By Kevin Jagernauth | The Playlist July 22, 2011 at 9:18AM
As you already know by now, we've been kind of cautiously optimistic about "The Raven." Directed by "V For Vendetta" and "Ninja Assassin" helmer James McTeigue and starring John Cusack, Luke Evans, Brendan Gleeson and Alice Eve, the film takes a interesting twist on the life of poet Edgar Allan Poe (Cusack), pitching the famed writer into a serial killer thriller which features Poe teaming up with a detective (Evans) to track down a murderer who mimics his work, in the last week of the writer’s life. In addition to ripping his books for ideas on how to kill people, the murderer will also kidnap Cusack’s fiancee played by Eve.
This afternoon at Comic-Con Cusack, Eve and McTeigue met with the throng to talk about the film and the lead actor confirmed that it will be a mix of sensibilities. "It's an art movie and a popcorn movie all at once, so it gives you everything you want out of making a movie," he said, adding, "Up until this point there had never been a Poe movie because of how miserable his life was. There was never an opportunity without sort of having this dour film....To do justice to Poe, you have to honor what his is life was."
Cusack and McTeigue researched Poe in depth, reading his letters and finding inspiration in Peter Ackroyd's book "Poe: A Life Cut Short." The film obviously takes liberties with his life, but the movie promises to be somewhat impressionistic with Cusack describing the picture as "a dream I had about Poe, a dream James McTeigue had about Poe, a dream Alice Eve had about Poe."
The real life Poe lived almost as strangely as he died -- found wearing someone else's clothes, wandering the streets of Baltimore pleading for help before dying -- and his uneasy relationship with women was likely due to the tragic loss of his mother when he was 3 years old, followed by the death of his wife when he was 25. "It's obviously all conjecture because I wasn't there, it seemed to me that he held females up to an almost--he didn't really like the company of men...he saw any man, he wanted to get into a fight with them, he either want to get into a duel with them or insult them," Cusack elaborated about Poe's relationships. "He held [women] up to a muse-like--his version of heaven was the perfect, untouched woman...he had this sense of yearning for women, but women abandoning him."
"He was a bit of rock star. He'd go to a salon, these high society functions, and women would fawn all over him," he adds. But whether or not he cared for their company is another story.
But it certainly sounds that beneath the thus far impeccably put together surface there will be a real character core infused with a dark undercurrent. "The Raven" flies into theaters on March 9, 2012. --reporting by Kimber Myers