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John Cusack is Edgar Allan Poe in 'The Raven'

July 23, 2011

Castmembers from left, James McTeigue, John Cusack, Alice Eve, and Luke Evans pose for photographers during the panel for the movie, "The Raven," during Comic Con Friday, July 22, 2011, in San Diego. - AP Photo

SAN DIEGO: John Cusack says Edgar Allan Poe was something of a rock star in his day. Cusack is playing the writer in ''The Raven,'' which filmmakers previewed Friday for fans at Comic-Con. It is set for release next year.

''He was world famous and he had a huge ego and he did love the women he loved, so he had a charisma to him,'' Cusack said from the stage in front of some 6,500 fans. ''And he was funny. Some of his writings and stories had a very sardonic, sick, twisted, really, really funny side to them.''

Cusack said Poe's ''unflinching ability to delve into the abyss and come back, to play with the edge,'' reminds him of Hunter S. Thompson.

The 45-year-old actor said he was eager to take on the role of the ''godfather of Goth'' in this fictionalized account of Poe's final days. In ''The Raven,'' the writer forms a reluctant partnership with a police detective to catch a murderer who kills his victims by following elements of Poe's stories. Alice Eve plays Poe's love interest, Alice, and Luke Evans plays the police detective. The film is directed by James McTeigue.

Cusack described the dark thriller as ''an art movie and a popcorn movie at once.''

Comic-Con continues through Sunday at the San Diego Convention Center.