John Cusack

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John Cusack
John Cusack Cannes 2014.jpg
Born John Paul Cusack
(1966-06-28) June 28, 1966 (age 51)
Evanston, Illinois, U.S
Residence Chicago, Illinois
Occupation Actor, producer, screenwriter
Years active 1983–present
Parent(s) Dick Cusack
Nancy Cusack
Family Ann Cusack (sister)
Joan Cusack (sister)

John Paul Cusack (/ˈkjuːsæk/; born June 28, 1966) is an American actor, producer, and screenwriter. He began acting on films during the 1980s. Cusack was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy for his performance in High Fidelity (2000). Other films include Grosse Pointe Blank (1997), Being John Malkovich (1999), Con Air (1997) (also starring John Malkovich), 1408 (2007), 2012 (2009), Hot Tub Time Machine (2010), and The Raven (2012).

Early life[edit]

Cusack in 2006

Cusack was born on June 28, 1966 at St. Joseph Hospital in Chicago's Lakeview neighborhood and grew up in Evanston, Illinois. He is Irish Catholic and fourth of five children.[1][2][3] His mother, Ann Paula "Nancy" (née Carolan), is a former mathematics teacher and political activist.[4][5] His father, Richard Cusack (1925–2003), was an actor, along with John's siblings Ann, Joan, Bill and Susie. They left from Manhattan, New York and moved to Illinois.[6] Richard was also a documentary filmmaker[7] who owned a film production company[8] and was a friend of activist Philip Berrigan.[9] Cusack graduated from Evanston Township High School in 1984, where he met Jeremy Piven,[10] and spent a year at New York University before dropping out, saying that he had "too much fire in his belly".[11]


Cusack as Edgar Allan Poe in The Raven

Teen films[edit]

Cusack made his movie debut in the teen film Class (1983), starring Andrew McCarthy and Rob Lowe. He followed it with a small role in John Hughes' Sixteen Candles (1984) as one of the friends of Anthony Michael Hall. Cusack unsuccessfully auditioned for the part played by Judd Nelson in Hughes' The Breakfast Club (1985). He had a small role in Grandview, U.S.A. (1985),

Leading man[edit]

Cusack's first film leading role was in The Sure Thing (1985), directed by Rob Reiner. He followed it with the lead in Better Off Dead (1985) a comedy for Savage Steve Holland.

Cusack played the male lead in Disney's The Journey of Natty Gann (1985) and had a cameo in Reiner's Stand by Me (1986). He then starred in a second film for Holland, One Crazy Summer (1986) and Hot Pursuit (1987).

He starred in a comedy alongside Tim Robbins, Tapeheads (1988). Better received was John Sayles's Eight Men Out (1988), where Cusack played Buck Weaver.

Cusack returned to teen roles for Say Anything... (1989), the directorial debut of Cameron Crowe.

Adult roles[edit]

Cusack had a cameo in Broadcast News (1987), which starred his sister Joan.

Cusack had a support part in Fat Man and Little Boy (1989) which was a box office disappointment. However The Grifters (1990), in which he had one of the leads, was a success.

Cusack starred in True Colors (1991) with James Spader then was one of the all star cast in Woody Allen's Shadows and Fog (1991).

He had small roles/cameos in Roadside Prophets (1991), The Player (1992), Map of the Human Heart (1992), and Bob Roberts (1993), then returned to leads with Money for Nothing (1993).

Cusack had a small role in Floundering (1994) and the lead in Woody Allen's Bullets over Broadway (1994). He had a support in The Road to Wellville (1994) and co-starred with Al Pacino in City Hall (1996).

Producing and later roles[edit]

Cusack established a production company, New Crime Productions. They made Grosse Pointe Blank (1997) starring Cusack. He followed it with one of the lead roles in an action film Con Air (1997).

Cusack had a small role in Chicago Cab (1997) and provided a voice for Anastasia (1997). He was in Clint Eastwood's Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil (1997) and then had support parts in This Is My Father (1998) and The Thin Red Line (1998).

Cusack was one of the leads in Pushing Tin (1999) and played Nelson Rockefeller in Robbins' Cradle Will Rock (1999). After starring in Being John Malkovich (1999) and making a Western for HBO The Jack Bull (1999), Cusack played the lead in another movie he produced and co-wrote High Fidelity (2000).

