Mikael Håfström

Posted: January 29, 2007
With the premier of 1408 getting closer I got a chance to talk to director Mikael Håfström about the movie. Håfström who has previously done movies like Derailed and Evil directed 1408 and the two leading roles are done by John Cusack and Samuel L. Jackson. Here is what Håfström had to say...

Lilja: So has filming ended for 1408?

Mikael Håfström: Yes. We are deep in post-production right now.

Lilja: How did it go? And problems?

Mikael Håfström: Well, shooting a film is never straightforward. This film, in particular, being about a guy in a hotel room and seemingly contained, was more complicated than we first anticipated. A lot of visual and special effects. It was a huge learning curve for me. Working with John Cusack was extremely creative. I have never done a film where a character spends so much time with only himself. It was hard work for John but I think he liked the challenge. And I'm very impressed by his performance.

Lilja: In what state is the movie now? What is happening with it?

Mikael Håfström: We are editing for another few weeks and there is still work to do regarding the visual effects. Gabriel Yared is doing the score and what I've heard so far is great.

Lilja: You said in another interview I did with you that, and I quote, "In King's short story most people see Olin as a white guy with some European background. Sam Jackson can take this guy a step further." Did he take it a step further?

Mikael Håfström: I think he did. Sam is extremely charismatic and came to set totally prepared. He WAS Olin. There is a long scene in the beginning of the film between John and Sam that I'm very proud of. We rehearsed it almost as a short play and filmed it for a couple of days. It was the first time this two actors worked together and I could see how they fed each other good energy. It was one of the great pleasures of my directorial life.

Lilja: I read that the premier was moved from May 18 to July 13. Is that the date you're working for as well? Do you find it stressful that the premier date has been set before the movie is finished?

Mikael Håfström: Yes, it's now July 13, which gives us some more time. But I think it's good to have a date to work towards.

Lilja: Are you afraid that a movie with such a non revealing title will either be missed by a lot of movie goers or even scare them away? 1408 doesn't say a lot about the movie?

Mikael Håfström: That's true, but I hope the names of Stephen King, John Cusack and Sam Jackson will get people interested. And I have great confidence in The Weinsteins ability to market films. We already have a trailer out and there is more to come.

Lilja: Did you ever think about changing the title and if so, to what?

Mikael Håfström: No.

Lilja: Did you get all your first choices for this movie or was there someone that you wanted but couldn't get?

Mikael Håfström: We did not offer the parts to anyone before we talked to John and Sam. And luckily they accepted!

Lilja: I also understand that the plot of the movie has been somewhat expanded compared to King's short story. Are you worried about how King fans will react to that?

Mikael Håfström: This will always happen when you adapt a short story. I hope King fans will feel that we are true to the heart and soul of "1408", the short story. And I definitely think Cusack's Mike Enslin is true to the character Stephen King writes about.

Lilja: How involved has King been in this movie? I know you told me earlier that he wasn't at all but that he liked the script. Has that changed during the course of the making of the movie?

Mikael Håfström: No. But I read in your interview with him that he liked the trailer. That's good news!

Lilja: OK, thanks for taking the time to talk to me. I enjoyed it! And good luck with 1408.