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1408

About The Production
Well regarded—and Oscar-nominated—for films in his native country, Swedish writer/director Mikael Håfström gained the attention of American audiences and critics alike with the lurid 2005 thriller "Derailed,” starring Clive Owen and Jennifer Aniston as adulterous business executives. His latest effort, an adaptation of Stephen King's chilling short story "1408,” takes Håfström into a completely different world, one created by the undisputed master of horror. Håfström felt confident taking the helm of only his second English language film, however, when principal photography began on "1408” in London.

He was pleased to be surrounded by most of his "Derailed” crew: Oscar1408 nominated editor Peter Boyle, costume designer Natalie Ward, and production designer Andrew Laws. Director of photography Benoît Delhomme rounded out the creative team.

Furthermore, "We had a great script,” Håfström says, referring to the adaptation by prolific horror scribe Matt Greenberg and Golden Globe-winning screenwriters Larry Karaszewski and Scott Alexander. "And we had great actors.”

The lead player was John Cusack, one of Hollywood's most popular and versatile actors, who had come aboard the project to play tormented author Mike Enslin. The actor had seen "Evil,” Håfström's 2004 drama that was nominated for an Oscar for Best Foreign Language film, and was "very impressed by it. I really liked that film, and I thought he was very talented,” explains Cusack. "Mikael's got a real wisdom about how to approach these things.

"He's Swedish, and Swedes are very nice, but they have this great sense of foreboding,” he adds. "They're definitely in touch with their inner doom.”

Håfström was delighted to be directing Cusack, a star known not only for his acting ability, but his likeability. "Men like him and women like him,” says Håfström. "He brought that likeability to this cynical character.”

Cusack's ability to endear himself to audiences was essential to the success of the narrative, says Håfström. "It was very important that we set Enslin up so that the audience wants to follow him through this journey,” he says. "The audience needs to not only understand him and where he is in life, but like him.”

To prepare for his role, Cusack read the Stephen King short story on which the film is based. It was originally part of an audio book and subsequently published in the 2002 short story collection "Everything's Eventual."

"It's really terrific, and it's a lot of fun,” he says. "King is a master storyteller, but he also has a kind of pulp sensibility. He knows how to make these stories really juicy and terrifying and vibrant.

"I don't know how he knows how to scare people so intensely, or where those impulses come from, but King is definitely channeling some spirits and demons,” continues Cusack.

Cusack's character writes novels about famous haunted houses and other spine-tingling places around the world, exploring all manner of myths and legends along the way. He's also experienced a profound tragedy in his life. Håfström describes Enslin as a wayward soul still suffering from the loss of his young daughter. "He is a guy who has lost his way,” says the director. "He's sad and depressed, and he's searching for something.”

After receiving a tantalizingly vague postcard alluding to the 1408 mystery, Enslin decides the story will provide the material for the last chapter in his new book, "Haunted Hotel Rooms.” Enslin checks in to New York's Dolphin Hotel and meets Mr. Olin, the hotel's general manager. "Enslin sees 1408 as part of an elaborate con Olin and his staff are pulling,” says Cusack. "If I write about it, the hotel's bookings go up fifty percent.”

Soon, however, "Things start to really happen and it becomes a Hotel California,” says Cusack. "The r

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