Cusack went back to more conventional fare with America's Sweethearts (2001) and Serendipity (2001).

He was in Max (2002) and made a cameo in Adaptation (2002).

Cusack starred in some studio films, Identity (2003), Runaway Jury (2005), Must Love Dogs (2005), and The Ice Harvest (2006).

The Contract (2006) with Morgan Freeman was poorly received. Grace Is Gone (2007) had mixed reviews but 1408 (2007) was a hit. Martian Child (2007) however was a box office disappointment.

Cusack returned to producing as well as acting with War, Inc. (2008), a spiritual successor to Grosse Point Blank, but not as successful. He made The Factory which was not released theatrically and provided the voice to Igor (2010). He starred in a big budget disaster film, 2012 (2009) and the comedy adventure film Hot Tub Time Machine (2010). Both were popular at the box office. [12]

Cusack was in Shanghai (2010) then starred as Edgar Allan Poe in The Raven (2012) and had a support role in The Paperboy (2012).

Video on demand[edit]

Cusack's films became progressively less high-profile: The Numbers Station (2013) and The Frozen Ground (2013). The Butler (2013) was a big hit, though Cusack's part - as Richard M. Nixon - was relatively small.

Cusack could be seen in Adult World (2013), Grand Piano (2013), and The Bag Man (2014). He had a support part in David Cronenberg's Maps to the Stars (2014).[13]

After two poorly ranked action films, Drive Hard (2014) and The Prince (2014), Cusack received praise as Brian Wilson in Love & Mercy (2014).

He returned to VOD movies with Reclaim (2014). Dragon Blade (2015) was a big box office hit in China. He had a small role in Spike Lee's Chi-Raq (2015) and starred in Cell (2016), Arsenal (2017), Blood Money (2017) and Singularity (2017).


Between 2005 and 2009, Cusack wrote blogs for The Huffington Post, which included an interview with Naomi Klein. He blogged on his opposition to the war in Iraq and his hatred for the Bush administration, calling its worldview "depressing, corrupt, unlawful, and tragically absurd".[14] He also appeared in a June 2008 advertisement, where he made the claim that George W. Bush and John McCain have the same governing priorities.[15]

Cusack criticized the Obama administarion for its drone policy in the Middle East and its support of the National Defense Authorization Act, and became one of the initial supporters of the Freedom of the Press Foundation in 2012. In June 2015, he stated in an interview with The Daily Beast that "when you talk about drones, the American Empire, the NSA, civil liberties, attacks on journalism and whistleblowers, (Obama) is as bad or worse than Bush".[16] However, he later scolded the publication for misquoting him in order to make an interesting headline.[17][18]

In 2015, Cusack, Daniel Ellsberg and Arundhati Roy met Edward Snowden, a fugitive from the US because of his leaks of classified information, at a Moscow hotel room.[19] This meeting was converted into a book co-authored with Roy titled Things That Can and Cannot Be Said.[20] The book is mainly a transcript of the conversation between Snowden, Roy, and Cusack, with a selection of relevant photos and illustrations as well as a detailed list of references.

In November 2017, Cusack mentioned in a tweet that he is a member of the Democratic Socialists of America.[21]

Personal life[edit]

Cusack in 1997

Cusack is a fan of both the Chicago Cubs and the Chicago White Sox, for which he says he is "in trouble" in Chicago due to the longstanding rivalry between the teams. He led the crowd in a performance of "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" at Wrigley Field. He was in attendance, along with fellow Cubs fans: Bill Murray, Eddie Vedder and Bonnie Hunt, during the Cubs' historic Game Seven victory during the 2016 World Series. Cusack appeared in multiple Chicago Bears games and attended many Stanley Cup Finals games in support of the Chicago Blackhawks.

Cusack once told NBC Nightly News, "I'm not lazy. I just enjoy gradually waking up in the morning. If that means sleeping in and walking around the house in my crocs and a bathrobe 'til three in the afternoon, I welcome that appealing lifestyle—all day."

