to overcome the trauma he’d faced in his childhood.

“Oh my God, Hollywood saved me,” he said then.