John Cusack has been in the acting game for 20 plus years and is mainly known for his quirky demeanor and unique performances. You’ve seen him in supporting roles, as the lead in an offbeat comedy or even a dark thriller, but never running around dodging debris in a full out action film. If you look at his resume, he’s never been the gung ho jump-from a burning building type so what made him want to take on the genre with the king of disaster movies, Roland Emmerich?
We recently caught up with Cusack at a press conference for the film 2012, and he shed some light on why he finally made the big leap (figuratively and literally) to becoming an action star.
A lot of you are probably thinking that this is nothing new because Cusack was featured in the 1997 blockbuster, Con-Air. Well, guess what? The key word in that sentence is “featured”, everyone knows that movie was all Nicolas Cage and his long flowing wig. Although some people are considering this a big change, Cusack was excited to get involded in the process.
“I think it was the combination of the project, director, and the actors. It was nice to be wanted… I got the call, and they told me, “Roland Emmerich’s movie, they want you to do it, and we’ll send you the script.” I said, “Great!” Then I read the script and it was a real page-turner. I thought it was very surprising. By the end of the film, I actually got quite emotional and very tense. I just thought it was a really good, big, epic movie all the way around.”
This could easily be considered Cusack’s most physically demanding and effects driven film to date…
“There was a massive production design team working on the set. When we were on the mountain at the end, there would be a huge glacier field and there would be blue screens in the background, so we were always acting with regular sets; it was the backgrounds that were being digitally enhanced. Yeah, a lot of running, jumping, and tumbling. You got to stay stretched out or you could pull a hamstring, for sure.”
Even though there was a lot of movement involved, Cusack didn’t see the filmmaking process as tedious as you might think.
“I thought it was pretty fun actually. It was a great group of people, the story was great, and the studio was great. Roland has done this so many times before. What would be a crushing technical process for other directors, he seems to do very effortlessly, so he just focuses on the characters.”
Although many of us don’t think of Cusack as an action hero, he found himself quite comfortable in the role. When asked about the challenges of doing a film like this, he was all smiles…
“I thought it was pretty fun actually. It was a great group of people, the story was great, and the studio was great. Roland has done this so many times before. What would be a crushing technical process for other directors, he seems to do very effortlessly, so he just focuses on the characters. I got to work with Amanda again. It was a great part. It was kind of a good gig all the way around.”
He’s got that right, if there’s anything Roland Emmerich knows how to do it’s destroy the world with some technical savvy. He’s like the MacGyver of disaster movies, just give him a camera, some string and an open fuse. Even though John is revered for his lighter roles, it’s good to see him step outside the box into something that has him fighting against conformity or in this case, the elements.
What do you think of John Cusack taking on an action role in 2012?