Fan Expo 2016: John Cusack Is Ready For Superhero Movies

Over the weekend at Fan Expo, sibling actors John and Joan Cusack joined forces for a rare convention appearance with a very special guest moderator: Orphan Black’s Kristian Bruun. Not long after arriving on stage, the Cusacks could be heard praising their hometown of Chicago—for its similarities to Fan Expo’s host city. “It’s a lot like Toronto,” said Joan. “It’s a relaxed place. It’s a good place. The people are nice there. You feel like you can try things and experiment. There are great cultural references too, but it’s the people.”

In recent years, Joan Cusack has enjoyed tremendous success with Showtime’s Shameless, earning five Emmy nominations and one win. Asked if he’d be willing to consider a similar detour from movies, John said it’s a matter of when, not if. “The movies that I made for studios that everybody seems to like, those are being made on cable TV now,” he explained. “The studios are just doing the big Marvel movies. They’re not doing those middle-range movies, so I think it would be cool to do something on TV.”

What about those Marvel movies? Would Cusack be willing to join the party? “Yeah, I have nothing against them,” he said, adding that he’s simply finding fewer opportunities to make the kinds of movies he’s know for. “There are all these 100, 200 million-dollar movies. There used to be the 10, 15, 20 million dollar movies, which was like Grosse Pointe Blank. But now they don’t really make those in the studio world.”


Based on the comments fans made throughout the panel, it seems both Cusacks are most revered for the films they made together, including Say Anything…, High Fidelity, and the aforementioned Grosse Pointe Blank. One fan even took time to praise the fight choreography in the latter, asking John if he was still training with kickboxing pioneer Benny “The Jet” Urquidez. As it turns out, Cusack recently found another prominent outlet for their collaboration. “I got called to go do this movie in China with Jackie Chan called Dragon Blade, this sword and sandal summer movie craziness,” he said. “I got to do a huge fight scene with Jackie. I did that last year and it came out. We did that together with Benny and Jackie. That was really great, so I still do it. I’m still into it.”

As for the Cusacks’ assessment of their own work, they seem to agree with the fans, although at least one of their beloved passion projects has been unfairly overlooked. “War, Inc. was pretty fun,” said Joan. “We were in Bulgaria. It was so weird. It was an honour to be able to make that kind of movie at that time.”

By all accounts, John’s appetite for weirdness is even greater than his sister’s, which is why he dabbles in an extremely high-risk hobby: helicopter snowboarding (aka heli-skiing). Asked to explain the sport’s elusive appeal, he offered a response you might not expect from an icon of rom-coms and eccentric indies: “I like adrenaline type stuff.”