Los Angeles Times Festival of Books – 21st & 22nd of April, 2012

The 17th Annual LA Times Festival of Books attracted large crowds to a sunny USC campus this past weekend, drawn by numerous panels and book vendors.


On Saturday, the LA Times Stage drew a standing room only audience when Writer Mark Leyner talked with actor John Cusack about his portrayal of Edgar Allen Poe in Relativity Media’s The Raven.

  • Cusack spoke about how the film isn’t just a biopic, as they didn’t want to just do a Masterpiece Theatre type of piece. Though there is definitely room for something of the type, the creators instead chose to use Poe’s stories and put the man himself in the middle of them in an attempt to truly get at the imagination of the man.
  • According to Leyner, the King of Horror himself, Steven King, has praised Cusack’s performance.
  • Cusack expressed that Poe is not a place you want to stay in year round. That the darkness an actor must explore to delve into the role was not necessarily a pleasant place to be.
  • He feels that each reading gives the reader a chance to delve deeper into the mind of Poe; each time one undertakes the task, one is bound to make new insights into the work.
  • Leyner helped “clean up” the script slightly, including writing his own “Poe” poem. Apparently the script called for the use of one in a scene and he felt it was easier just to write his own than to look up an existing poem that fit the scene.
  • Cusack confessed he has always been a horror fan — the smarter the better.
  • “To be an artist you have to have a problem. To be a good artist you have to deal with it.” – Cusack
  • When one fan asked which was worse, entering the mind of Poe or being a long suffering Cubs fan, Cusack immediately answered that being a Cubs fan was worse.
  • The pair have written a new film script together entitled Pipe Dream. The premise: an anarchist poet falls in love with Rupert Murdoch’s daughter.
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