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First Look at The Raven: Cusack Frighteningly Passable as Edgar Allen Poe

Thompson on Hollywood By Maggie Lange | Thompson on Hollywood June 26, 2011 at 1:23AM

Until this first-look photo, it was difficult to imagine John Cusack, likeable and attractive, as the mysterious and macabre Edgar Allen Poe. But in the upcoming The Raven (Relativity, March 12, 2012), loosely inspired by Poe's life, Cusack looks craggy-faced and alarming as the American gothic literary genius. The film is shooting in Serbia for Baltimore circa 1846; Luke Evans (Tamara Drewe), Alice Eve (She's Out of My League and Brendan Gleeson (In Bruges) co-star.
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Thompson on Hollywood

Until this first-look photo, it was difficult to imagine John Cusack, likeable and attractive, as the mysterious and macabre Edgar Allen Poe. But in the upcoming The Raven (Relativity, March 12, 2012), loosely inspired by Poe's life, Cusack looks craggy-faced and alarming as the American gothic literary genius. The film is shooting in Serbia for Baltimore circa 1846; Luke Evans (Tamara Drewe), Alice Eve (She's Out of My League and Brendan Gleeson (In Bruges) co-star.

Directed by James McTeigue (V For Vendetta), the film takes cues from both the titular poem and David Fincher's Se7en; Poe hunts for a serial killer, whose brutal killings draw their inspiration from his own poems and stories.

Thompson on Hollywood

It's no surprise if you've read his dark tales that Poe was a troubled and tormented author. Details of his life are certainly cinematic—in dramatic tragic hero fashion, the causes of Poe's death were heavily debated at the time; many people claimed to have seen him long after he died. The Raven, of course, will posit its own resolution in a film that blends and blurs fiction and reality.

[Photo by Larry Horricks.]

This article is related to: Independents, First Look, Relativity


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Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.