Comic-Con: The Raven Panel

John Cusack is Edgar Allan Poe

While Edgar Allen Poe possibly the most compelling writer of horror fiction ever to have to put ink on paper, few films have been made that focus on the man himself. And certainly not fictionalised tales of the last days of his life that find him helping a detective to investigate a serial killer drawing inspiration from his work. Which is why The Raven, directed by V for Vendetta’s James McTeigue is an odd hybrid of murder mystery and literary not-quite history.

At Comic-Con, McTeigue showed up to premiere the trailer for the movie, and brought along stars John Cusack, Luke Evans and Alice Eve. Attempting to sum up the tone of the film, McTeigue made comparisons to not only Jaws (in terms of Poe's odd working relationship with Evans' detective Emmett Fields) but also Seven and Misery.

Cusack plays Poe, and he was quick to explain what he saw in Poe that made him want to play a slightly tweaked version of the man. “It’s obviously all conjecture because I wasn’t there, it seemed to me that he held females up to an almost... He didn’t really like the company of men. He saw any man, he wanted to get into a fight with them, he either want to get into a duel with them or insult them,” Cusack said about Poe’s relationships. “He held women up to a muse-like – his version of heaven was the perfect, untouched woman… He had this sense of yearning for women, but women abandoning him.”

Cusack also likened him to another famous author. “I saw some of Hunter S Thompson in Poe – his unflinching ability to delve into the abyss and come back. He reminded me of Hunter in that way.” But the actor definitely got the best line of the panel, finding the perfect way to describe the legendary writer: “He was the godfather of Goth.”

While Cusack got to run around looking for a serial killer and turning a literary legend into an action hero, Alice Eve instead got to spend a lot of time buried alive as Emily, the woman Poe is in love with, and who is kidnapped as part of a cruel game by the killer. It involved being pelted with a lot of what McTeigue had assured her was “clean” dirt. And the director was the one doing the dirt-chucking… “James would throw it in my face. We were in Serbia, in the winter. I had a spit cup next to me. So… Method.”