John Cusack Is Edgar Allan Poe In ‘The Raven’

Published 4 years ago by , Updated July 11th, 2013 at 12:34 pm,

It has taken a while, but director has James McTeigue has finally found a star for his Edgar Allan Poe mystery thriller The Raven. Actor John Cusack announced via his Twitter feed that he would be taking the lead role in the tale which tells a fictional account of the writer’s final five days.

Over the last several months Jeremy Renner and Ewan McGregor were attached to the project, but Cusack wrote a proclamation saying:

“officiali- will play edgar allen poe in fall-a-film called the raven, send any poe- gold – my way as i begin this journey into the abyss” *

*The spelling and punctuation belong solely to Mr Cusack.

The Raven (which is pitched as Poe meets Se7en) will follow Poe and a young detective as they try to track down a killer who has been using Poe’s work as inspiration. The film is loosely based on Poe’s mysterious final days, where he was discovered wandering in the streets in a daze, making very little sense – he died shortly after.  In fact, many of Poe’s works have been brought to the screen – most famously by director Roger Corman in the 1960’s. He produced several glorious features starring Vincent Price, based on some of Poe’s greatest works – The Raven being one of them. Poe has long been seen as one of the godfathers of the mystery and detective story after penning The Murders in the Rue Morgue (itself adapted for the screen many times).

the real edgar allan poe John Cusack Is Edgar Allan Poe In The Raven

Cusack seems a pretty good fit for the role. He can do introspective and thoughtful and he has a penchant for wearing black, so physically he’s right for the part. At t his point it comes down to the script. In recent times Cusack has shown a lack of quality control in some of his film choices – Martian Child, Must Love Dogs and The Contract are a few (amongst many) which spring to mind. He’s also gone for more horror-based roles like 1408 and oft-delayed The Factory, so this would fit into his run of darker pieces.

A concern may be that the script (by Hannah Shakespeare and Ben Livingston) might have been retooled to mimic the success of Robert Downey Jr’s Sherlock Holmes (himself once a contender to play Poe in a Sylvester Stallone directed feature) and go for a comedic and adventurous take on the material, rather than a dark and morbid serial killer thriller.

In many ways the brief synopsis of  The Raven reminds me of the novel Nevemore by William Hjortsberg. In that tale, famed magician Houdini and Sherlock Holmes creator  Sir Arthur Conan Doyle attempt to track down a killer who was also using Poe’s work for inspiration.

nevermore cover John Cusack Is Edgar Allan Poe In The Raven

The Girl with The Dragon Tattoo star Noomi Rapace has reportedly met with director James McTeigue for an unknown role in the film. There’s no word on if she’s accepted but with Cusack singed it would appear that all the right  elements are coming together for The Raven to start shooting in Serbia this Fall, so any further casting announcements should be released soon.

Sources: Deadline and John Cusack

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TAGS: the raven

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  1. this one looks interesting

  2. This is one of the stories that made me fall in love with literature (specifically E.A. Poe) back in high school. REALLY looking forward to this project!

  3. Don’t get me wrong… love John Cusack… in “High Fidelity” and “Grosse Pointe Blanke Blank” and “The Grifters” and “Being John Malkovich” and “Say Anything…” basically his work prior to 2001.

    I’m not quite seeing the fit as Edgar Allan Poe. I’ve had Robert Downey, Jr. in my mind for so long that this seems odd and not in a good way. I’m going to need some more information before I make a decision on if I’m going to be open-minded about this or not.

    • I couldn’t agree more with this post. John Cusack hasn’t been good for a very long time. I’m not particularly a fan of his but he was good High Fidelity and Being John Malkovich. I didn’t like 1408 or 2012. (What’s with the numbers?) I just can’t see him as Poe.

      Robert Downey Jr. would be good but I feel like it would be similar to Sherlock Holmes.

    • I agree. I would definitely call myself a Cusack fan but I can’t think of anything in recent years to support it.

      I’m worried this isn’t going to hit the right tone – given Cusack’s recent work.

      That said, The Raven is a great story because it works on multiple levels. Hopefully McTeigue chooses one that strikes a good balance between Cusack and the horror elements.

      • Reading back over the article, I think that by calling this movie “The Raven” people are going to assume it’s about the short story of the same name. The article says: “…will follow Poe and a young detective as they try to track down a killer who has been using Poe’s work as inspiration.”

