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John Cusack Starring In International Screwball Comedy ‘Dictablanda’

John Cusack Starring In International Screwball Comedy 'Dictablanda'

Ever since falling deeply in love with “Grosse Point Blank” as a twelve-year-old (followed swiftly by exposure to “Being John Malkovich” and “High Fidelity“), this writer has been firmly in the lifelong-fan-of-John Cusack camp. But being a Cusack fan has become deeply frustrating in recent years. His best performances (“Grace is Gone,” “The Ice Harvest“) go unsung, his paycheck roles get more and more depressing (“2012,” “Hot Tub Time Machine“) and his two most recent films, “Shanghai” and “The Factory” haven’t been released at all, despite both filming way back in 2008. And that’s without even mentioning his Twitter feed, a textbook example of why it’s sometimes best to keep some distance from your heroes.

The actor has just wrapped up playing Edgar Allan Poe in the period thriller “The Raven,” and now news comes in that the actor is started on a project, which, with any luck, might see something of a return to form. Variety report that Cusack’s starring in a new film called “Dictablanda” (which translates as “Soft Dictator“), ‘a screwball comedy of manners’ involving international intrigue.

The star co-wrote the script with entertainment attorney Kevin Morris, actor Paul Hipp (“The Funeral,” “Face/Off“), who will also appear in the film, and Alejandro Agresti. The latter, the Argentine director of “Valentin” and the Sandra Bullock/Keanu Reeves romance “The Lake House,” is also directing. Production is already underway in Argentina, with backing from local company Pampa Films, and will continue through April. The film also has a tagline at present that may hint at the direction the plot’s going in: “People don’t die, they get killed.”

All signs point to this being in the vein of a Latin-flavored “Grosse Point Blank,” at least until more plot details emerge — which sounds like a good thing, until you recall “War Inc.,” the holy mess of a spiritual sequel to that film that landed a few years back. Still, Cusack generally has good taste in self-generated projects, that film aside, and if the title’s anything to go by, this could be highly topical. We’re sure more details will emerge in the near future, but we wouldn’t expect to see this on screens before 2012 — unless, if the actor’s current run continues, it sits on a shelf until the end of the decade.

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