‘My Old School’ Trailer: Alan Cumming Voices Unprecedented Hoax in Doc

Exclusive: Jono McLeod directs the haunting and funny true crime documentary with a twist, in theaters July 22.

If you had the chance to redo your adolescence, would you take it?

Twisted true crime doc “My Old School” centers on Brandon Lee, a seemingly 16-year-old prodigy who enrolls himself at a prestigious high school outside of Glasgow, Scotland after claiming to have been privately tutored in Canada. The catch: Lee has multiple passports, like “retro” music, and physically stands out from his peers.

Director Jono McLeod interviewed the real-life Lee who set 1990s Scotland ablaze following a nationwide scandal. However, Lee refused to be filmed for the documentary, so his interview with him was lip-synced by famed actor Alan Cumming, who portrays Lee in the film. “My Old School” debuted at 2022 Sundance and will premiere in theaters July 22 with Magnolia Pictures distributing.

“Hiding in plain sight is about the best place you can hide,” Lee says (through Cumming) in the trailer, which IndieWire exclusively premieres. While there may be no crime, “technically,” to Lee’s deception, “My Old School” features interviews with his former classmates, with director McLeod also returning to his Bearsden Academy alma mater to revisit the infamous Lee legacy.

“It was 1993 and I was 15 years old when Brandon first walked into my high school class,” McLeod told IndieWire. “He was from Canada, had a strange accent and looked different to the rest of us kids. He was the class geek, basically. But as junior year progressed, he blossomed into one of the most popular kids in school. It would not be until after graduation that we’d discover the secret to his success from him.

McLeod continued, “Brandon agreed to record an interview with me on the condition that he didn’t have to appear on screen. I reckoned that using an actor to lip sync to that audio recording would be a fitting way to portray someone who may not be the most trustworthy storyteller. And when it came to casting that role, I was aware that Alan Cumming had been set to play Brandon in a 1990s film, which never got off the ground, so when I approached with the idea for this film, I think Alan was tickled that this part had found its way back to him after all that time. And I think he has met the challenge of inhabiting a character without being able to rely on his own voice from him. The result is this incredible performance that Alan has pulled off, it’s really breathtaking.”

IndieWire’s Ryan Lattanzio praised Cumming’s deft take on Lee, writing in the review, “It’s a marvelous and completely immersed turn as Cumming embodies, note for note, Lee’s verbal tics and gestures, and if you didn’t know this was a lip-synced performance (or weren’t familiar with Cumming’s own voice), the gimmick would probably go over your head.”

Cumming’s “one-of-a-kind performance,” as Lattanzio wrote, ushers in a “new kind of acting that you can easily imagine serving as the vessel for more true-crime stories to come.”

“My Old School” premieres July 22 in theaters.

Check out the exclusive trailer below.

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