Northampton Press

Sunday, September 15, 2019
CONTRIBUTED PHOTO“A Conversation with John Cusack after a Screening of ‘Say Anything,’” 7:30 p.m. Sept 20, State Theatre Center for the Arts, Easton. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO“A Conversation with John Cusack after a Screening of ‘Say Anything,’” 7:30 p.m. Sept 20, State Theatre Center for the Arts, Easton.

John Cusack may ‘Say Anything’ at Easton’s State Theatre

Wednesday, September 19, 2018 by DAWN OUELLETTE Special to The Press in Focus

The 1989 film “Say Anything” set the standard for teenage romance comedies for decades to come. Every high school girl wished for her crush to stand outside her window, serenading her with a boom box. Every boy wanted to be Lloyd, who gets his dream girl.

John Cusack, who played Lloyd, the “every-boy” who gets the girl in “Say Anything,” has built a respected career as an actor, film producer and screenwriter with films such as “High Fidelity” (2000) “Being John Malkovich” (1999), “Grosse Pointe Blank” (1997) and “Serendipity” (2001).

Cusack brings the iconic “Say Anything” to the State Theatre Center for the Arts, Easton, at 7:30 p.m. Sept 20, for “A Conversation with John Cusack after a Screening of ‘‘Say Anything.’” Fans will experience a moderated discussion of the film, followed by an audience question and answer session with Cusack.

In a phone interview, Cusack, 52, says he chose to present “Say Anything” at the State Theatre to thank fans for their support of the film.

“I’m not usually one that looks backwards too much,” he says, “but some of the films that I have made people seem to really respond well to.

“We wanted fans to be able to interact with the film. We wanted to find a great hall to screen this movie and let the audience ask whatever questions they want to afterwards. We thought it might be cool to see the movie in a big packed house. It’s a fun thing to do.”

The audience for “Say Anything” and all John Cusack films crosses genders and spans generations. Cusack has a theory about why this is.

”Hopefully, it’s just because the movies are good,” he says. “It’s interesting that my movies seem to grow in popularity over time. They weren’t usually massive hits. They just sort of grew over time.

“People seem to like flawed characters and my movies are based on flawed characters. Flawed characters are more interesting. You can watch these movies and pick up different little nuances each time you watch them. People like that.”

Cusack enjoys the process of making movies and “Say Anything” was no exception. “We had a real good time,” he says, “and I don’t think people would be surprised to hear that.

“I remember boxing quite a bit. That’s when I started to get really into kick-boxing. I was training with Don Wilson and Benny ‘The Jet’ Urquidez. I started long-time relationships with them.

“Benny is the guy I fought in ‘Grosse Pointe Blank.’ He’s a martial arts master. I was pretty tired, trying to get my boxing legs. I still spar and train a bit, but you know, not as much, because it’s expensive to get hit.”

Cusack worked with many talented people during the making of “Say Anything.” The late John Mahoney, well-known for his role as Frasier’s dad on the TV sitcom “Frasier” (1993-2004), played Diane Court’s father in “Say Anything” and became a good friend to Cusack over the years.

”Oh, he was a really lovely man,” says Cusack. “He was the one who told me about ‘Say Anything.’ I had worked with him on ‘Eight Men Out’ [1988] and he was a friend. We got along great.

“He told me about this really special script that he was doing that was ‘Say Anything’ and he said, ‘You gotta check it out.’ He was just a wonderful man.”

In addition to the actors, any fan of “Say Anything” knows how important Peter Gabriel’s song, ‘In your Eyes,’ is to the movie and to the famous boom box scene.

“The movie sort of works because of a lot of different reasons,” Cusack says. “... the actors, the script ... We just sort of found the right song that worked. Cameron Crowe [‘Say Anything’ director) and I were playing around with a lot of different music. We were playing around with a Fine Young Cannibals song, too.”

While “Say Anything” is a favorite film of Cusack’s, he values many of his films.

“Recently, there are a couple of real good ones that I’m very proud of,” he says. “‘Love and Mercy’ [2014, in which he played Beach Boys’ songwriter Brian Wilson] was a real good one. ‘Maps To The Stars’ [2014] is a real nasty little movie. ‘The Paperboy [2012]’…”

Cusack hopes to get more of his own films made. “I would like to get my own movies made again,” he says, “but there is a different kind of climate now. We will see what comes my way.”

Cusack is proud of his enduring career in the movie industry and excited to share a small part of that with the audience in Easton.

”Come and have fun,” he says. “It’s a party atmosphere. I’ll be there and I’ll chat with you afterwards. Come on out and enjoy the fun.”

Tickets: State Theatre Center for the Arts box office, 453 Northampton St., Easton;; 1-800-999-7828; 610-252-3132