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John Cusack Discusses "Must Love Dogs"


John Cusack Discusses "Must Love Dogs"

John Cusack and Diane Lane in "Must Love Dogs"

© Warner Bros. Pictures
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[Continued from Page 1] "I think if you just approach it from being interested in the characters and not just interested in the devices or the plot twists… Obviously in a romantic comedy you know that these people are going to meet, then they’re going to get separated, and then they are going to come back together. So it’s really just fleshing out the lives in-between. Any genre can be done well or bad I guess.”

On Choosing Roles – Is it a “One for Them, One for Me” Type of Decision?: “Yeah, but this one, as I said, came out of the blue and I really didn’t know what to expect. But I knew doing something with Christopher Plummer and Diane Lane and Stockard Channing, that’s not really a ‘one for them’ kind of a movie. I didn’t know what the experience was going to be because it came very fast, out of the blue, but it was really one of the most lovely times I’ve had making a film. The group of people they got together were so nice, and Gary set such an amazing tone. He made it all seem sort of effortless, but he really just loved the characters so it was kind of a joy to come in.

It was very light. It’s a very fun movie, and it’s supposed to be a really fun movie. It didn’t feel like I was going off to do some Diet Pepsi action movie and make some corporate mark. It really just felt like a movie about these characters, and everybody approached it with a lot of love, so it was really a wonderful time to go work on a film. I was just very, very lucky to be wanted. Sometimes they just come to you, but this was just, I think, luck. I was just very lucky to get asked to work with these people.

Then sometimes you take it because you think, ‘If I do this kind of movie maybe it will help me get the movies that I want to get made, made, or help my profile out.’ It’s kind of a dance you do with the business. This had the combination of being a really fun movie and one I think that will be really commercial, so that’s just dumb luck to get ask to be in this.”

Relating to His Character and First Dates: “Some of them you know that stuff, where you actually start talking over dinner and then you realize that you’ve been talking a long time and the person is looking at you with the face of utter incomprehension, and not laughing at your jokes. Then you realize that you still haven’t ordered yet. That’s not so pleasant. But it’s kind of awkward. It’s hard to fathom someone and everybody’s coming at it with – it’s all ripe with possibilities. Is this going to be something great or not? And sometimes the pressure of that is kind of insanely comic.”

John Cusack on the Script and Inserting His Own Style Into the Character: “When I talked to Gary, when I met him I said… Because it was a little bit of a small part, he goes, ‘Well, if we’re going to have you do it, we’ve got to make something of it.’ And then that’s his thing. His process is to just get an actor and then write and re-write and work on the set. He’s always bringing new pages on the set so I came with some ideas and then he wanted to go with them. That was kind of how he wanted to do it, and I like to work that way too. And I have ideas.”

On Working With Diane Lane: “I’d always sort of wanted to work with her so, as I said, I was very lucky to get asked to do this because I’d been following her. I probably had a crush on her since ‘A Little Romance’ when she was 13 and I was about the same age probably.”

On Improvisation in “Must Love Dogs:” “I think Gary would have it on paper and he’d be rewriting it a lot, and you come up with an idea. I would do it that way and then I’d say, ‘Well, let’s just do one where I say anything that comes out of my mouth,’ and we’d do that. Sometimes Gary would laugh and sometimes he would sort of look at me like I was insane and I don’t know how much of that he used.

We improvised a bit but there was a lot on the page and the actors kind of just went with it and went with their impulses. It’s kind of nice to do that in comedy because it’s really all about the character. It’s not like it’s a heist movie where they have to be at this moment and do this and crack the safe and get the number. Character drives plot so it’s all about these characters and what’s going on with them and what they’re feeling, so there is room for improvisation in a film like that. Gary likes to work that way. I think he’s worked with actors before who like to riff.”

PAGE 3: John Cusack on "The Martian Child," "The Contract," and Edgar Casey

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