John Cusack and friend at the premiere of "The Raven" on Monday… (Frazer Harrison / Getty…)
A star-studded screening of "The Raven" wouldn't be quite complete without a few dark, mood-setting touches — including a real raven. Yes, there was a large, black bird on the carpet at the film’s special screening downtown Monday. Many celebrities kept their distance as they neared the bird, but not John Cusack, who braved allowing the raven to perch on his arm.
At the event, the ornate auditorium of the Los Angeles Theatre was decked out with candles, red lighting, lanterns for the ushers and some fog machine magic. "The Raven" stars Cusack as 19th century horror master Edgar Allan Poe as he finds himself faced with deadly reenactments of his gruesome stories. British actress Alice Eve costars as Poe’s love interest.
Poe, who's often remembered best as an alcoholic and a weaver of horrific tales, may not seem like ideal boyfriend material, but for Eve it was easy to create the romantic relationship between her character and Cusack's.
"How could you not fall in love with Edgar Allan Poe? He's right up my street. He’s dark and a genius — that's kind of what I like in a man," Eve said.
As for seeing graphic scenes from Poe’s writing created for the screen, "to see them acted out was pretty creepy," Cusack said.
"It was like going into a nightmare, but in a way you couldn't even imagine," he said.
The "Say Anything" and "Being John Malkovich" star was best fit for the part of the famous writer because of his relatability, director James McTeigue said.
"He has some great empathy. Audiences really key into John," the director said. "If you're going to have a dark character, you don’t want the audience to be alienated. I think you never lose a connection with John. Even when he gets to his darkest moments, you feel what he's going through."
"The Raven," which also stars Luke Evans and Brendan Gleeson, opens in theaters this Friday.