John Cusack aims high with low-budget film

Fri Dec 7, 2007 4:12pm EST
 
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By Bob Tourtellotte

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - For two decades, John Cusack has been among the busiest and most versatile of U.S. actors, but Hollywood generally has overlooked him in awards season. That may be about to change with his new film "Grace is Gone."

The ultra-low budget, $2-million movie debuts in major U.S. cities on Friday and around the United States in weeks to come as Hollywood moves toward the Oscars in February.

"Grace is Gone" earned strong reviews at 2007's Sundance Film Festival mainly for Cusack's role as a middle-class father of two girls whose soldier wife is killed in Iraq. USA Today critic Claudia Puig calls his work "brilliantly understated."

The actor, who also produced the movie, told Reuters the praise and attention are great but not for him as much as the movie. He added that the buzz should help lure audiences and hopefully spark talk of the Iraq war's impact in U.S. homes.

"It's nice, especially when you put so much effort into it," he said. "It feels like it will get a wide release and that's one thing you do it for."

Cusack gained recognition in the mid-1980s in small roles in films like the teen comedy "Sixteen Candles."

Stardom came from director Cameron Crowe's "Say Anything" and "The Grifters," a tale of con artists. By the late 1990s, Cusack was working in big-budget Hollywood thrillers such as "Con Air."

But the actor, who hails from the Chicago area and whose sister is actress Joan Cusack, stayed outside Hollywood's mainstream, taking mostly unconventional and offbeat roles.   Continued...

 
<p>Cast member John Cusack poses at the premiere of "Grace Is Gone" at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in Beverly Hills, California November 28, 2007. For two decades, Cusack has been among the busiest and most versatile of U.S. actors, but Hollywood generally has overlooked him in awards season. That may be about to change with his new film "Grace is Gone." REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni</p>