Interview With “Dante’s Cove” Actress Erin Cummings


AE: So what’s the difference between kissing Michelle and Nadine?
EC: Oh, man [pauses], I don’t know how to answer that! Well, definitely with Nadine — because the nature of our relationship was a lot more loving and sweet — I always felt like after Nadine and I kissed that everybody would just want to go, “Aww.” I felt really sweet with her. I felt very girlie and feminine. I just felt like a girl in love when I was with Nadine. When I’m with Michelle I feel like an animal. When I kiss Nadine it’s very girlie and sweet and loving; when I kiss Michelle, it’s just fireworks and passion.

AE: So any thoughts post doing that sex scene like, “Hmm, I wonder?”
EC: [Laughs.] You sound like Meredith [Kadlec]. … I think that women are beautiful, I definitely can look at another woman and get turned on in the sense of, “Wow, she is gorgeous.” I don’t think I would ever be able to have a relationship with a woman, though, because I do love men and I enjoy the male/female dynamic as far my personal relationships go.

AE: So many actors and actresses who have played queer roles have always had to really ream it into the press “but I’m straight, I’m straight,” and you aren’t not like that. You sound really confident and you sound very pro-gay with friends.
EC: Absolutely.

AE: I think that’s awesome and I can understand why you’d want to do the Dante’s Cove role.
EC: Well, for me I was just thinking about it and somebody was like, “Well what if people think that you’re gay?” And I said, “You know, to me being gay isn’t a bad thing.” Now if people thought that I was a child molester, I’d be upset. There are some labels that I would upset about having — bitch is not one of them and lesbian is not one of them [laughs]. So if people want to say that I’m a lesbian, believe me, I don’t care [laughs]. That’s not a concern of mine at all.

AE: That’s great that you have such a strong connection to the queer community.
EC: I feel like the gay and lesbian community has really embraced me, even before the show.

AE: Have you been recognized by any of your lesbian fans yet?
EC: No, but I haven’t really been out that much. Like my roommate, back when he was single, we used to be staples at [West Hollywood queer hotspots] Here and the Abbey, but I haven’t really been out that much because now that he’s practically married — speaking of which, I’m getting ordained as minister and I’m marrying my gay roommates. How fantastic is that.

AE: That’s so cool.
EC: Yeah, I’m so excited. So no, I haven’t been. I’m wondering where the lesbians fans are [laughs]. The show is a lot more popular on the East Coast than it is here, because in New York you can get it as a 24-hour channel. There’s not as much bureaucratic red tape in those cable companies as there is out here, so I’ve gotten a couple ladies from myspace. I’m also in the top eight for Dante’s Cove in our friends section, so people who go to the Dante’s Cove myspace page [] and then they can see.

AE: Where are you from originally? You’re an Air Force brat, right? So are you from everywhere?
EC: Well, I say that I’m from Texas just because that’s where I spent most of my time growing up. I was born in South Louisiana and then moved to Omaha, Nebraska, and then Seoul, Korea, which was fantastic. When I look back over the events of my life at what shaped me, the Kilgore Rangerettes was huge, and living in Korea at the age of 6 and 7 was also huge as far as just being open and just being like, “Oh, wow, there’s a world outside of my tiny little Texas town. There are people who look different and there are other languages and cultures.” It really just made me open to more things and experiences, and it made me more curious about the world and want to get the hell out of Dodge as soon as I graduated.

AE: Ultimately, what’s your goal as an actor? What roles are you aspiring to and where do you see yourself going?
EC: I want everything [laughs]. Realistically, I feel like that is something [that] is always changing. The more doors that are opened for me or the more doors that I kick down myself, there’s more doors … waiting on the horizon and more opportunities.

I would definitely always want to be working in the three mediums. People ask me, “Well what do you want to focus on: television, film or theater?” And I think that to ask an actor that is like asking someone, “Which of your limbs do you want to live without?” And that’s how I really feel about acting.

In a perfect world, I would love to do a really strong television role, something like a West Wing or Weeds, [which] is one of my new favorite TV shows. Just do a well-respected, strong television show and then during the hiatus go off and do films that really captivate people or tell a story. And then every other year or so … go off to London and do a show in the West End or go to Broadway and do a play. I just want to be Jessica Tandy.

I love show business and I love Hollywood, and I just want to keep working and I want to keep telling stories that people want to watch. And I think as members of the film community, we have a great responsibility to hold a mirror up to society and to reflect what’s going on in the world and the viewpoints of people. You know, when The Cosby Show first came on, America had never seen a successful black family where the husband was doctor and the wife was a lawyer. … It sort of changed the perception of the black, suburban household in America, and I think that is in a positive way. As members of the entertainment community, we have a responsibility to the world to tell stories that need to be told and I just want to keep telling stories.

AE: I want to see you with some gray hair like Jessica Tandy.
EC: [Laughs.] Exactly. … The fifth female character in Shakespeare is Queen Margaret in Richard III, and I have been wanting to play that for like five years. I’m just waiting [giggles]. Come on 65, ’cause I want to play Queen Margaret [laughs].

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