Written by Dylan Brandsema
MegaCon Panel: John Cusack on Cell, Remakes, and Career Longevity
Of all the panels I attended at this year’s MegaCon, Saturday’s early afternoon John Cusack Q&A definitely had the most varied and diverse crowd. Some of the audience seemed to be causal con attendees with no real dedication to Cusack or his work other than incidental interested, many members of the press (such as myself), many who only seemed to know him from his most popular works like Con Air, 1408, Say Anything and Hot Tub Time Machine, but a large portion of the crowd, as is usual with convention Q&As, was packed with life-long dedicated fans who knew Cusack’s body from from front to back, which led to some interesting, rather off-beat questions.
One of the first questions asked was concerning his character in Spike Lee’s Chi-Raq, which came out in December of 2015, and how he prepared for his role of Father Mike Corrigan. Cusack spoke of spending time with the man the character is based on, the rather controversial real life priest Father Michael Pfleger. He mentioned that although his character’s part in the film is centered on his real-life philosophies and involvements with historic events, Cusack was not attempting to emulate and impersonate his personality in the film, and that his character should be viewed as a totally separate person. Despite this, the dialouge Cusack speaks during a near 20-minute monologue in the film is supposedly taken word-for-word from a sermon Pleger once gave.
Much of the audience questions were often met with short, direct answers, such as when someone asked what it was like growing up with Joan (his sister), to he replied by simply calling her “eccentric”, or when some asked if he’d ever be interested in doing any Broadway, and he simply answered “No.”
We also learned that he’s a big fan of AMC’S Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul, which are reportedly both two shows that sparked his current interest in working in television (specifically, he said he’d love to be on TheWalking Dead), that some of his favorite musicals artists include Solomon Burke and Marvin Gaye, and that some of his favorite movies that he’s done have been ones involving horror and the supernatural.
On that note, he made multiple efforts to plug his new movie Cell, coming out July 8th, which is his 3rd turn in a Stephen King adaptation (the other two being 1408 and Stand By Me), and his second King adaptation co-starring with Samuel L. Jackson. Concerning other upcoming projects, he stated he is working very hard with director John Sayles to get a film off the ground about the mystic Edgar Cayce.
One of the more odd questions of the panel came when someone asked “If there were a remake of Say Anything, who would you cast in your part?” His response was what many of us have been saying about the onslaught of Hollywood remakes forever: “I don’t like remakes. We already did it. Why do it again?” which was met an with roaring applause.
Anyone who follows Mr. Cusack on Twitter knows he’s very much vocal about his political opinions, and it was only a matter of time before someone asked him about it. When an audience member asked who he favors in the current presidential election, he strategically avoided giving a name, but there were gasps in the audience when he went on a bit of a tangent and took multiple stabs at Bernie Sanders, saying “he likes killing people.”
The very last question of the panel was on what it takes to maintain a strong career from being a child actor into an adult actor. As we know, Cusack, aged 49, has been working steadily in film for over 30 years, releasing at least one film every single year since 1983, with the exception of 1995. The key? His answer was simple: “Stay out of Hollywood.”
Dylan Brandsema is a staff writer for Pop-Break specializing in film and television. When he isn’t writing reviews or spending too much analyzing the medium, he’s writing and directing his own independent films as well as drinking way too much soda. Currently at full-time film major at Full Sail University, Dylan eats, sleeps, and breathes everything related to the cinema. You can follow him on Twitter @SneakyOstrich69.