All singing, all dancing: Fourth child of Irish-American Catholics, Cusack hit the boards with acting in his blood. Father Richard acts when not running his film production company, as do John's three sisters - Joan (co-star in Grosse Point Blank), Susan and Anne - and brother Bill.

Teen spirit: Before his big-screen breakthrough, the teen sex comedy Class in 1983, Cusack was a show biz veteran, with roles in industry films, radio spots and commercial voice-overs.

Picky Brat-Packer: The 31-year-old knew that a clutch of 1980s brat- pack flicks would bring long-term success: "I've been in Hollywood for 10 years, and most of the dumb scripts that get made have passed my way. I haven't sold out so far, although I have made bad movies...If you see the words "there's an eerie silence" a few times in a script, that's a clue."

Wong Fooey: Plenty of roles have come Cusack's way, including a part in Indecent Proposal ("Why would I want to watch Demi Moore fuck Donald Trump and make stupid faces?" he reacted), but he nevertheless missed out on a role he desperately wanted: one of the drag queens in To Wong Foo....

Natural Born Director: A drama school graduate, Cusack has maintained a keen interest in theatre with The New Criminals, his 10-year-old Chicago- based group.