By Fred Topel | Image property of The Weinstein Company.
John Cusack in Grace is Gone
John Cusack plays a father who has to tell his daughters that their mother will not be coming home from the war in Iraq in Grace is Gone. To research the part, Cusack met some real war widowers.
John Cusack Discovers Grace is Gone
"I met somebody who was in the exact position Stanley was in except he had three daughters, not two," said Cusack. "He’d gotten that knock and his life was changed forever from a knock. Mostly getting the music of it or the tone of it and just asking physical questions which are consistent with what you know about grief which is you don’t have any equilibrium. There’s something happening to you and it has its own time clock and it doesn’t really matter what you do. It’s going to have its own life and you’re just the last person on earth who’s in control of it."
That complexity is what attracted Cusack to the film. "Something captures your imagination. I thought that I had a sense of the character. I thought it was in that gray zone where he was cowardly and heroic and I thought it felt like wow, this would be a great thing to do right now, to just do the first three days of grief. And as I said, the impetus to do it came out of outrage but then I hoped that we would transcend the outrage and my own personal opinions and get to something more transcendent. I thought if we can do that, that’s really going to be interesting."
Coming out at the end of the year and dealing with a serious subject, Oscar buzz is already building for Grace is Gone. "Alright, I’ll take it, right? That’s nice. I don’t know how that really works, I know that it’s really political and faddy, and so I don’t know how it will work. I know Harvey [Weinstein]’s got me going to lots of parties, you’ve got to go to Q & A’s and stuff. But I really don’t know."
Two new young actresses play the two daughters, and that is the way Cusack wanted it. "They were the two faces and spirits that you would least want to lie to on the face of the earth. You try to imagine that final scene, and then you just imagine the most painful moments and you met those two girls and you thought, ‘That’s the last thing on earth I’d ever want to do would be to take away their mother, take away their innocence.’ So they’re very, very soulful and talented, very different."