Wednesday, April 25, 2012

John Cusack Plays Edgar Allan Poe In The Raven

John Cusack enters the press conference dressed in black from head to toe. It’s appropriate for the moment.   After all, he’s there to discuss his role in the movie, The Raven, a fictional thriller about the last days of Edgar Allan Poe’s life, set to open April 27.  Ironically black is not only a favorite color of Cusack’s, it apparently, was also Poe’s color of choice.

To be sure this drama is grizzly and gory. It’s dark and deliciously ghoulish. You wouldn’t expect anything less from a movie about Poe.

The movie goes something like this.

A brutal killing spree terrorizes 19th century Baltimore.  The plot thickens because the killer is using methods from Edgar Allan Poe’s stories. Poe must team up with a young Baltimore detective seeking to make a name for himself. Poe becomes even more invested in finding the killer when his lover, Emily Hamilton (Alice Eve), becomes a target.


It’s been a minute since Cusack did a real thriller. His more recent films included the comedy Hot Tub Time Machine and the sci-fi adventure 2012.  But, he puts his own magic on the role of the mysterious Poe who wrote such memorable stories as The Murders in the Rue Morgue and, of course, The Raven.

To prepare for the role, Cusack said he immersed himself in everything Poe by reading his poetry, letters and biographies.  To get more gaunt, he fasted and drank coffee.

When asked why he wanted to play Poe, Cusack said it was the role of a lifetime.

“The script was terrific,” said Cusack. “James (McTeigue, the director) and I went through it and pulled Poe’s own dialogue. I was obsessed and drove James crazy. I wanted to use his words and vernacular.”

Shooting in Belgrade and Budapest helped Cusack to development the character more fully.

"It was perfect for Poe,” said Cusack, who recently shot The Paperboy and Frozen Ground. “It was winter. It was cold and intense. I didn't sleep and felt like a vampire."

When asked what his takeaway was after all of his research on Poe, Cusack didn’t hold his tongue.

“He was flawed and fucked up,” said Cusack. “He was so vain. He was theatrical and felt like he was at war with the world.”

Director James McTeigue has amassed a solid cast and constructed a superb gruesome thriller.

Buy a big bag of popcorn, your favorite drink and enjoy!

This is a good one! Cusack is exceptional!

The Raven, directed by McTeigue from a script by Ben Livingston and Hannah Shakespeare, stars Cusack, Luke Evans, Alice Eve, Brendan Gleeson and Oliver Jackson-Cohen.

The Raven, is rated R for bloody violence and grisly images; running Time: 110 minutes.

On the Donloe Scale, D (don’t bother), O (oh, no), N (needs work), L (likable), O (OK) and E (excellent), “The Raven” gets an O (OK).

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