John Cusack channeled Edgar Allen Poe in his latest film, The Raven, which is out tomorrow. When we caught up with him at a recent press day for the movie, he told us the transformation wasn't easy. John also talked about the research and late nights that helped contribute to his Poe-like appearance. He had a few things to say about the young actors he's recently worked with, including Zac Efron, Vanessa Hudgens and Emma Roberts, and we flashed back to his early days on the big screen to ask which of his '80s classics he would love to see remade!View Transcript »
i wanted to be as gaunt as I could. i got down to a really, really underweight, and I didn't sleep much They are much more together then I was when i was that age. I was not as together as they are. You did a ton of research going into this role. What exactly did you do, and what was the most interesting thing you learned about Edgar Allan Poe? I read all of his books and I read all of his letters, and biographies, and I watch documentaries, and I watch the old hammer movies, with Vincent Price and then you just try to trace where he's affected culture and all these different ways. Read his love poems, like Annabelle Lee and Eulalie. And so many of the short stories, and The Raven and a lot of his You mention having to alter your physique quite a bit. It's actually kind of bummed I'm not seeing the goatee. It's itchy. Yeah, yeah, I totally understand. I'm a comfort kind of, I just like to be comfortable, it's a little itchy. So what else did you do to alter your physique? I sort of just got 'cause he was really living hand to mouth, and even though he was really famous from his poems, he couldn't make any money as a writer because there was no copyright. So, he was, you know, had a really bad problem with the drink, so I wanted to be as gaunt as I could and look kind of hungry so I got down to a really, really underweight. And I didn't sleep much so I looked a little kind of probably a little. Did you keep yourself up night just so you could - Sort of, yeah, sort of like was a bender. What, if any, of your '80s classics would you love to remake, and who would you want to play your part? I don't really look back that much, weirdly. Okay. But, you know, I think it would be fun if anyone did. I don't know I wouldn't mind if anyone wanted to do another version of it. I'd be like, "Oh they got it right, cool."now you actually got to work with two former High School Musical stars, Zac Effron in Paper Boy and Zack Hutchinson in Frozen Ground. As being like two child actors who are now stepping into more adult roles. What was it like working with them? I'm always sort of amazed, and I also just worked with Emma Roberts. Do you know Emma? Yeah, yeah, I saw that too. I was sort of amazed, because they're all much more together than I was when I was that age. I was not as together as they are. But they're like really sort of sophisticated and self-possessed. But they're all really, really funny and really nice and really serious about what they want to do and they want to do a good job. I really liked all three of them. Strangely - I haven't met any younger actors that I thought - that I haven't really, really liked. Because I was very impressed by all three of them. Now you collaborated with James the director quite a bit on this. Can you think of any one thing in the That it's up to you, from conversations the two of you have had. That scene in the bar in the beginning, where he's walking in and he sort of knows what's going to happen to him We sort of worked on that with James and the writers to show all the different sides of pose. dark side, in a way, in one scene. And I thought that was a good sort of showcase for the acting and the writing and the direction, and it set the table for for the rest of the story. That was pretty good.