John Cusack Talks The Raven at C2E2. Or, Fans Are Freaks.

On Sunday, I trekked down to McCormick place for C2E2. It was my second year at the event and I have to say – I wish I’d been able to get out there for Friday’s and Saturday’s panels and features. The event seems to have grown exponentially from last year’s line-up and there was no shortage of great things to do.

I, however, had a specific mission: To gain one of the 100 autograph session slots with John Cusack, who was in town to promote The Raven, which comes out April 27th. I have been alive long enough to appreciate his career from the beginning and have enjoyed watching his film choices change as time has gone by.

As I’ve come to expect, my toddler had a meltdown when I was trying to leave the house. By the time that crisis had been resolved, precious minutes had gone by.

Still, I considered it a good sign when I parked my car and walked past a giant raven.

I headed inside, where the line guard told me no less than three times that I had just missed getting in. (Note to the volunteers tasked with such news: Tell me I missed it because it was mobbed. I’d had no shot. Not that the difference in one traffic signal could have saved me.)

Bummed? Yeah. Big.

And then I wasn’t. Thanks so my press pass, I scored a front row seat for the Q & A session.

I’ve never gone to anything like that before, so this whole celebrity thing? New to me. A number of years ago at the House of Blues, I did randomly run into a band that I loved before a show – I didn’t expect them to be just wandering around. I’d been listening to them for years before a big label picked them up and my friend kept elbowing me to speak.

I turned red. I stammered. She said, “She’s been a fan of yours for a really long time.” I nodded. Stammered. Drank the guitarist’s beer he offered. Walked away, dazed and unblinking.

I’m really cool in these situations.

So the Q & A session? A whole lot of that, amplified on a microphone.

The worst: the woman who read a note from her friend who reeeeeally loves John but couldn’t be there, who wanted his phone number and detailed extensively how they should get together for drinks (she was very specific about what type of drinks – does that up the sophistication factor?) – Really, she’s not weird, of course, and doesn’t want anything from him, but because she really believes that they could have intelligent discourse and that is so rare these days.

Seriously? Why? And the kicker of it being from someone who wasn’t even there? People had to wait in line through that. What did you expect him to say?

My other favorite was the “it’s my birthday” guy. This guy in line with his girlfriend claimed it was his birthday recently, and his only wish was to get a picture with Cusack… He got on the stage, posed awkwardly while his girlfriend’s camera wasn’t ready… and waited… while the security, staff and audience cringed…

Again – Seriously? Why? What are you going to say about that picture? “I totally busted in on a Q & A session, acted like a tool and everyone in the room was annoyed with me at this moment!” Frame that one, for sure.

And on it went.

Cusack was great – Listening to him talk about Edgar Allan Poe, researching his role and his favorite literature was pretty awesome. He was funny, relaxed and was gracious with everyone. My love of all things relating to Lloyd Dobler, Lane Meyer, trench coats and considering kickboxing to be the sport of the future is totally intact.

But given my own celebrity-sighting history, I’m considering it for the best that I didn’t get into the autograph session. I’d undoubtedly have acted 13 instead of 36 and would still be pacing the floor this morning, muttering, “Why did I say that?

What about The Raven? Reactions at C2E2 were pretty polarized. Personally, I love a good scare and an excuse to reacquaint my inner-lit geek with Edgar Allan Poe’s writing, so I’m sure I’ll see it. If you check it out, stop back here or my Facebook page and let me know what you think of it.

Celebs aside, I’ll have another post this week about my favorite finds at C2E2.

Have you met a celebrity? What are the best – and most cringe-worthy – things you’ve said?


Leave a comment
  • I'm not much of a "movie guy", but Cusack starred in one of my all-time favorite comedies: Grosse Pointe Blank ... in which he and his sister Joan were both so totally spot-on in their roles. I don't know where that one would rank in his rating of "his work", but it's one of the few films that I can watch over and over.

  • In reply to BrendanTripp:

    I agree with you about Grosse Pointe Blank - I love it. John was actually one of the writers for that one as well.

  • fb_avatar

    I LOVE him. I would have totally either fallen over myself like an idiot or started rambling some of my favorite lines from "Better Off Dead" or "One Crazy Summer" or ... or.... Who, from our generation does not think of a French meal as French Bread, French Fries...and to drink Peru?

    Really enjoy your blog. Thanks for writing.

  • I'm with you! I think I identify with Lloyd Dobler's "never talking thing." Yeah, that's it. (And I had a copy of Better Off Dead in my bag for the autograph session.) "Sorry your mom's face blew up, Ricky."

    Thanks so much for your note, and for reading!

  • fb_avatar

    First thing...even with the press pass you didn't get to meet him afterwards? He will be in attendance and doing a similar panel for The Raven this weekend at the LA Times Book Festival I will be at. Do you want me to try to get something signed for you?

    I must know the band you got to meet too! Swapping drummer germs via a shared beer. I must know now!

    I'm celeb shy. I'm too afraid that any conversation with one will totally ruin my illusion of who they are. So I'd rather leave them alone. The one that went horrible awkward for me was with Gwen Stefani from No Doubt when they had just blown up. Awkward conversation, awkward photo op. I'll have to share one day on the blog!

  • In reply to Wendy Nielsen:

    Wendy - Yeah, there wasn't anything for general press at all. You're sweet to offer to get the autograph (and I'm looking forward to hearing about the book festival - I know you've been gearing up for this one). I'm not really an autograph collector, though. It's more the story that goes along with it, you know?

    My awkward band moment was with Vertical Horizon right after they started getting radio play. I'd been listening to them for years and I was just a stammering idiot.

    Raquel Welch came out to Walk & Roll one year when I was working on that, and I at least managed to behave like a normal human being for that. Probably because it was for work.

  • I had heard the Q & A session was really awkward and strange. I managed to score a spot in the 100 for the autograph session, however it was very anticlimactic. At first the publicist wouldn't allow him to sign anything but The Raven posters, then caved to allow other items. Going in there was just weird too because it was super quiet, almost like walking in to a funeral. No chit chat, nothing. Barely even had a chance to say "hi". There was a security guard and his publicist standing on each side of the table watching everyone like a hawk. I guess they expected the crazies to bum rush the table or something. I was really disappointed how that whole experience went.

  • In reply to fairyfroggie:

    Wow, thanks for sharing how the autography session went. That's really interesting. I certainly understand the need for the celebrities' teams to be with them. Someone has to keep things going smoothly so the actors, themselves, are never in the situation where they have to be the bad guy. I did see similar stuff with the autograph session in the main hall. But that's disappointing that it seemed to be run so strictly - and awkwardly. How weird - It seemed like from the Q&A that he would have been chattier.

  • fb_avatar

    The "birthday guy" is actually a good friend of mine (yes it had been his birthday), and his "girlfriend" was actually my girlfriend. With that out of the way, I'm really sorry he wasted 30 seconds of the hours-long panel. If only that prick Cusack would've said no, he could have saved us all a whole lot of "cringing." SERIOUSLY! WHY?

  • In reply to James Lunkes:

    Thanks for clarifying the details of the story. It's too bad Cusack was such a "prick" that he let your friend get on stage with him.

    Thanks for reading.

Leave a comment