Left-leaning actor may take starring and producing roles in 'non-partisan' film about America's controversial radio host

John Cusack is being lined up to play the controversial US conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh in a new biopic, according to Deadline.

Though it is said to be in the early stages, Betty Thomas's film would centre on the rightwing radio host's three-decade rise to prominence. Limbaugh's syndicated show is the highest rated in the country with a weekly audience of 15 million listeners.

Thomas previously brought the biopic Private Parts – about the "shock jock" Howard Stern – to cinemas, in which the latter starred as himself. The as-yet-untitled Limbaugh biopic is said to be a non-partisan take, though Cusack is known for his liberal leanings. "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," said a spokesman for production company True Crimes Productions. Cusack is also set to take a producer's role.

Limbaugh recently accused Batman film The Dark Knight Rises of utilising a villain named Bane in order to damage Republican US presidential candidate Mitt Romney, who at the time was at the centre of a row over his involvement in the investment company Bain Capital in the 1980s. The radio host's controversial proclamations include claiming that African Americans are "left behind" socially because they have been trained to hate the US, insisting that feminism was established so as to allow unattractive women easier access to mainstream society and criticising those who attacked US soldiers caught up in the Abu Ghraib torture and prisoner abuse scandal for "ruining people's lives" and "hampering our military effort".

Former Hill Street Blues actor Thomas's other films include 1995's The Brady Bunch Movie and the 1998 Eddie Murphy vehicle Dr Dolittle.