John Cusack not only had to go to a dark place to portray Edgar Allen Poe in "The Raven," he also had to drop some weight to portray the author.
"I thought it would be fun [to drop 25 pounds for the role]. It wasn't fun not eating," Cusack told OnTheRedCarpet.com co-host Rachel Smith at the film's Hollywood premiere. "It wasn't that fun actually, but I thought that. He was a world famous writer but they didn't have copyrights, so he was dirt poor actually. He was always kind of living hand to mouth and had financial troubles all his life and he was an alcoholic, so I thought that would be the best look - to look kind of emaciated and real wiry. It was a fun time. I put myself into everything I do, so I put myself all-in on this one."
"The Raven" follows Cusack's Edgar Allan Poe, who helps a Baltimore detective track down a serial killer after a series of horrific murders mimic the dark writer's works.
The film, which earned $2.5 million in Friday's box office, also stars Luke Evans as Detective Fields and Alice Eve as Poe's love interest, Emily Hamilton.
"Poe's head space and his sort of writing - he always has a sort of romance to the abyss," Cusack said. "It's anguish and it's torment, but he's also exploring what's around that corner and I think he almost had this sort of religious feeling about that twilight between waking and dreaming, between sanity and insanity, between life and death - he always wanted to get to that twilight space - that was his sweet spot - so it was also kind of fun, in a weird way."
Cusack is known mostly for playing "good guy" roles, such as Lloyd Dobler in the 1989 romantic teen comedy "Say Anything" and Rob Gordon in the 1996 film "High Fidelity." He also played an assassin in the 1997 movie "Grosse Point Blank" and starred with Cage in the action film "Con Air."
The 45-year-old actor was happy to go to a darker place for the role of Poe, whose most well-known work includes "The Tell-Tale Heart," "The Fall of the House of Usher," "The Gold-Bug" and "The Cask of Amontillado."
"What makes Poe really resonate is that that [dark] place is in all of us," Cusack said of the writer's appeal. "That's why when you look at Kurt Cobain or Edgar Allen Poe or some of these guys who are so tormented and expressive, we all love them because we recognize ourselves in them... Poe expressed all those things - that shadowy part of our consciousness in such a deep way that we're still talking about him and made a movie about him a hundred years later - a hundred and fifty years later."
Cusack will take on several darker roles in the near future, portraying a serial killer opposite Vanessa Hudgens in "The Frozen Ground" and a death row inmate in "The Paperboy," which also stars Nicole Kidman, Zac Efron and Matthew McConaughey.
Watch a trailer for "The Raven" below.
Additional reporting by Rachel Smith, co-host of KABC Television's entertainment show "On The Red Carpet" (check for local TV listings).