John Cusack plays the role of Edgar Allen Poe in the forthcoming movie The Raven. The gothic thriller marks a departure from his recent comedic roles and tells the tale of a serial killer who commits a series of grim murders before kidnapping Poe's sweetheart. Speaking to Reuters, Cusack said that he immersed himself in Poe's literary works as much as he could before taking on the role. "I was reading his stories at night during the shoot so I had all that stuff working in my brain."
Physically, he tried to emulate Poe's destitute and alcoholic state. "I got down to a weight I was before high school, which is real thin. I felt kind of skeletal. I tried to do it the smart way but it still was a little bit of a bender. I just fasted and drank coffee." In a video posted on YouTube, he explained the pressure of living up to the legacy. "We were real thorough. we were very vigilant about making sure that the vocabulary, the idiom and the dialogue matched. his own opinions." Cusack went on to say "I hope that (Poe) would think that (the film) is a clever mash-up on his own genre, because he was always writing sci-fi hoaxes."
So far, the critical response to the movie has been less than favorable. Though The Guardian's Peter Bradshaw was kind, comparing the film to Stephen King's Misery, Leslie Felperin, writing for Variety, takes issue with the concept of the film, calling it "a squawking, silly picture that never takes flight."