John Cusack Blasts Hollywood Studio System, Ageism

The star goes off on the town he describes as "ripe with frontier crazies" and "a whorehouse"

“It’s a whorehouse, and people go mad,” said John Cusack in describing present-day Hollywood in an interview with The Guardian published on Friday. 

Promoting his latest film, David Cronenberg's Maps to The Stars, Cusack didn't hold back, criticizing ageism in Hollywood, as well as misogyny and what he sees as an increasingly broken studio system. 

Maps, which screened in Cannes this year, is a satire of Hollywood with Cusack starring as a wealthy self-help guru and an ensemble cast that includes Robert Pattinson, Julianne Moore and Mia Wasikowska

See more 'Maps to the Stars' International Trailer

“L.A. seems to be a place where a guy can say he’s a ‘life-coach-channeller-masseur’,” Cusack told The Guardian. “It just seems to be ripe with all these frontier crazies. People are looking to turn their pain into beautiful art, but they also want to be famous. And there’s so much money — so of course all the predators come in.”

In the wide-ranging interview, Cusack also railed against the issue of age in Hollywood, which is laid bare in Maps. “I got another 15, 20 years before they say I’m old. For women it’s brutal. Bruce’s thing about if you’re 26, you’re menopausal? It’s only absurd because it’s a little bit further than the truth,” said Cusack. 

He added: “I have actress friends who are being put out to pasture at 29. They just want to open up another can of hot 22. It’s becoming almost like kiddie porn.”

Read more Cannes: 'Maps to the Stars' Director David Cronenberg Defends Satire

Later in the interview, Cusack lamented the state of Hollywood today, describing it as an industry dominated by mega-corporations obsessed with franchises. Cusack admits he's made some obviously commercial films to fund projects he cares about and that in the past, there were studio heads who had a similar approach.

“My friend Joe Roth ran Disney ... He made things like The Rock and Con Air to make shareholders happy, but then he also gave six or seven slots to people he liked," Cusack said. "I got to make High Fidelity and Grosse Pointe Blank. Spike Lee got to make Summer of Sam. Wes Anderson got to make Rushmore. I had that memory of film and that’s gone.”

Cusack thinks the Hollywood system of “one for you, one for them” is no more. “Now it’s six for them — with a committee cutting the film who weren’t part of making it — and maybe one for you. If I could do something like sell watches in China, then I would do that and just make movies like Maps."
 

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