He trained in kickboxing under former world kickboxing champion Benny Urquidez for over two decades. He began training under Urquidez in preparation for his role in Say Anything... and currently holds the rank of a level six black belt in Urquidez's Ukidokan Kickboxing system.[22]

In March 2008, police arrested Emily Leatherman outside Cusack's Malibu, California home for stalking him. On October 10, 2008, Leatherman pleaded no contest and received five years' probation and mandatory psychiatric counseling, and was ordered to stay away from Cusack, his home, and business for the next ten years.[23]

He is well known for being a bachelor. When asked in 2009 why he had never married he answered, "society doesn't tell me what to do."[24]



Year Title Role Notes
1983 Class Roscoe Maibaum
1984 Sixteen Candles Bryce
1984 Grandview, U.S.A. Johnny Maine
1985 The Sure Thing Walter Gibson
1985 Better Off Dead Lane Meyer
1985 The Journey of Natty Gann Harry
1986 Stand by Me Denny Lachance
1986 One Crazy Summer Hoops McCann
1987 Hot Pursuit Dan Bartlett
1987 Broadcast News Angry Messenger
1988 Tapeheads Ivan Alexeev
1988 Eight Men Out Buck Weaver
1989 Say Anything... Lloyd Dobler
1989 Fat Man and Little Boy Michael Merriman
1990 The Grifters Roy Dillon
1991 True Colors Peter Burton
1991 Shadows and Fog Student Jack
1992 Roadside Prophets Caspar
1992 The Player Himself Cameo
1992 Map of the Human Heart The Mapmaker
1992 Bob Roberts Cutting Edge Host
1993 Money for Nothing Joey Coyle
1994 Floundering JC
1994 Bullets over Broadway David Shayne
1994 The Road to Wellville Charles Ossining
1996 City Hall Deputy Mayor Kevin Calhoun
1997 Grosse Pointe Blank Martin Q. Blank Also co-writer and producer
1997 Con Air U.S. Marshal Vince Larkin
1997 Chicago Cab Scary Man
1997 Anastasia Dimitri (voice)
1997 Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil John Kelso
1998 This Is My Father Eddie Sharp
1998 The Thin Red Line Captain Gaff
1999 Pushing Tin Nick Falzone
1999 Cradle Will Rock Nelson Rockefeller
1999 Being John Malkovich Craig Schwartz
2000 High Fidelity Rob Gordon Also co-writer and producer
2001 America's Sweethearts Eddie Thomas
2001 Serendipity Jonathan Trager
2002 Max Max Rothman Also associate producer, independent film
2002 Adaptation Himself Uncredited[citation needed]
2003 Identity Ed Dakota
2003 Runaway Jury Nicholas Easter
2005 Must Love Dogs Jake Anderson
2005 The Ice Harvest Charlie Arglist
2006 The Contract Ray Keene
2007 Grace Is Gone Stanley Philipps Also producer, independent film
2007 1408 Mike Enslin
2007 Martian Child David Gordon
2008 War, Inc. Brand Hauser Also co-writer and producer, independent film
2008 Igor Igor (voice)
2009 2012 Jackson Curtis
2010 Hot Tub Time Machine Adam Yates Also producer
2010 Shanghai Paul Soames Independent film
2012 The Raven Edgar Allan Poe
2012 The Paperboy Hillary Van Wetter Independent film
2012 The Factory Mike Fletcher Direct-to-video
2013 The Numbers Station Emerson Kent Direct-to-video
2013 The Frozen Ground Robert Hansen Direct-to-video
2013 The Butler Richard Nixon
2013 Grand Piano Clem Independent film
2013 Adult World Rat Billings Direct-to-video
2014 The Bag Man Jack Direct-to-video
2014 Maps to the Stars Stafford Weiss Independent film
2014 Drive Hard Simon Keller Direct-to-video
2014 The Prince Sam Direct-to-video
2014 Love & Mercy Brian Wilson
2014 Reclaim Benjamin Direct-to-video
2015 Dragon Blade Lucius Chinese production
2015 Hot Tub Time Machine 2 Adam Yates Cameo (uncredited); unrated extended cut only[citation needed]
2015 Chi-Raq Fr. Mike Corridan Independent film
2016 Cell Clayton Riddell Direct-to-video
2017 Arsenal Sal Direct-to-video
2017 Blood Money Miller Direct-to-video
2017 Singularity Elias van Dorne Independent film


