John Cusack is one of those actors who everyone recognises but is individually tied to so many different eras, where he stays firmly fixed as a pop culture touchstone. For some he will forever be Lloyd Dobler in Cameron Crowe's terrifically genuine 1989 teen romance Say Anything, while an equal number would see him as the thirtysomething hitman suffering an identity crisis when he attends his high school reunion in George Armitage's acerbic 1997 comedy Grosse Point Blank. 2010's Hot Tub Time Machine? Okay, not so much. What's certain is that he's working more than ever, and is open to increasingly diverse (or possibly daft) roles.
While Cusack's turn as a death row inmate in director Lee Daniels' The Paperboy (pictured) hasn't arrived in Australian cinemas after making a steamy splash at Cannes earlier this year, he will now be playing Richard Nixon in Daniels' next picture, The Butler, the story of the African-American servant who witnesses multiple U.S. Presidents in the White House. He's also in the espionage thriller The Numbers Station, with Liam Cunningham (Hunger) and Malin Akerman (Watchmen) for Danish director Kasper Barfoed, playing a betrayed U.S. government agent, and will star opposite Robert De Niro (Raging Bull) in the suspenseful crime tale Motel.
Cusack is also the leading candidate for Airspace, a Duel-like airborne thriller where a charter pilot with an unknown cargo finds himself being pursued by a jet fighter. If the film gets made, it would be the first feature directed by filmmaker Roger Avary since 2002's Bret Easton Ellis adaptation The Rules of Attraction. Avary made his breakthrough as the co-writer and fellow Academy Award winner of Quentin Tarantino's Pulp Fiction in 1994. But in 2008, a car an intoxicated Avary was driving in California was involved in an accident and a passenger died, eventually resulting in him pleading guilty to several charges including gross vehicular manslaughter and serving eight months in jail. Whether Avary writes about the experience remains to be seen, but he's definitely working again.
New York in Harm's way
Finnish director Timo Vuorensola, who put Nazis on the dark side of the Moon in the sci-fi B-movie Iron Sky, will next make a comic book adaptation. Jeremiah Harm is the story of an intergalactic bounty hunter who arrives in a futuristic New York to track down a group of criminals and the woman they kidnapped. Over at the film's official website Vuorensola already has up a promotional trailer and a competition to design aliens for the production.
Benicio banks Pablo part
Until now the only major Pablo Escobar film that got made was a fictional one. Medellin was a bloated biopic about the Colombian drug lord that proved to be a bomb for movie star Vincent Chase (Adrian Grenier) on the Hollywood-set series Entourage. Real life Escobar projects included one to be directed by Joe Carnahan (The Grey), with Javier Bardem (Skyfall) and Christian Bale (The Dark Knight Rises) starring. Now it appears Italian actor (Eat Pray Love) and director Andrea Di Stefano has got an Escobar picture, Paradise Lost, ready to go into production, and for the lead role he has Benicio Del Toro, who thanks to Steven Soderbergh's two outstanding Che Guevera films knows a thing or two about playing controversial historical figures.