Southern California breaking news and trends

Say Anything: John Cusack to play Rush Limbaugh in upcoming film

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John Cusack receives his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on April 24, 2012 in Hollywood, California.

Hollywood heartthrob John Cusack is set to portray radio firebrand Rush Limbaugh in a film about the controversial conservative, according to the actor's production company.

Betty Thomas is tapped to direct. She helmed "Private Parts", the well-received film about another shock jock, Howard Stern, which starred the King of All Media.

Limbaugh has been a mainstay on afternoon AM radio for decades in a colorful career that had as many highlights as lowlights.  In 1995, the staunch Republican, when talking to his audience about drug abusers said authorities should "find the ones who are getting away with it, convict them and send them up the river." In October of 2003  he admitted to being addicted to prescription pain medications.

But most recently Limbaugh called a female Georgetown law student a "slut" and a "prostitute" after she testified to Democrats in Congress that health plans should pay for birth control.

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George Lucas' filmmaking rooted in rebellion

Spike TV's "SCREAM 2011" - Show

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Darth Vader and George Lucas (R) onstage during Spike TV's "SCREAM 2011" awards held at Universal Studios on October 15, 2011 in Universal City, California.

George Lucas Poses With A Group Of "Star Wars" Inspired Disney Characters At Disney's Hollywood Studios

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In this handout image provided by Disney, with the stern and determined look of a Jedi Knight, "Star Wars" creator and filmmaker George Lucas poses with a group of "Star Wars"-inspired Disney characters Aug. 14, 2010 at Disney's Hollywood Studios theme park in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. Lucas is in central Florida for "Star Wars Celebration V," the official Lucasfilm fan event that is taking place this week at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Fla. He visited Walt Disney World Resort tonight to attend Disney's "Last Tour to Endor" special event.

Stormtroopers

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Storm Troopers parade outside the Empire cinema to celebrate the London premiere of the final part of the Star Wars series in Leicester Square on May 16, 2005 in London, England.

2011 WonderCon - Day 2

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A group dressed as Star Wars characters pose during WonderCon 2011 at Moscone Convention Center on April 2, 2011 in San Francisco.

Pittsburgh Pirates v Los Angeles Dodgers

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Members of a troupe dressed as Star Wars characters parade past the Pittsburgh Pirates dugout before the game with the Los Angeles Dodgers on September 16, 2011 at Dodger Stadium.

"The Adventures Of TinTin" New York Premiere

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Film director George Lucas at the "The Adventures of TinTin" New York premiere at the Ziegfeld Theatre on December 11, 2011 in New York City.

Mike Roe/KPCC

A Star Wars fan about to shoot the photographer at San Diego Comic-Con 2012.


There's no mistaking the similarities. A childhood on a dusty farm, a love of fast vehicles, a rebel who battles an overpowering empire — George Lucas is the hero he created, Luke Skywalker.

His filmmaking outpost, Skywalker Ranch, is so far removed from the Hollywood moviemaking machine he once despised, that it may as well be on the forest moon of Endor.

That's why this week's announcement that Lucas is selling the "Star Wars" franchise and the entire Lucasfilm business to The Walt Disney Co. for more than $4 billion is like a laser blast from outer space.

Lucas built his film operation in Marin County near San Francisco, largely to avoid the meddling of Los Angeles-based studios. His aim was to create artistic independent films.

Today the enterprise has far surpassed the 68-year-old filmmaker's original goals. The ranch covers 6,100 acres and houses one of the industry's most acclaimed visual effects companies, Industrial Light & Magic. Lucasfilm, with its headquarters now in San Francisco proper, has ventured into books, video games, merchandise, special effects and marketing. Just as Anakin Skywalker became the villain Darth Vader, Lucas —once the outsider— had grown to become the leader of an empire.

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