There’s a reason Cusack is so good at playing bad guys — he really likes getting into that headspace. “You want the characters to be better than you, so you can learn something from them,” Cusack told GQ. “And if they are much worse than you, you can learn something too.”
From the war profiteering assassin of “War, Inc.” to the manipulative puppeteer of “Being John Malkovich,” Cusack has starred in countless films where viewers likely root against the hero. He summed it up perfectly in an interview with The Guardian: “My characters often know it’s wrong but do it anyway.”
When The New York Times suggested that perhaps Cusack’s character in “High Fidelity” might embody a form of toxic masculinity, Cusack wholeheartedly agreed, saying, “If someone wrote that Rob was a womanizer passive-aggressive, I’d say, ‘Okay, someone got it.'” He hoped viewers would notice Rob’s flaws and didn’t feel the need to sanitize Rob or make his character a more decent; instead, he felt it was more important that he portray a realistic rather than sympathetic character in the film.
Cusack also explained that when playing anti-heroes he tries to understand how they view the world. For example, he decided that Martin Blank, the assassin of “Grosse Pointe Blank”, became a killer because he believed that was the only way forward in his pursuit of the American Dream. “Like, a killer is a bad thing, right?” he told The Times. “But we could all be that person.”