You Gotta Act: John Cusack’s Passionate and Pragmatic Approach to His Craft


When asked to define what the craft they teach really is all about, acting instructors will often tell you that, simply, “acting is doing.” A performer is never fully static and gets to be truthful, or natural, when he or she focuses their attention on the scene’s physical reality, and reacts to it through the filter of an emotional state, like you and I react to the world around us every day. This elementary definition could be extended to the acting profession as a whole: acting is doing what an actor does, which is being in films. John Cusack seems to have followed this approach throughout his 35-year film career. With over 80 films under his belt, the Illinois-born actor (who just turned 52) has always kept busy, even if this has often meant appearing in less than impressive films. And given the rather poor visibility of many of his weaker movies, Cusack clearly isn’t in it only for the money. Maybe he’s just doing it to do it — maybe he’s just acting.