Delivers An Oscar Worthy Portrait Of Poe!
By Rych McCain, International/Nationally Syndicated Entertainment Columnist
Any middle or high school student who has taken American literature has at one time or another been made to read and decipher the short stories and poems of the early 19th century poet/author Edgar Allan Poe. The new Relativity Media Films movie “The Raven” is titled after Poe’s most famous poem of the same title. Poe was born in Boston in 1809. After getting himself kicked out of West Point via court-martialed because he couldn’t relate to it, he spent most of his life barely making ends meet while drifting through a string of editorial jobs at various periodicals where he began to write poetry, articles, short stories and one novel. Except for the 1845 publishing of “The Raven,” which met with great success via The Evening Mirror for which Poe was paid a whopping $9 dollars; fame as a writer eluded him for most of his life and didn’t actually come until years after his death.
|John Cusack (Photo Courtesy of Relativity Media Films)|
The story of Poe and his most noted writings have been the subject of many books, articles, Films and TV shows. In this latest film version, actor extraordinaire, John Cusack brings Poe to life via a very convening portrayal. Cusack’s brilliant but haunting delivery of Poe’s personal conflicts coupled with his career and survival struggles that he dealt with all the way to the grave is without question one of the first film performances of this year truly worthy of an Oscar® nomination for “Best Actor” when the awards season returns for 2013! Even though Cusack is one of the few actors who totally shuns the Hollywood notoriety, he may be forced to duck and dodge the rays of its spotlight should the Oscar® talk whip up to frenzy level at year’s end.
When asked about the dynamics of his getting a 19th century figure down who was shrouded in so much mystery with many questions unanswered, Cusack responds, “I think the script was terrific. James (the director) and I went through it with the writers and some people and tried to pull as much of Poe’s own dialogue as we could from his letters and his novels. So that we put that cadence and idiom into the structure of this genre story which is basically kind of a Poe story where Poe becomes a character in one of his own story’s. So you have Poe deconstructing Poe. Even though it is fantasy, I was probably a little bit obsessed and drove James crazy saying yeah, Poe said this and Poe said that. I was always trying to use his own vernacular and his own words as much as I could in a fictional setting. We were trying to square that circle in a way. There are volumes and volumes of his thoughts on his writings. He wasn’t shy about his personal memoirs.
What were the elements of this project that made it appealing other than the obvious things? Cusack lights up, “Working with James is a big deal for me because I think he is a talented film maker and he’s got a big mind with a great capacity and I really wanted to work with him. I thought as an actor playing Poe and trying to get under the skin of this very, very complex genius would be great challenge and opportunity. I think any actor would want to play him so I was just up for it 100 percent.” After the study, preparation and finally portrayal of the man, what was Cusack’s opinion of Poe? He reflects, “I think he was a perpetual orphan of the world. His feelings of abandonment and loneliness from losing his mother, step mother and wife I think made him feel like the orphan of the world. He was a genius, kind of a bastard, he was a rogue; he was all of the things that you think of him naturally like inward looking and melancholy. He was a wonderer and a blasted soul and I think everybody can relate to that.”
Rych McCain Media/Syndication tm
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