John Cusack was once a true leading man. Hit films like High Fidelity and Being John Malkovich certified him as a beloved everyman, but lately, something’s strange. He’s following the career path laid out by Nicolas Cage. Here’s what’s going on.
From The Big Screen To The Small Screen
As recently as 2014, Cusack could still regularly be seen on the big screen. He was one of the Hot Tub Time Machine, played Richard Nixon in Lee Daniels’ The Butler, and played present-day Brian Wilson in the Beach Boys biopic, Love & Mercy. 2015 brought a cameo in Hot Tub Time Machine 2 as well as a bit role in Spike Lee’s Chi-Raq. Little did we know at the time that this would mark a career shift for Cusack.
John Cusack Goes Straight-To-Video
Starting in 2013, Cusack began appearing increasingly often in direct-to-streaming films. It’s an easy way to make some money, and it’s not an unprecedented move. Around the same time, Cage began doing the same thing. In 2017 alone, Cage starred in six straight-to-video films. This includes a favorite of John Waters, Mom & Dad, as well as a flick opposite Cusack: Arsenal.
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The past few years have seen Cusack star in numerous action films where he plays men with some rather interesting names. In Singularity, he plays Elias Van Dorne, while he became Vernon Sarsfield in Distorted. His most recent project, Pursuit, came out earlier this year.
Why The Change?
Why would Cusack pivot from Hollywood to this market? Well, there are numerous possibilities. Straight-to-video releases can be surprisingly lucrative. Studios can make them cheaply, so it’s not hard for them to turn a slight profit. We highly doubt Cusack, Cage, or anyone else would bother if there weren’t a tidy payday to be found.
There are a few compelling reasons why Cusack may be on the outs of Hollywood. In 2019, Cusack tweeted an anti-Semitic image. It featured a quote misattributed to Voltaire but actually comes from a neo-Nazi. Cusack initially blamed the tweet on a “bot,” then defended it numerous times. He eventually apologized and deleted the tweet.
In 2014, Cusack had a pretty shocking interview with the Guardian where he pulled no punches towards Hollywood. He said, “it’s a whorehouse and people go mad.” He also blasted the corporate system, where franchises hold all the power. It’s not hard to wonder why Disney may not call him after saying that. In any case, if you really want to watch a Cusack film, he’s not hard to find. Just don’t go to the movie theater.