        It reminds me of Matthew Pearl’s book “The Poe Shadow” which has a lawyer meeting the inspiration for Poe’s detective Dupin and them solving the strange case of Poe’s death.

        Calling a story about Poe’s works “The Raven” is like calling “Se7en” “Gluttony.” You can’t just pick one of the seven deadly sins because the movie is about all of them. Why would you just pick one of Poe’s works when the movie incorporates more of them?

        • I was figuring it would be somewhat “meta” – as though it would have Poe wandering in and out of multiple familiar story-scenarios not just a recreation of the actual Raven story.

          I still think finding the tone is going to be the challenge – and I completely agree that calling it “The Raven” is a misfire (and will definitely throw a lot of people off).

          • I again have to agree. I haven’t been a fan of his since pre 2001 either. (<3 High Fidelity and Jack Blacks awesomeness in it :D)I also agree that Robert Downey Jr. would be awesome in this, everyone has always underestimated his acting chops, but he really is a great actor.

  4. I love John Cusack and I love Edgar Allen Poe this is some of the best news I’ve heard in a very long time.

    That said while the twitter spelling and grammar may belong to Cusack :

    At t his point it comes down to

    That belongs to you.. Lol just teasing thought it was funny considering the jab at cusack. :)

    • daniel, what did you think of 1408?

  5. Sick! This sounds awsome!

  6. When I first heard of this project…. I thought of Edward Norton would have been perfect casting.

  7. I liked 1408for me it’s Kings second best film adaptation and among my all time Dave scary flicks. Cusack was perfect not many actors could carry a film acting in a room all by them selves for 3/4 of the film.

    • yeah that movie was a mind trip lol. wasnt sure if he could pull it off but i’ll admit i was surpised

  8. I don’t get people saying cusack hasn’t been good for awhile because he was excellent in 1408 and carried the film. Also anyone who questions him now should see Grace is Gone which is a brilliant film. It was one of his best and his performance was simply amazing.

    • ive always liked him..even in Identity lol

  9. Like this a lot! Poe-great. Cusack-great.

    1408 was really good, there are a couple of moments in that film that seriously freaked me out at the time.

    • yeah both the story and the film had me freaked in a few spots

  10. They could make this into a decent gothic franchise with a few changes, don’t set in the final few days of his life, make it a supernatural Sherlock Holmes, have Poe battling the things he writes about, just a thought.

    • @DrSamBeckett

      There was, at one point, a comic book series which had H.P. Lovecraft trying to stop the very creatures he wrote about in his works…His imagination apparently not only brought them to the page but to life, and they began to kill, mostly based on Lovecraft’s moods and emotional disturbances, in nightmarishly horrible ways.

      Different author, of course, but same idea…

    • that would be cool and awesome sam

  11. Yeah that’s pretty much the idea I was having. Oh well, back to the drawing board…

  12. No film will ever compare to kings novels. Moon was a great movie carried by one actor as well IMO.

    • really sully i wasnt aware of that(snicker) :)being an avid King reader for 25 years :)

      • Have you read his latest anthony? Any good?

  13. Ben I highly recomend you watch Grace Is Gone.

    • Ah yes. I knew I was forgetting something…

  14. I find it interesting that no one has mentioned Cusack’s work in “Identity”.

    • i did….i said “ive always liked him…even in Identity lol” scroll up dude

  15. I liked identity and cusack was great in it.

  16. A creepy story by one visionary poet. Looking forward to this.

  17. I don’t know what I like more Cusack or Poe. I’ve read every thing he has ever written and love it all. Poe was brilliant. Poe was so amazing no one sense has been able to match his talent.

    I thought there had been enough Cusack talk I’m a fan but we should be talking about the most talented poet in history.

  18. they missed what i think is the perfect choice for poe.jeffery combs.he portrayed poe in “the black cat” in showtimes masters of horror series and did a fantastic job.he has proven he is great for the part.

    hollywood needs to get past the “we have to have a big name for the lead role” attitude.jeffery combs has earned his big break after years of great peformances in movies like the new upcoming poe movie.

    • On another thread we were talking about James Nesbitt from BBC’s “Jekyll.” I would love to see him tackle Poe after seeing him portray Mr. Hyde. But he doesn’t have quite the name draw… too bad for Hollywood.