Entertainment

Schoolboy cheater story ‘pushes all our buttons’ – Cumming

Actor Alan Cumming said the story of a schoolboy con artist “pushes all our buttons” for Scots as a film about the wrong pupil made its European premiere at the Glasgow Film Festival.

y Old School tells the story of Brian MacKinnon, who in 1993, at the age of 32, posed as a 17-year-old named Brandon Lee in order to re-enroll as a student and repeat his sixth form at his old school, Bearsden Academy.

His deception was not discovered until 1995, after he had received five A-grade highers and a place at Dundee University Medical School.

Cumming lip-synched to the words of an audio interview MacKinnon granted the director and his former classmate Jono McLeod, as MacKinnon did not want to appear on camera.

It’s a Glasgow film so it’s great that the first live audience is seeing it in GlasgowAlan Cumming

On the red carpet at the film’s European premiere at the Glasgow Film Festival, Cumming told the PA news agency: “It’s one of those great Scottish legend stories like Whiskey Galore or something.

“I think it’s because Scots think we’re smart, we don’t think we can be cheated but we were so we’re kind of amazed by that but at the same time we’re kind of full of admiration for someone who could pull off such a great scam.

“Well I think it’s a really great Scottish story because it’s pushing all our buttons and it’s not over yet. This film is about the people who experienced it, his classmates, what their stories were, what their experiences were.”

Cumming, who has starred in films such as GoldenEye and X2, said he has been involved with the story for many years as he wanted to do a narrative film and play Brandon Lee 25 years ago, but it never happened.

However, he said, “This is a much better version of the film that I would have made and I love that life is like that, characters come back to you and you get to tell the story eventually.”

The film had its world premiere at the Sundance Festival earlier this year, but that was held virtually.

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The film also contains animation (Hopscotch Films/PA)

When the film was shown at the Glasgow Film Theater on Thursday night, Cumming said: “That’s actually the live world premiere tonight, it’s a Glasgow film so it’s great that the first live audience is seeing it in Glasgow.”

While MacKinnon was initially seen as something of a computer geek, he made friends at Bearsden Academy and later even starred in a school production of South Pacific.

Although he got a place at university, he dropped out at Christmas 1994 for personal reasons and was admitted again after the scandal became known.

Director Jono McLeod returned to his old school in East Dunbartonshire to make the film, which blends teachers’ and classmates’ memories with animation in a documentary hybrid with a soundtrack starring Lulu.

The singer also attended the premiere and said she was “fascinated” by the story and happy to be a part of the film.

Praising director Jono McLeod, she said: “I think it’s an amazing achievement for him to have this unusual story because it’s about Brandon Lee but also about his classmates.

“You might be thinking oh he scammed all these people not to like him, people are going to hate him, but actually they don’t, and he’s actually been very helpful to a few people and you wouldn’t know that , if you haven’t seen that movie.”

https://www.independent.ie/entertainment/story-of-schoolboy-imposter-pushes-all-our-buttons-cumming-41409633.html Schoolboy cheater story ‘pushes all our buttons’ – Cumming

Fry Electronics Team

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