1408 went through an alternate incarnation before getting to the screen starring John Cusack and Samuel L. Jackson. Producer Lorenzo DiBonaventura has been with the project before his stars, back when a little horror director named Eli Roth made a pitch for adapting Stephen King’s short story.
Lorenzo DiBonaventura on 1408
“Well, Eli was attracted to it right away,” said DiBonaventura. “Eli’s take we could not set up anywhere and so he fell out and it was a little while later that Dimension bought the rights to the short story and Greenberg came in and Scott and Larry followed them then Mikael.”
Now that Roth is a horror mogul, everyone wants to know what he imagined for 1408. “It’s too bloody to say it out loud. It was madness, an entirely different movie actually. He has such a love of the most bloody parts of the genre that I think it scared everybody at the time. To go through some kind of transition like that, what’s very fortunate about it is some of the most interesting aspects of the story which is mental disintegration as opposed to any sort of physical degradation going on, we thought that Mikael and John the writers could bring to the table on that.”
Dealing with the original author was rather easy. King is a pro at having his work made into cinema. “Stephen pretty much lets the filmmakers make their decisions. He’s not a guy who is looking over your shoulder constantly. He’s very clear that there’s a difference between the written medium and the movie medium. As such, a lot of novelists don’t understand that. And, that’s why you get in trouble trying to adapt things. What’s great is he completely got that and we were able to show him the movie three or four weeks ago and, fortunately, it lived up to the short story for him.”
As the supernatural horror film in a sea of brutal torture flicks, DiBonaventura is confident that there is room for all types of scares. “I hesitate to put any genre into any sort of a box, and I think what this movie does versus what Eli has done in those movies is two totally different experiences. I hope that the genre is big enough to do all of that, and that’s when you have to, you always want the fans to show up on opening weekend, but this movie is trying to go beyond a call to the extreme, to elicit a reaction. It’s going towards the subtle or the nuance or the emotional and we need the audience to come and support us in doing that; and that’s the only way we’re going to decide how wide and how broad the genre is if the audience keeps showing up. That’s going to be our challenge. It’s funny, some people have talked to us and said that this isn’t as scary as that or that isn’t as smart as this and they’re really in a way two entirely different movies. And so I look at them as the exist in two different worlds as opposed to living in the horror genre.”
1408 opens to theatres on June
For the trailer, poster, stills and more movie info, go to the 1408