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John Cusack LaRueBluntly Speaking | John Cusack






Bluntly speaking? John Cusack's like an old pal...he brings a comforting smile to the face, like a room temperature Butterfinger bar, a new Jon Brion score, or a '30's Gangster Film Fest at a dark old theater where you can imagine the film could have once actually premiered.

Johnnie and I also have so very much in common, sleepless eves, music collections, even the kickboxing - till my motorcycle accident made that a no-go on this end. And heck, I own almost every slice of film the guy's ever made - including Elvis Stories (ahem), though excluding America's Sweethearts (one's loyalty has a point), and I lend out Max as homework to the so-called Cusack fans among my inner soireererers.

Last month Cusack blew into town to promote his new film Must Like Dogs, which was to open well after we'd meet (he had to run off to film some artsy film in Hamburgslavokia) - so natch, when the J-Man calls with a "time slot," one runs. Well, slips into the Dudley the Beetle, and shimmies over to a swanky hotel while a blasting Grosse Point Blank soundtrack punctuates the canyon route...

Mr. Cusack was his usual gloriously open self, dressed like a manlyberry studmuffin, sporting a swell black suit with a charcoal-y shirt. Smart in more ways than one this fella is. The new film's about internet dating, so there's some fun stuff in this yarn! Both film-wise and personal-wise. Of course his description of "the girl he's looking for" is me, but he's John Cusack and I am lowly press. And the lad's all about White Sox and I'm Red Sox by birth...I'm Swiss-Hungarian Gypsy Protestant and he's a card-carrying Irish Catholic... and so forth - alas our love would never work. Though, I have more Clash stuff than him to lure him by. "Wanna watch some circa 1983 backstage footage little boy"...sprung to mind - but I was good, no scaring (or scarring) the celebs for this chickbabe.

You came back to the romantic comedy. What was it about Must Like Dogs that grabbed you?

I was going to go off and do a film in Europe, and the way things happen in the film business so many times, it fell apart at the last minute, and I thought, 'I'm going to be sitting home right now not working,' and I hadn't had any of my own projects ready, and I then I had a call saying, 'You've got to meet this guy Gary Goldberg [director]. He really wants to talk to you.' So I went and met him for lunch and he seemed like a great guy, and I read the script. So it just sort of came out of the blue, and they asked me to do it, but I thought the combination of Gary and Diane Lane and Chris Plummer - that's a pretty great pedigree, so I was kind of happy to be asked to join such a great group.

Fair enough. You're all over in terms of character choices. When you are creating a character do you say, "Well the audience is just going to have to accept some things?"

Yeah but then, mostly, you try to make it as real as you can. Real life seems to be even stranger than most movies - right! I don't know about that one little plot point {in the film} but the rest of it seems to be rooted in everyday life. But, I guess there is that element of suspension of disbelief though when you go to any movie.

Do you have a favorite movie you're obsessed about like "the guy in the movie"?

Yeah, I've watched Sweet Smell of Success like that for a long time. I don't know why, but that movie was fascinating to me, and there are certain pop songs I listen to, and once I get them into my head I listen to them two or three hundred times, I just keep going. I'll get a list of stuff and I'll just keep doing it, so I am actually like the character in that way. I think everybody does that with movies, don't they? The good ones. [I believe he winked!]

So where does one meet somebody in this modern day and age? You think it's the internet that people turn to like in the film? Can you talk about your own relationship to the internet?

I'm not really that much of an internet person, I use it for final drafting for screenplays, and then e mail, and then I call my assistant all the time and say, 'My computer's down, can you have someone come fix it.' And then she comes by and they turn it on, and that was the problem with the computer. [laughter] So I'm not really that good with it, but I do the Google thing where you can Google your name and then find out what the press is saying about you. I've done that a few times just to see if they're saying anything - I did check out some of those online dating things and some of those chat rooms, and I was amazed at how intense that is.

When you checked out the dating websites, did you create a profile for yourself, and if not what characteristics would you put in there for other people to know about you?

Boy, I could go so many different ways with that answer. Let me think, which way do I go? I think I need to drink more coffee. What characteristics would I put into a dating profile? 'White Supremacist!' [ <- he was TOTALLY JOKING no hate mail folks] No, I'm sorry, let me take that back. That wasn't' right. I don't know if I would ever put stuff online. [ a shyness creeps in the room]

Yeah, but if you did, I mean you'd probably have to leave out the, "Big Movie Star" part out of job description - because that's just not fair.

