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Guest: One-on-One with John Cusack
One-on-One with John Cusack
by Beverly Cohn

John Cusack - the voice of Igor. photo courtesy of MGM

ho among us doesn’t remember Marty Feldman’s uproarious portrayal of Igor (pronounced “Eye-gore”) in Mel Brooks’ Young Frankenstein? Since the early Frankenstein films, right up to Brooks’ sly and loving send-up of those movies, the character of Igor has become synonymous with the sub-subservient servant who limps around with his hunchback doing the bidding of his obsessed master.

Fast-forward to today and feast your eyes on Igor, a delightful cartoon send-up of this classic character as voiced most tenderly by John Cusack. There are a few twists to this version, written by Chris McKenna and directed by Tony Leondis, as Igor has become the generic term for anyone born with a hump in the nasty little town of Malaria. Such unfortunates are sent to Igor School to train for a Yes Masters Degree and a life of servitude as a lab assistant to one of the town’s evil scientists. But alas, Igor’s position with Dr. Glickentstein (John Cleese) brings him no happiness and he longs to become an evil scientist himself. The film’s antics then unfold in hilarious and touching fashion, with a fine supporting cast including Sean Hayes and Steve Buscemi lending their vocal talents.

Cusack recently answered a few questions about the film as well as a few other topics.

This is very different from your other work. What drew you to the script?

It was fun to do. It’s a very easy job for an actor. You come in and just play around with lights and do the character and then great artists go off and do all the work and when they come back, they’ve created an entire world around your voice. Or it could work the other way where you fill in the voice for this beautiful world they’ve created. It’s kind of nice to see it and it doesn’t take a lot of effort on our part, whereas you watch the creative team go through a year or two of super human effort.

Do you still have to prepare for the character?

Not really. It’s all there for you and all you have to do is go in and interact with it and do what you normally do without having to deal with all the technical aspects of shooting a film.

John, what’s in your future? What projects are you working on now?

I did a film called Factory for Warner Bros. and another movie called Shanghai, and I’m working on one called 2012.

You are such a fine actor and I’m wondering what advice you would give to aspiring young actors?

I would say act – just do it. Don’t talk about. Do theatre. Take classes. It’s a verb so you have to do it. It’s like someone saying “I wanna play basketball.” You gotta go play basketball. You learn by doing it, not by talking about doing it.

Where did you get your training?

I trained in Chicago when I was younger and did theatre with different people.

Do you spend any time in Santa Monica?

When I’m in California I like to spend time there. I do errands and stuff, visit the shops and eat in some of the terrific restaurants. I meet people there as it’s a good meeting place and that’s where some of my friends live.

Thanks John. It’s always a pleasure speaking with you.

You’re very welcome.

Let Bev know what you think about her traveling adventure.

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Thanks so much for those lovely tourism photos, especially of Ireland. I certainly enjoyed all the places you suggested, and am working towards my next vacation. Don’t forget Cuba. That’s an exciting place.

Rosalie, Los Angeles

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Enjoyed your article on Mira Sorvino. Such an interesting background – family, education, career and now human rights activist. I'm not a gossip mag fan so getting more meaty news about movie celebrities from you gives me hope that there are some inteligent life forms in Hollywood.

Peter Paul, Pasadena, CA

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Thank you, Bev. This reminded me to go see the movie, "An Education," which I had already almost forgotten about, having seen the preview a few weeks ago. I enjoy this actress quite a bit--she has a uniqueness about her and she pulls me in. I enjoyed this.

Sandeee, Seattle, WA

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Thank you Beverly,I really enjoyed reading about your intimate conversation with Forest, of whom I am a great admirer. I look forward to seeing the film "Our Family Wedding."

Yoka, Westlake Village, CA

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Thank you for the sending me the beautiful article you wrote about Ireland. We will use your recomendations for hotels in the Southern part. We plan to also go to Dublin and some other Northern cities so I will get some recommendations for these from others. After reading your article, I am getting more excited about going. I think we will be in Ireland for 8 days altogether.

Leah Mendelsohn, Santa Monica, CA

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Very much enjoyed Ms. Cohn's article about Munich, especially the visuals. Though it has been 25 years since my last visit, the piece brought back countless pleasant memories of the city and the people!! Many thanks.

Lawrence, Los Angeles

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Marianplatz and that general area is truly one of the best Christmas celebrations in the world. Between that and Oktoberfest (which I can only imagine) Munich is one of the greatest cities in the world for major annual events.

Christopher Dale, New York, NY

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Hi Bev, you have done some wonderful pieces on some great celebs...Great work. The travel articles are just wonderful too.

Scott Mueller, Huntington Beach, CA

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Your great Zurich article makes me want to go there for the holidays! I love the photos, too, especially the ones of you in the sleigh, the view over the houses and the zoo!

Anna Marie, Santa Monica, CA

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Lovely article! As a European, and having been to Zurich (albeit in summer) I can vouch for this lovely city. Great pictures, too!

Helene Robins, Santa Monica, CA

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Hi Bev,

Nice review, nice seeing you, nice website interface "...Talk to Bev" - Enjoy your Thanksgiving!

Richard D. Kaye, Marina del Rey, CA

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Hi Bev,

Your interview with John Cusack is very interesting. I always wondered why these actors/actresses always get top billing when really, if you think about it, the real work come from the animators, writers and tech whizzes who spend far more hours on the movie than those actors. I know, I know, it's the all about marketing. The names of these actors are what bring in the big bucks. Still, I think these actors are way overpaid for the "little" that they do.

I remember that once upon a time, the early animation classics never mentioned the voices behind the characters. I think it was only later when Walt Disney tapped into the voices of known celebrities like Walter Matthau in the Jungle Book or Zsa Zsa Gabor in The Rescuers that the voices became a marketing magnet.

Keep up the good work. I enjoy your interviews as you peer into the lives of the Hollywood celebrities.

Peter Paul of South Pasadena, CA



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