John Cusack


28 Jun 1966


Evanston, Illinois, USA


John Paul Cusack


John Cusack is, like most of his characters, an unconventional hero. Wary of fame and repelled by formulaic Hollywood fare, he has built a successful career playing underdogs and odd men out--all the while avoiding the media spotlight. John was born in Evanston, Illinois, to an Irish-American family. With the exception of mom Nancy (née Carolan), a former math teacher, the Cusack clan is all show business: father Dick Cusack was an actor and filmmaker, and John's siblings Joan Cusack, Ann Cusack, Bill Cusack and Susie Cusack are all thespians by trade. Like his brother and sisters, John became a member of Chicago's Piven Theatre Workshop while he was still in elementary school. By age 12, he already had several stage productions, commercial voice overs and industrial films under his belt. He made his feature film debut at 17, acting alongside Rob Lowe and Andrew McCarthy in the romantic comedy Class (1983). His next role, as a member of Anthony Michael Hall's geek brigade in Sixteen Candles (1984), put him on track to becoming a teen-flick fixture. Cusack remained on the periphery of the Brat Pack, sidestepping the meteoric rise and fall of most of his contemporaries, but he stayed busy with leads in films like The Sure Thing (1985) and Better Off Dead... (1985). Young Cusack is probably best remembered for what could be considered his last adolescent role: the stereo-blaring romantic Lloyd Dobler in Say Anything... (1989). A year later, he hit theaters as a grown-up, playing a bush-league con man caught between his manipulative mother and headstrong girlfriend in The Grifters (1990).

The next few years were relatively quiet for the actor, but he filled in the gaps with off-screen projects. He directed and produced several shows for the Chicago-based theater group The New Criminals, which he founded in 1988 (modeling it after Tim Robbins' Actors' Gang in Los Angeles) to promote political and avant-garde stage work. Four years later, Cusack's high school friends Steve Pink and D.V. DeVincentis joined him in starting a sister company for film, New Crime Productions. New Crime's first feature was the sharply written comedy Grosse Pointe Blank (1997), which touched off a career renaissance for Cusack. In addition to co-scripting, he starred as a world-weary hit man who goes home for his ten-year high school reunion and tries to rekindle a romance with the girl he stood up on prom night (Minnie Driver). In an instance of life imitating art, Cusack actually did go home for his ten-year reunion (to honor a bet about the film's financing) and ended up in a real-life romance with Driver. Cusack's next appearance was as a federal agent (or, as he described it, "the first post-Heston, non-biblical action star in sandals") in Con Air (1997), a movie he chose because he felt it was time to make smart business decisions. He followed that with Clint Eastwood's Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil (1997), in which he played a Yankee reporter entangled in a Savannah murder case.

Cusack has always favored offbeat material, so it was no surprise when he turned up in the fiercely original Being John Malkovich (1999). Long-haired, bearded and bespectacled, he was almost unrecognizable in the role of a frustrated puppeteer who stumbles across a portal into the brain of actor John Malkovich. The convincing performance won him a Best Actor nomination at the Independent Spirit Awards. In 2000, Cusack was back to his clean-shaven self in High Fidelity (2000), another New Crime production. He worked with Steve Pink and D.V. DeVincentis to adapt Nick Hornby's popular novel (relocating the story to their native Chicago), then starred as the sarcastic record store owner who revisits his "Top 5" breakups to find out why he's so unlucky in love. The real Cusack has been romantically linked with several celebs, including Driver, Alison Eastwood, Claire Forlani and Neve Campbell. He's also something of a family man, acting frequently opposite sister Joan Cusack and pulling other Cusacks into his films on a regular basis. He seems pleased with the spate of projects on his horizon, but admits that he still hasn't reached his ultimate goal: to be involved in a "great piece of art".