And not true [he smiles]. What would my profile … I would probably put 'partial insomniac,' so I stay up late half my life, what else would I put? I don't know, what would I put? I don't think I would ever put my information online, I can't even think of it. I don't want to get a date online. I'm trying to think of what I would put online. I'd probably put something just really funny and absurd, and then if somebody approached me with something that was equally funny, then I would know I would like them. I would try to be funny, and then if someone was funny back then I would think, 'Oh there must be something interesting there.' What would I put? 'Nice person, sometimes brooding, sometimes nice,' 'Black Irish basket case.' [He laughs] That hasn't been the way it's happened with me. It's always come out of the blue.

Do you think people are more dishonest today, they put false profiles on the internet?

They are probably as dishonest on the internet as they are in real life, right? They're probably a bunch of people who are really honest online - don't you think? They'd be about the same ratio of liars on the internet, because people go onto bars and talk trash all the time, and present false versions of themselves, and then you realize who they are. But it is real weird, you can hide behind the typewriter.

Good point! Do you think it has gotten too impersonal?

It is pretty bizarre, but the whole instant messaging - text thing, it can replace the phone, but you can keep things going it seems like. You can stay in touch with people, even if they are all over the world, so in a sense it's great because you can just write anybody a note any time and it seems fantastic. But there are more and more of those ads for these things - "We're going to find your perfect mate if you put all your information with us." There's more and more of those things on TV, isn't there? Late at night when we're sitting there not trying to sleep. They're all over the place.

So do your friends and family tried to fix you up?

Yeah, all of my sisters pretty much around the clock have tried to fix me up with the wrong women.

What do you think the dreaded "dating scene" will be like ten years from now?

I don't know, maybe there'll be people just scan their chips with each other and get their information. I don't know that much about it. I didn't even know that blogs were as crazy as they were - just the internet itself is so wild, I guess you have people be able to go into chat rooms maybe and see each other with cameras and give each other body scans, who knows. It'll get good, right?

I think it's headed for plain old H.G. Wells land myself - but back to you…Since your character believes in old traditions - what are some of the traditions you hold on to and believe in, in spite of the bigger, newer things that come out?

Ummm, let's see. A certain kind of filmmaking, it might be they're nostalgic, or committed depending on how you look at it, but a certain kind of filmmaking with some restraint I guess in it I think is always pretty interesting. I like vinyl records too, I like some old records that way, I think stuff like that.

Boyo that's the truth! Do you think of yourself as a romantic kind of guy?

I would probably vacillate in between the two, depending on your mood, right, or what's going on in your life. [<- he meant "one's life" not MY life...hahahaha...hey wait a rootin' tootin' minute here...]

How did you relate to your character with things like going on a first date?

Some of them you can know... that stuff...then there's where you actually start talking over dinner and then you realize that you've been talking a long time and the person is looking at you with the face of utter incomprehension, and not laughing at your jokes, and then you realize that you still haven't ordered yet. That's not so pleasant. [laughter] But it's kind of awkward, it's hard to fathom someone and everybody's coming at it with a bit of nervousness - it's all ripe with possibilities,"Is this going to be something great or not," and sometimes the pressure of that is kind of insanely comic.

You have any good dating experiences?

Well, they usually ended up in relationships. [Laughter]

You know I have to ask, what's the craziest thing you've ever done for love?

I flew to Europe to see somebody that I didn't really know on a whim and had kind of a wild adventure. That was pretty good.

Do you want to give any advice to people who'll watch this film?

Do I have dating advice? [laughter - hard laughter] No. No, I don't have any dating advice, except endurance is more important than truth. [he grins] I don't know what that means, but it sounded cool.

Yeah. Deep in a way actually. Besides acting what interests do you have in your life now? Any new interests or goals?

I have some of the same older interests and goals. I want to do a film on the life of Edgar Cayce which I'm going to do, I'm hoping with Revolution,and I have a couple of screenplays I've written. So to continue working as a filmmaker. And I'd like to go to the Far East for some reason. I haven't been there and I'd like to go there. I haven't really checked out that part of the world. A goal is to go there and see that. I hope to go to Chicago to see the Cubs in the World Series in the next five years! I'm really hoping for that while we have a window of four starting pitchers and they're in their prime now. I believe this will happen in the next five years. That is my goal, to be in Chicago at Wrigley Field in October.

[See, ours is a forbidden, doomed-from-the-get-go, love - I'm yearning for New Zealand, and a Fenway Park bound WS... Though I do have a close friend in Japan, and I actually know who Edgar Cayce is…hmm]





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