Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Heart-Throb Turns to the Dark Side

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Heart-Throb Turns to the Dark Side

Article excerpt

The thriller Identity opens in cinemas today

He dated slasher movie star Neve Campbell for five years and now actor John Cusack seems to be following in her footsteps careerwise.

The tall, dark and very handsome star - who's normally associated with being the eternal romantic in films such as America's Sweethearts and Serendipity - has made his first horror movie Identity and says he relished the chance to do something a little darker.

"I've never seen a film where the twist happens at the beginning of the third act and there's still more movie to go," he explains. "It just keeps on surprising you. It has so much edge. On page 30 of the script I thought I had it pegged, but I didn't. Then on page 50. I thought I'd figured it out but again I didn't. By the time I read to the end of the script I really hadn't seen any of those things coming and I thought, `Man that's pretty cool'."

The eager star didn't even mind that he had to spend most of the Identity shoot soaked to the skin. His character is one of 10 strangers who are bumped off one by one in a Norman Bates style hotel during a ferocious rainstorm.

"To be honest the rain helped to create a pretty consistent mood which really worked for the material," says Cusack. "We'd show up early in the morning, looking for coffee to wake us up before shooting started and then we'd get doused with cold water all day long. So remaining alert was never a problem," he adds with a wry grin.

However despite his laid back demeanour the star admits he scares easily and says he's a huge fan of the horror genre.

"I'm usually scared by the things going on in your imagination, like if I'm at home and I hear something and I feel like there's something in the house," he says. "I would also put The Exorcist and The Shining in my top 10 of scary movies, and I love the George Romero films, social satire movies. Really twisted," he laughs.

Cusack is well aware that Identity is a far cry from the movies which have helped catapult him to stardom including The Grifters, in which he played a clever young con-artist and the critically acclaimed crime caper Grosse Point Blank, as well as his starring roles in hit movies such as High Fidelity and Being John Malkovich.

But if Identity is a change in pace for the versatile 36-year-old then his next film Max is bound to cause even more surprise.

The film has already come under fire in the States because of its subject matter - Cusack plays a Jewish art dealer mentoring a struggling young artist called Adolph Hitler - but the star remains unapologetic for his controversial choice.

"Max was one of those rare scripts that just leaps off the page," he explains. "It was the best I've read since Being John Malkovich. The story is an incredibly fully-formed thing. It was a completely original and authentic new voice and I thought the fusion of art, politics and the black arts of Hitler, this was a story that had never really been told and urgently need to be," he adds. …

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