Actor ( 134 credits )

American Undercover (2017)
Southern Fury (2017) Sal
Chi-Raq (2015)
Dragon Blade (2015) Lucius
Hot Tub Time Machine 2 (2015) Adam (uncredited)
Love & Mercy (2014) Brian Wilson - older
Drive Hard (2014) Simon Keller
Maps to the Stars (2014) Dr. Stafford Weiss
Reclaim (2014) Benjamin
The Prince (2014) Sam
The Bag Man (2014) Jack
The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon (2014)  Himself (1 episode, 2015)
We're No Animals (2013) Tony
Adult World (2013) Rat Billings
Grand Piano (2013) Clem
Salinger (2013) Himself
The Frozen Ground (2013) Robert Hansen
Lee Daniels' The Butler (2013) Richard Nixon
The Numbers Station (2013) Emerson Kent
Doll & Em (2013)  John (1 episode, 2013)
Movie Guide (2013)  Richard Nixon (1 episode, 2013)
Costas at the Movies (2013)  Himself (1 episode, 2013)
IMDb: What to Watch (2013)  Himself (1 episode, 2015)
The Factory (2012) Mike
The Paperboy (2012) Hillary Van Wetter
Woody Allen: A Documentary (2012) Himself
The Raven (2012) Edgar Allan Poe
Shanghai (2010) Paul Soames
Do It Again (2010) Himself (voice)
Hot Tub Time Machine (2010) Adam
2012 (2009) Jackson Curtis
The Jay Leno Show (2009)  Himself (1 episode, 2009)
Mark at the Movies (2009)  Himself (1 episode, 2010)
ES.TV HD (2009)  Himself (unknown episodes)
Igor (2008) Igor (voice)
Guyville Redux (2008) Himself
War, Inc. (2008) Hauser
Summerhood (2008) Narrator (uncredited)
Martian Child (2007) David
1408 (2007) Mike Enslin
Joe Strummer: The Future Is Unwritten (2007) Himself
Grace Is Gone (2007) Stanley Phillips
Chelsea Lately (2007)  Rat Billings in 'Adult World' (1 episode, 2014)
The Graham Norton Show (2007)  Himself (1 episode, 2012)
Up Close with Carrie Keagan (2007)  Himself (5 episodes, 2007-2012)
Private Sessions (2007)  Himself (1 episode, 2007)
The Contract (2006) Ray Keene
Buy the Ticket, Take the Ride: Hunter S. Thompson on Film (2006) Himself
Rachael Ray (2006)  Himself (2 episodes, 2007-2009)
FörKväll (2006)  Himself - Bilder från 2012 (1 episode, 2009)
The Ice Harvest (2005) Charlie Arglist
Must Love Dogs (2005) Jake
The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson (2005)  Himself (2 episodes, 2008-2010)
Made in Hollywood (2005)  Himself (3 episodes, 2009-2012)
Howard Stern on Demand (2005)  Himself (1 episode, 2012)
Tavis Smiley (2004)  Himself (1 episode, 2007)
Le grand journal de Canal+ (2004)  Himself (2 episodes, 2009)
Runaway Jury (2003) Nicholas Easter
Breakfast with Hunter (2003) Himself
Identity (2003) Ed
Jimmy Kimmel Live! (2003)  Himself (3 episodes, 2007-2012)
Ellen: The Ellen DeGeneres Show (2003)  Himself (1 episode, 2005)
Real Time with Bill Maher (2003)  Himself (1 episode, 2008)
Shootout (2003)  Himself (1 episode, 2007)
Famous (2003)  Himself (1 episode, 2006)
Adaptation. (2002) Himself (uncredited)
Max (2002) Max Rothman
Screen Tests of the Stars (2002) Himself (archive footage)
Tinseltown TV (2002)  Himself (1 episode, 2003)
HypaSpace (2002)  Himself (1 episode, 2007)
Serendipity (2001) Jonathan Trager
America's Sweethearts (2001) Eddie Thomas
Pardon the Interruption (2001)  Himself (1 episode, 2005)
Democracy Now! (2001)  Himself (1 episode, 2008)
