John Cusack is busy acting and very busy on social media — just ask his 1.2 million Twitter followers, to whom the politically-engaged performer has tweeted more than 68,000 times.
But he’s also increasingly on the road, touring the country with some of his most beloved movies and then interacting with fans following a screening.
He arrives in Tulsa this weekend for a showing of his classic movie “Say Anything” (consistently ranked as one of the best high-school movies, as well as one of the best romances) on Saturday, June 15, after which he will answer audience questions.
What can you ask him? In a phone interview with the Tulsa World, he said that audience members can, for the most part, say anything.
“You get questions from people (who are) way into the movie, or asking why certain things happen in a career, or will you sign my tattoo that I have of you on my calf?” Cusack said.
“I like it when it gets a little wild, that can make it very fun. I like it when people say or ask whatever they like.”
How about an example?
Cusack has many fans but no doubt most who attend Saturday’s event at the Cox Business Center will be women.
“We had this one guy who got up and said, ‘My wife divorced me because she said I wasn’t you,’ which was pretty damn funny, but it got quiet and people were a little on edge, until he said, ‘And I just want to say thank you very much.’ He brought the house down.”
In some of the best-remembered teen movies of the 1980s, Cusack starred in roles large (“One Crazy Summer,” “Better Off Dead” and “The Sure Thing”) and small (“Sixteen Candles,” “Stand By Me”).
But by the time of “Say Anything” in 1989, Cusack wasn’t a teen anymore. He was in his early 20s, and in his previous film, “Eight Men Out,” he had been the star of an acclaimed historical drama.
“I wasn’t really thinking about teen movies but finding stuff I really wanted to do. I didn’t want to do a movie about a guy graduating from high school,” Cusack said.
His gut reaction was to decline the role of Lloyd Dobler, the inarticulate kick-boxing teen who falls for the smart girl, is trying to figure out his future and who ends up holding a boom-box above his head in one of the most iconic images in pop culture.
Thankfully for film fans, he worked out an agreement with the movie’s first-time director, who had written the seminal teen film “Fast Times at Ridgemont High.”
“I knew I would have to work on the character with Cameron Crowe, and to his credit, he went with me on that,” Cusack said. “And he was focused on me, and when someone feels like you’re the only person that can play this role, that’s an interesting dynamic.”
So now fans can ask him about his chemistry with co-star Ione Skye, about working with his sister, Joan Cusack (one of the 10 movies they have appeared in together), and about what songs were considered for the boom-box scene before Peter Gabriel’s “In Your Eyes” was chosen.
They can also ask him about “Grosse Point Blank” (Cusack’s 1997 hitman comedy) and “High Fidelity,” his music-filled breakup comedy from 2000 — he’s doing similar screening-and-interview tour stops with those two films as well.
But really, fans can ask about any of his movies, like the one he made after “Say Anything”: “The Grifters,” his brutal 1990 con-artists drama based on the novel by Oklahoma author Jim Thompson.
Or about his romantic movies (like “Serendipity”), or action movies (like “Con Air”), or comedies that range from mind-bending (“Being John Malkovich”) to mind-numbing (“Hot Tub Time Machine”).
“It’s been pretty fun so far. People seem to be having a lot of fun with it,” the actor said of these watch-a-movie-with-the-star evenings.
“It’s a pretty loose, fun evening with a lot of people who just have a very warm, good feeling about the film.”
Actor Jason Lee talks about his new photo exhibit that is being shown at the same time as photos from Larry Clark's iconic photo book "Tulsa."