Alan Cumming predicts film on notorious Scottish schoolboy imposter will 'captivate a global audience'

Hollywood and Broadway star Alan Cumming has predicted that a new film about a notorious schoolboy imposter is set to "captivate a global audience."

Monday, 10th January 2022, 3:31 pm
Alan Cumming's new film My Old School will be launched at the Sundance Film Festival this month. Picture Tommy Ga-Ken Wan

Speaking for the first time about the forthcoming drama-documentary on the 30-year-old who managed to enroll as a 16-year-old at his old school, Cumming said he had a long-time fascination with the true-life story.

He described it as a "great Scottish tale that gripped the entire nation when it first broke back in the 1990s."

Cumming will portray Brian Mackinnon, who adopted the false identity of Canadian teenager Brandon Lee to return to Bearsden Academy, will lip-synch a new interview he agreed to do with the film's director, Jono McLeod, a former classmate.

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He duped pupils and staff for two years until he was finally exposed after he had secured a place at Dundee University’s medical school.

The film will chart MacKinnon’s transformation, from a geeky newcomer at Bearsden Academy into one of its best-performing pupils, who even landed the lead role in the school musical.

His former classmates and teachers are also expected to recall the impact of his deception in the forthcoming film.

A promotional film, which offers the first glimpse of Cumming’s portrayal, sees him state: "The thing you have to do if you really want to prevail is do the unimaginable.”

It emerged at the weekend that My Old School – which is billed as “the astonishing true story of Scotland’s most notorious imposter” - would be premiered at Robert Redford’s Sundance Film Festival later this month.

Now it has been confirmed that McLeod’s film has been snapped up by leading British distributors Dogwoof for worldwide sales.

My Old School, which has seen McLeod use “period specific animation” inspired by the MTV high school series Daria to “evoke 1990s school life”, will also feature the legendary Scottish singer Lulu, who has recorded a new version of her 1967 hit single To Sir With Love, from the film of the name name.

Cumming said: “This documentary retells it from the point of view of the pupils and teachers it all happened to! Their experience, their truth and the legacy they still struggle with will, I believe, now captivate a global audience,” continued Cumming. “It’s told with a quirky sensitivity, humor and honesty. It’s a story that has always fascinated me and I am delighted to play a part in its telling.”

Posting a link to the promotional film on social media, Cumming added: “So excited that My Old School, the documentary by my pal Jono Macleod - in which I lip synch my entire performance! Yes, watch out all you @rupaulsdragrace bitches!- will have its world premiere at the Sundance film festival. “Check out this video with Jono talking you through the film. And, oh yes, burying the lede, Lulu sings the theme tune!!”Producers John Archer and Olivia Lichtenstein said: “This is a story that will remind you of your schooldays; an unforgettable tale told with warmth, verve and originality by Class 5C, who lived through this extraordinary deception and have never forgotten it. And now, neither will you.”

McLeod said: “That Dogwoof logo is a hallmark of quality in filmmaking so to have the chance to work with them on My Old School really is a dream come true.”