Video Release--March 13, 2001



One of the most talked-about movies of the 2000 Sundance Film Festival, this film, directed by Jon Shear, recalls the edgy, aggressively-political qualities of early '90s queer cinema such as Poison (1991) and Swoon (1991). Dashing young yuppie Charlie (Dan Futterman) is losing control of his life after the violent death of his longtime companion Chris (Matt Keeslar). He wanders the neon-drenched streets of Manhattan at night as if he were a wraith. Alone in his apartment, he can hear his upstairs neighbors (Bill Sage and Megan Dodds) engage in noisy lovemaking that leaves him lonely, frustrated, and aroused. Later, at a bar with the amorous couple, the trio get into a loud, ugly argument about public displays of affection. Around this same time, Charlie notices a mysterious, tattooed stranger, and the two exchange looks. Intrigued, Charlie sets out looking for the man, and in the process, he launches himself on a nightmarish journey through the underside of New York. He happens upon an increasingly odd array of people, each telling progressively more bizarre tales that are purportedly true. German actress Barbara Sukowa appears in a cameo in which she tells Charlie of a sexual tryst she had in a bar's restroom. Alan Cuming appears as a friend who has a crush on Charlie, while Lothaire Bluteau plays a stammering bum. Soon reality and fiction, straight and gay all fuse and blur in Charlie's increasingly troubled psyche. -- Jonathan Crow, All Movie Guide


Dan Futterman ... Charlie
Alan Cumming ... Brett
Matt Keeslar ... Chris
Josh Hamilton ... Matt
Bill Sage ... Chuck


Official Site
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Sundance Film Festival Entry
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Outfest 2000
Clips and interviews
Check Out Urbania
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Variety Article
Velvet's interview w/Dan Futterman
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AICN Review
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"...I myself was a huge fan of his [Alan Cumming] having seen Cabaret in its original incarnation and was overwhelmed when the great Mr. Cumming deigned to take a part in my small film. (I actually didn't believe it was true until I saw him on set). As one might hope, he was a truly gracious artist and great to work with and his performance is extraordinary. Alan filmed our movie in December of 1998. He had taken a break to film Titus in Rome and filmed with us during the day as he was going back into the show at night and in between filming and Cabaret, he flew down to Washington DC to do the Kennedy Center honors. Whew. I think he was surviving on no sleep..."


On September 16, 2000, a group of Alan fans gathered in New York for a viewing of Urbania. Afterward, we met with the producer, Stephanie Golden, and the director, Jon Shear, for a Q&A. Here are some notes from that meeting:

We met up with Stephanie and Jon Shear (the director) in the theatre after the movie. We talked with Jon only briefly as he had to go to the Anjelika (sp?) to make some adjustments in the theatre.

Stephanie and Jon seemed to have been working closely with the theatres to make sure everything was set up properly (sound, picture, etc). The theatre where we saw the movie (in Chelsea) was very accomodating: they moved it to a larger theatre after it had been selling out in the smaller one and also to get the Dolby Sound.

We then headed uptown for our chat with Stephanie. She was extremely forthcoming with information (i.e. the Alan type) and more than happy to discuss the film with us.

Here's some background on the film: Jon and Stephanie have known each other for many years, which is how she came to be the producer. Jon originally starred (as Charlie) in the theatre production of "Urban Folk Tales". He later adapted it for the screen. In the Spring of 1998, they held a reading for it, which included Dan Futterman in the role of Charlie. They decided they really wanted Dan for the role, and Dan agreed to do it. He could only give them 3 weeks in December of '98 (while on break from his TV show "Judging Amy"). So, they raced to get the funds and the actors together for the span of time that they had to film the movie.

They used Dan's agency to fill some of the other roles, then went to ICM (one of the larger talent agencies) to get the rest of the actors. At ICM, they got in touch with Actor X (whom can not be named) who wanted the role of Brett. In the meantime, Paul Martino, Alan's agent, got hold of the script and told them that Alan might be interested in the role of Brett, and he would get back to them the next day. So, they put Actor X on hold, and were delighted to hear the next day that Alan wanted the role. So, it went to Alan instead of Actor X.

Alan filmed his part in 2 days, while doing Cabaret at night. He got up at 6:00 AM, and was going on no sleep. He took frequent naps on the couch.

Alan was paid scale ($250/day) due to the small budget.

The wardrobe budget was miniscule. Alan actually only wears about 5 pieces of clothing in the film total (including pajamas and a bathrobe).

It was Alan's choice to do an American accent for the role, but it was never really an issue. Stephanie explained that the character was American, and while they could have made him Scottish, (a) Scottish accents are difficult to understand and (b) it would have been hard to differentiate between the character and Alan.

Do you have any trivia, pictures, or links to add? Let me know!