"We took the punk-rock ethos: Just do it yourself."

(By Kevork Djansezian -- Associated Press)
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Sunday, June 8, 2008

You can be a serious Hollywood brand name such as John Cusack and still find scant industry support for your latest mission: namely, to enter a foreign country and make a satire, "War, Inc.," about America's militaristic actions abroad. With so many recent war films doing anemic box office, it doesn't quite sway Hollywood's hearts and minds when you've got Dan Aykroyd channeling Dick Cheney on a toilet. Or Hilary Duff playing a Middle Eastern pop princess (name: Yonica Babyyeah). Or Cusack, who co-wrote the film, himself portraying a hit man who channels Paul Bremer in Brooks Brothers and boots.

It's after midnight in London, and Cusack is willingly on the phone to wax on about "War, Inc." because (a) the film has almost no publicity budget; and (b) he's obviously passionate about the project, in a boomboxing Lloyd Dobler kind of way.

-- Jennifer Frey

Please reprise the pitch you gave to Hilary Duff to persuade her to make a film where she fires automatic weapons.

Hey, you're not even talking about [the scene that involves] putting a scorpion down her pants! She was as gung-ho as anybody. And we're talking [people like] my sister Joan to Dan Aykroyd, to Sir Ben Kingsley putting his tongue in my ear and saying, "Let's go get in that garbage can."

How hard was it to get this movie made?

It was pretty much impossible. We took the punk-rock ethos, which is: Just do it yourself, do it now. So we got everyone to Bulgaria and didn't have enough money or time. But we just did it anyway.

What's it been like trying to promote this movie?

It's been like a bunch of people in front of computers. But we did have a massive bad screening in New York. One of those legendary bad things where you have a bunch of reviewers, but they do it in some sort of weird dungeon garage and the screen ripped and the projectionist got into a fight with a guy. A real horror show.

You said you've been abroad most of the last few years. What's it like being a very recognizable American abroad these days?

You have a sense that they look at us and think, you guys are just narcotized by something. You do have a sense that they look at us like we're mad.

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