Year Title Role Notes
1996 Frasier Greg (voice) Episode: "Our Father Whose Art Ain't Heaven"
1999 The Jack Bull Myrl Redding Television film; executive producer
2014 Doll & Em John Episode: "Three"

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Association Category Nominated work Result
1989 Chicago Film Critics Association Most Promising Actor Say Anything... Won
1999 Independent Spirit Awards Best Male Lead Being John Malkovich Nominated
1999 Online Film Critics Society Best Ensemble Being John Malkovich Nominated
1999 Screen Actors Guild Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture Being John Malkovich Nominated
2000 American Comedy Awards Funniest Actor in a Motion Picture (Leading Role) Being John Malkovich Nominated
2000 BAFTA Best Adapted Screenplay High Fidelity Nominated
2000 Empire Awards Best Actor High Fidelity Nominated
2000 Golden Globe Awards Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy High Fidelity Nominated
2000 Teen Choice Awards Choice Hissy Fit High Fidelity Nominated
2000 University of Southern California Scripter Award High Fidelity Nominated
2000 Writers Guild of America Best Adapted Screenplay High Fidelity Nominated
2001 American Comedy Awards Funniest Actor in a Motion Picture (Leading Role) High Fidelity Nominated
2007 Saturn Awards Best Actor 1408 Nominated
2009 Teen Choice Awards Choice Movie Actor – Sci-Fi 2012 Nominated
2013 Screen Actors Guild Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture The Butler Nominated
2014 Canadian Screen Awards Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role Maps to the Stars Won


  1. ^ "John Cusack interview". Retrieved 27 November 2017. 
  2. ^ "John Cusack Interview-Max Movie". Hollywood Movies. Retrieved 7 June 2015. 
  3. ^ Editors. "John Cusack Biography". A&E Television Networks. Retrieved September 10, 2016. 
  4. ^ "Cusack, Richard J". Chicago Tribune. 2003-06-03. Retrieved 2010-08-27. 
  5. ^ "Miss Carolan, Newton Centre, Is Bride of Richard Cusack". Daily Boston Globe. February 14, 1960. 
  6. ^ "Newton Girl Plans February Wedding". Daily Boston Globe. December 6, 1959. 
  7. ^ "Being John Cusack." July 1, 2000.
  8. ^ John Cusack Biography (1966-).
  9. ^ "Actor John johan on Hitler, politics and his movie 'Max'."
  10. ^ Johnson, Grace (May 12, 2009). "ETHS boasts celebrity graduates". The Daily Northwestern. Retrieved November 7, 2014. 
  11. ^ Duthel, C. (2012). Angelina Jolie - The Lightning Star. p. 323. ISBN 978-1-4710-8935-0. 
  12. ^ "Actor John Cusack."
  13. ^ "Julianne Moore, John Cusack, Sarah Gadon Join Robert Pattinson and in Maps to the Stars". Retrieved 20 July 2013. 
  14. ^ John Cusack - Politics on The Huffington Post.
  15. ^ "John Cusack Stars In MoveOn's New McCain Ad". Huffington Post. Associated Press. June 11, 2008. 
  16. ^ "John Cusack Talks 'Love & Mercy,' Drug Trips, and the Ways Obama Is 'Worse Than Bush'". The Daily Beast. Retrieved 7 June 2015. 
  17. ^ "John Cusack on Twitter". Twitter. Retrieved 7 June 2015. 
  18. ^ "John Cusack on Twitter". Twitter. Retrieved 7 June 2015. 
  19. ^ Roy, Arundhati (28 November 2015). "Edward Snowden meets Arundhati Roy and John Cusack: 'He was small and lithe, like a house cat'". The Guardian. Retrieved 30 November 2015. 
  20. ^ "Things That Can and Cannot Be Said". Penguin Books. 5 October 2016. 
  21. ^ @johncusack (7 November 2017). "What you mean join ;)" (Tweet) – via Twitter. 
  22. ^ Ukidokan Black Belts and Levels Archived 2010-03-12 at the Wayback Machine.. URL accessed on March 19, 2010.
  23. ^ Accused John Cusack stalker, Emily Leatherman, accepts plea deal. New York Daily News. October 10, 2008.
  24. ^ Andrew Goldman, "Being John Cusak", Elle magazine, November 23, 2009. URL accessed on January 20, 2018.

Further reading[edit]

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