Monday, February 18, 2008

Male on Monday - John Cusack

Today, Fiona Harper takes a break from bare-chested men (sorry, girls!) and celebrates a Male on Monday who dares to be a little different...

Almost twenty years ago, John Cusack stood with a defiant look on his face and a boom box held above his head and a whole host of teenage girls fell in love. The film was Say Anything and he played Lloyd Dobler, a kick-boxing dreamer who just wouldn’t give up on the girl he loved, no matter what. Isn’t that what every woman wants? A man who truly sees her and will scale any obstacle to be with her? Pass the tissues – I think I’m having a moment.

While I mop up, you can watch the clip. Why Ione Skye doesn't fling back the duvet and jump out that window like a shot, I'll never know...

John Paul Cusack was born in 1966 into a family that was nuts about acting. His first films were in the era of 1980’s high school flicks. He appeared in Sixteen Candles, Class and almost got the part of John Bender in The Breakfast Club. Leads in The Sure Thing and Say Anything set many a teenage girl’s pulse racing. There’s something about him, an honesty in his acting maybe, that people connect with. And it doesn't hurt that he's tall (a long-legged 6'2"), dark and quirkily handsome.

But John Cusack is not your average Hollywood star, and perhaps this is why I not only admire his work, but respect him. He doesn’t do the whole media thing, and famously once said: “celebrity is the worst thing that can happen to an actor”. And rather than always going for the obvious, big money roles, he has made a career of playing quirky, off-beat characters, underdogs and misfits. In short, he’s interesting. And I’ll take interesting over pretty any day. He’s funny too: “Nope, no sex scandals yet. But I am open to offers!” and has a healthy sense of self-mockery: “I was a teen star. That’s disgusting enough.”

Nowadays, he’s not only starring in films, but producing and writing them too, from the dark Grosse Pointe Blank and the screen adaptation of Nick Hornby's High Fidelity, to the soon-to-be-released War, Inc. However, I am eternally glad that he hasn’t completely given up on romantic comedies completely, because I love his performance as the neurotic ex-husband in America’s Sweethearts, and Serendipity has to be my all-time favourite chick-flick.

You can’t help admiring a man who, despite all the temptations his career must bring, has quietly got on with doing a job he loves and discreetly has used his fortune to help fund three schools with the New York Schoolhouse project. On the flip side of being sane and worthy, he loves kickboxing, surfing and extreme sports, such as heli-boarding. Contradiction - that just seems to be what John Cusack is all about. And maybe that’s why, two decades on after that iconic scene with the boom box, girls who have now grown into women are still sighing.

Fiona Harper's latest release English Lord, Ordinary Lady shortlisted for the RNA's Romance Prize 2008 and is available right now on the shelves and on the eHarlequin and Mills & Boon wesbsites.

Cataromance gave it a five-star review saying, "Warm, witty and feel-good, contemporary romance does not get any better than this!"


  1. Yup. Totally adored John Cusack as Lloyd Dobler in 'Say Anything'. Heaps of great lines in that movie.


  2. I wonder if Julie Cohen is going to show up and fight you for him! LOL!!

  3. Julie Cohen, if you're reading this - you have wonderful taste.

    ; - )


  4. I love John Cusack, especially in The Grifters, Identity, and Runaway Jury. And also an early role, The Journey of Nattie Gann. Yep, I was sighing when I was 12...