Alan Cumming on what its like playing Nightcrawler

Alan Cumming on his dramatic ''X-Men'' makeover. After four hours in makeup, he's ready to chat up a Storm by EW's William Keck & Hillary Atkin
Help wanted: a shrink for the cast of summer's ''X-Men'' sequel, ''X2.'' ''We offer each other blue-people counseling,'' says Alan Cumming, who plays the teleporting Nightcrawler opposite Rebecca Romijn-Stamos' returning cobalt baddie, Mystique. ''The airbrushing is an absolute nightmare from hell!'' (In the X-Men comics, Nightcrawler is Mystique's son, but the film doesn't address the connection.) The ''Femme Fatale'' actress is thrilled to commiserate with someone about the four-hour process. ''Our makeup trailers are next to each other,'' she says, ''so we whine and complain. We're not allowed to do anything. We can't even go to lunch with everybody, so we just sit in our trailers and watch movies and hang out.''

For his part, Cumming can take consolation in the affections of Halle Berry's heroine, Storm. (''Nightcrawler and I have a little flirtation going on,'' hints the Oscar-winning Bond girl. ''It's sort of the undertone of our relationship.'') But don't mistake Cumming's character for a pure romantic: ''I have this long, black, oily tail that I kill secret servicemen with. I'm already having nightmares about children penetrating my action figure with its own tail.'' That's enough to make anybody blue.
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