John Cusack is developing a biopic about controversial talk show host Rush Limbaugh. Cusack will also star in the project, tentatively titled Rush, which is being developed through his production company, New Crime Productions. Although no writer was named, it was stated that the script is nearing completion and the the project should start shooting next year. Betty Thomas, who also directed the biopic of talk radio superstar Howard Stern, Private Parts, is set to direct.
Although some would probably suspect a rather partisan lambasting of Limbaugh, a statement about the film released by New Crime to the Hollywood Reporter stated, “The script would explore the rise and reinvention of American Talk Radio, and Limbaugh’s continued influence and impact over the last three decades in that world.”
Limbaugh first rose to national prominence in the late 1980s and it was his heated political rhetoric and attacks that seldom held up to factual scrutiny that helped create the severe political divide that the country currently suffers under. Although he has spoken at political events, he has tried to hide behind the label of “entertainer” when confronted over his more egregious statements. He once again trotted out this defense after calling a Georgetown law student who spoke out about the need for female contraception to be covered by insurance plans for various women’s health needs a “slut” and a “prostitute” on air.
A college drop out, Limbaugh’s career in radio started after he was classified “1-Y” and then later “4-F” by the military and was ineligible for duty in Vietnam. He worked at a number of stations through the 1970s, first as a DJ and then in sales until he finally took a job as promotions director for the Kansas City Royals baseball team in 1979. He went back to radio in 1984, when he took over Morton Downey Jr’s airslot on a talk radio station in Sacramento. Once the Reagan administration tore down the Fairness Doctrine in 1987, Limbaugh was poised to take his show national. Although an outspoken critic of drug users, Limbaugh had his own brushes with the law over illegally obtaining the prescription drugs oxycodone and hydrocodone and having possession of viagra that had not been prescribed to him.
Given that Cusack’s political leanings are in direct opposition to Limbaugh’s, the film should be fairly interesting. Given that Cusack’s and Limbaugh’s body types are also fairly different from one another, how the actor will be transformed into the radio talker should be equally as interesting.
A representative for Limbaugh stated that he had not talked to the radio show host about the film yet, though I imagine Limbaugh will have quite a lot to say when he takes to the air this week.