Spotlight On: Erin Cummings
Our column, Spotlight On, will feature actors, musicians, artists, writers, and anyone we feel is up-and-coming, underrated or just needs a little bit more recognition. This entry focuses on an actress that has been struggling to break into the limelight for a while and hopefully will soon: Erin Cummings.
Born: July 19, 1977 in Huntsville, Texas, USA
Well-Known Projects: Spartacus, Mad Men, PanAm, Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins, Made in Jersey, Dollhouse, Nip/Tuck
Lesser-Known Projects: Bitch Slap, The Ropes, Detroit 1-8-7, Dark Horse, Scorpio Men on Prozac, The Anniversary, Rolling, Dante’s Cove
Comings Soon: Zarra’s Law, Eye of Winter, The Iceman
Erin Cummings began her career with guest spots in various television shows including Threshold, Charmed, The Bold and The Beautiful and Passions. In 2006 Cummings landed a role in the TV movie After Midnight: Life Behind Bars about L.A. bartenders. That same year she played Michelle in the TV series Dante’s Cove which ran for multiple seasons. In 2007 she appeared in the mockumentary Rolling about the lives of ecstasy users. Despite its low-budget quality, Cummings’s performance was realistic and well-suited to the film. She was also in a second mockumentary that year, A New Tomorrow, which aimed to satirize American politics.
In 2008 Erin had a small part in the film Welcome Home, Roscoe Jenkins with Martin Lawrence as well as small parts in other movies and television shows. It wasn’t until 2009 when Erin began nabbing bigger roles. She had a role in the comedy The Anniversary and the horror movie Dark House (part of Fangoria’s Fright Fest). It was her role as Hel in Bitch Slap that year, however, which gave Erin her first starring role. Bitch Slap is an action comedy that pays homage to the exploitation films of decades past. In it, Erin plays one of three beautiful but deadly females who seek to discover diamonds hidden in the dessert. The film comes complete with gratuitous love scenes, skimpy outfits, gore-filled fights, and a ridiculous plot. Bitch Slap isn’t considered a particularly good movie by most critics, but it is definitely an entertaining one and Erin Cummings stole the show as Hel, the cunning business executive who calls the shots.
After Bitch Slap Erin had a memorable role in Nip/Tuck in 2009 and a lead role in the movie Scorpio Men on Prozac in 2010. In 2010 Erin landed her biggest role yet: that of Sura in the Starz TV show Spartacus. Sura is the wife of Spartacus, a warrior kidnapped by the Romans and forced to become a gladiator in effort to win his and his wife’s freedom. Erin was perfect for the fiery and beautiful wife of the lead character and her face lends to the great emotion she emits for her husband on screen as she predicts danger and appears to him in his dreams and hallucinations even after being separated by the Romans. I could think of no other actress with the right look and attitude to have convincingly portrayed the one woman Spartacus will ever love.
After her run on Spartacus Erin appeared in a few shorts as well as in a guest spot on the hugely popular Mad Men. In 2010 she landed a role on the new television series Detroit 1-8-7 as Dr. Abbey Ward who works with Detroit’s homicide unit. Unfortunately, the show did not last past one season. Afterwards, Erin nabbed another television role, this time a guest spot on the retro drama PanAm as the beautiful but mentally unstable woman Ginny who creates love triangles all around her. Seeing Erin play the semi-crazy Ginny, a very different character from the intelligent and put-together Hel in Bitch Slap, gave us a taste of her range as an actress. 2012 saw Erin as one of the leads in Vin Diesel’s impressive webseries, The Ropes, about the lives of bouncers and club owners. In 2012 Erin had roles in two other television shows: Major Crimes (a spin-off of The Closer) and another show about the police force, Common Law. It seemed Erin had almost found the perfect role as a secondary character in Made in Jersey until that too, was cancelled.
While Erin Cummings has been able to show us glimpses of her range as an actress in a wide array of television shows and movies, she hasn’t had the break-out role she needs to make her a real star. Erin’s 2013 line-up in impressive, proving that this may be the year where she breaks into the limelight. First up is The Iceman (in theaters this May) about notorious contract killer Richard Kuklinski with Ray Liotta, Michael Shannon, and Winona Ryder. Erin has two other crime dramas in post-production at the moment: Zarra’s Law and Eye of Winter with Bryan Cranston, Logan Marshall-Green and Alice Eve.
Not only does Erin Cummings show impressive range in her acting abilities and have a unique beauty reminiscent of a 1950’s pin-up girl, but she is also a wonderful and sweet individual as well. Erin is the founder of Mittens For Detroit, a community initiative whose sole purpose is to collect and distribute new gloves and mittens to children and adults in the city of Detroit. She has been very active both in fundraising and speaking on behalf of the organization. I myself had the pleasure of meeting Ms. Cummings at New York Comic Con in 2011. Even though I did not pay for an autograph or photo with her, she gladly engaged me and another HOG writer, Shifty, in conversation. She genuinely seemed interested in talking to her fans and readily joked around, answering questions about her Spartacus work-out routine. I admit that both of us have been smitten with Ms. Cummings ever since.
Erin Cummings is one of those actresses that has dipped her feet in many pools but hasn’t found her stronghold just yet. Her roles in Bitch Slap and on the television show Spartacus proved her ability to not only act and look pretty, but to kick butt as well. She is a talented, lovely, and most of all friendly and warm individual and it’s only a matter of time before she lands the break-out role that she deserves.