In addition to his acting abilities, John Cusack has become known for his progressive worldview and a penchant for arguing with conservatives (especially on Twitter). Now, the entertainer is ready to take his political antics to the big screen, as he is developing a film about radio host Rush Limbaugh.
Cusack’s company, New Crime Productions, announced the new project (working title: “Rush”) on Friday. Currently, the script is being refined, production is set for next year and Emmy Award-winning director Betty Thomas is already on board. Thomas, no stranger to bringing the lives of controversial radio hosts to the big screen, directed the 1997 biopic “Private Parts,” a film about shock jock Howard Stern.
Limbaugh is among the nation’s most popular, provocative and intriguing media figures. Earlier this year, he caught the ire of critics when he called Sandra Fluke, a Georgetown law student, a “slut” and a “prostitute” on air after she argued to Democrats in Congress that health plans should pay for contraception. He’s also been an avid critic of President Barack Obama.
According to the Associated Press, a publicist for Limbaugh said Friday he would check with the host for comment; so far, nothing has been released. Additionally, the agency representing Cusack, Creative Artists Agency, declined to speak out in detail about the project.
Judging from the actor’s past comments, statements and political activism, one wonders how Cusack will portray the controversial radio host. These elements considered, a positive portrayal is hard to imagine (however, it’s quite possible that the actor will be fair in his framing of Limbaugh). At this point, with little information about the script available, it’s difficult to definitively assess the film’s purpose and intentions.
Despite his left-of-center views, Cusack has also been critical of President Barack Obama. While he attended Obama’s inauguration in 2008, he has taken aim at the president’s military decisions and his policies pertaining to civil liberties. In a Tweet on Friday, the actor commented about Hurricane Sandy, writing, “I’m no fan of president — but in GOP world — do we really want a privatized fire department?”
One final note: In reporting this story on Friday evening, the AP published some curious lines, describing Cusack and Limbaugh’s body types, highlighting the obvious differences and pondering how makeup artists will handle the depiction. Considering past on-screen transformations — and the astounding abilities that Hollywood has to mold actors into fascinating characters — this inclusion seemed odd.
The wire service wrote, “Cusack as Limbaugh isn’t typecasting, politics aside. Cusack is a slender, dark-haired 46-year-old, while Limbaugh is 61, balding and portly. But Hollywood’s makeup experts have probably had greater challenges.” It’s noteworthy that the AP wrote “politics aside,” yet went into a descriptive meandering that was, more likely than not, unneeded.