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John Cusack quiets Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf, who had ripped movie star for mixed allegiances

“They’re killing me in the press in Chicago,” said John Cusack with a big laugh Saturday. “It’s the worst press I’ve ever gotten.”

Chicago Cubs’ Carlos Zambrano (38) points to the fans as actor John Cusack, left, points back at him after hitting a solo home run against the Cincinnati Reds during the third inning of a baseball game Thursday, Aug. 21, 2008, in Chicago.
Sun-Times files

This article first published on November 7, 2005.

“They’re killing me in the press in Chicago,” said John Cusack with a big laugh Saturday. “It’s the worst press I’ve ever gotten,” said the Evanston native — chatting with me in Los Angeles about his upcoming, Illinois-made film, “The Ice Harvest” (opening Nov. 23), directed by North Shore resident Harold Ramis.

Cusack, of course, was talking about the big World Series “dust up” started by Sox chairman Jerry Reinsdorf, who questioned the actor’s sense of loyalty to the White Sox — accusing him of having switched loyalties to the Cubs.

“Hey! I made a movie about the Sox — I wore the uniform,” Cusack told me, bringing up his role in “Eight Men Out.” And while merely wearing a uniform doesn’t a fan make, Cusack admitted he was more upset by his media thrashing over this latest White Sox-Cubs rivalry “than the worst review for my acting I ever got.”

The bottom line? “Look, I admit I’m also a Cubs fan ... but why can’t I root for both teams. The Sox winning the series is the best thing that’s happened to Chicago in a long, long time,” added Cusack, who clearly was happy to be given the special Sox commemorative insert from Friday’s Sun-Times.

As for the run-in with Reinsdorf? “Of course, it all turned out just fine. I called Jerry up and we had lunch. I got to go to all of the [World Series] games. I told him to stop beating up on me in the press,” chuckled Cusack. “He told me, ‘Oh, this? That’s no big deal. ... I know a thing or two about really bad press!’”

Longtime Chicago sports fans who’ve followed Reinsdorf’s sports franchise history know that’s true!

BONO LOVES ‘ELVIS’: Chicago’s popular Elvis Presley performer Mark Hussman hooked up with Bono Friday night in Las Vegas. After the rock legend did his own Elvis impersonation while singing “Love and Peace” during the U2 concert, he called Hussman (in full Elvis drag) onstage to lead the crowd’s sing-along for “Can’t Help Falling in Love” — just like Bono did with “Mark Elvis” a couple of years ago.

“I thought I was in heaven when Bono not only did the song again, but when he called me up onstage to do it with him!” Hussman joyously e-mailed from Vegas.

‘PENGUINS’ SPOOFED: You just know you’ve made an impact on popular culture when someone turns you into a satiric sendup. On the heels of the surprise hit “March of the Penguins,” veteran TV funnyman Bob Saget is creating, “Farce of the Penguins,” planned for release next spring.

Saget is teaming with ThinkFilm to make a film that will clearly be as R-rated as their “The Aristocrats” flick, last summer’s documentary with many famous comedians telling their version of what many consider the dirtiest joke in standup.

“The idea for this came organically,” Saget says. “I was watching the ‘March’ movie at a screening at my friend’s house, and I couldn’t stop doing the voice-overs of the penguins, reminiscent of when I did the voices of the animals on [“America’s Favorite Home Videos”]. My friend David Permut said, ‘There’s a great comedy movie in this!’ “

HURRICANE HELP: Sun-Times writer Dave Hoekstra will be emceeing quite a special musical evening Nov. 22 to raise funds to help victims of Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Rita. New Orleans certainly will be coming to the North Shore with “JAMbalaya,” a night of foot-stompin’ revelry, featuring the musical stylings of Mojo and the Bayou Gypsies, the Maurice Brown Quartet, Jackrabbit Slim, David “Honeyboy” Edwards, BS Brass Band, Angela Rucker and Bradley Young.

All proceeds of tickets to the North Shore Center for the Performing Arts fete will go to hurricane relief. Call (847) 673-6300.