On the Record with Bob Costas (2001)  Himself (1 episode, 2003)
High Fidelity (2000) Rob Gordon
Cradle Will Rock (1999) Nelson Rockefeller
Being John Malkovich (1999) Craig Schwartz
Pushing Tin (1999) Nick Falzone
The Directors (1999)  Himself (1 episode, 1999)
The Thin Red Line (1998) Capt. John Gaff
This Is My Father (1998) Eddie Sharp
The Screen Savers (1998)  Himself (1 episode, 2003)
Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil (1997) John Kelso
Anastasia (1997) Dimitri (voice)
Con Air (1997) Vince Larkin
Grosse Pointe Blank (1997) Martin Q. Blank
Chicago Cab (1997) Scary Man
The View (1997)  Himself (1 episode, 2007)
City Hall (1996) Deputy Mayor Kevin Calhoun
The Rosie O'Donnell Show (1996)  Himself (3 episodes, 1997-2001)
The O'Reilly Factor (1996)  Himself (2 episodes, 2008)
The Daily Show with Jon Stewart (1996)  Himself (1 episode, 2002)
The Road to Wellville (1994) Charles Ossining
Floundering (1994) JC
Bullets Over Broadway (1994) David Shayne
Inside the Actors Studio (1994)  Himself (1 episode, 2007)
Extra (1994)  Himself (1 episode, 2003)
Money for Nothing (1993) Joey Coyle
Frasier (1993)  Greg (1 episode, 1996)
Late Show with David Letterman (1993)  Himself / ... (5 episodes, 1997-2007)
Late Night with Conan O'Brien (1993)  Himself (3 episodes, 2002-2007)
Bob Roberts (1992) Cutting Edge Host
The Player (1992) Himself
Roadside Prophets (1992) Caspar
Map of the Human Heart (1992) The Mapmaker
HBO First Look (1992)  Himself (1 episode, 2003)
Getaway (1992)  Himself - Celebrity Traveller (1 episode, 2007)
Shadows and Fog (1991) Student Jack
True Colors (1991) Peter Burton
Charlie Rose (1991)  Himself - Guest (1 episode, 1999)
The Grifters (1990) Roy Dillon
Elvis Stories (1989) Corky
Fat Man and Little Boy (1989) Michael Merriman
Say Anything... (1989) Lloyd Dobler
Eight Men Out (1988) George 'Buck' Weaver
Tapeheads (1988) Ivan Alexeev
Live with Kelly and Michael (1988)  Himself (4 episodes, 2003-2009)
Broadcast News (1987) Angry Messenger (as John Cusak)
Hot Pursuit (1987) Dan Bartlett
Stand by Me (1986) Denny Lachance
One Crazy Summer (1986) Hoops McCann
The Journey of Natty Gann (1985) Harry
Better Off Dead... (1985) Lane Myer
The Sure Thing (1985) Walter 'Gib' Gibson
American Masters (1985)  Himself (1 episode, 2011)
Grandview, U.S.A. (1984) Johnny Maine
Sixteen Candles (1984) Bryce
Cinema 3 (1984)  Himself (2 episodes, 2009-2013)
Class (1983) Roscoe
Wetten, dass..? (1981)  Himself (2 episodes, 2009)
Entertainment Tonight (1981)  Himself (11 episodes, 2007-2010)
Today (1952)  Himself (1 episode, 1989)
Cell (0) Clay Riddell

Producer ( 10 credits )

We're No Animals (2013) producer
Hot Tub Time Machine (2010) producer
War, Inc. (2008) producer
Grace Is Gone (2007) producer
Max (2002) associate producer
Never Get Outta the Boat (2002) executive producer
High Fidelity (2000) co-producer
Grosse Pointe Blank (1997) co-producer
Chicago Cab (1997) executive producer
Cell (0) executive producer

Writer ( 5 credits )

We're No Animals (2013) (screenplay)
War, Inc. (2008) (written by)
High Fidelity (2000) (screenplay) &
Grosse Pointe Blank (1997) (screenplay) &
Floundering (1994) (additional dialogue)