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John Cusack's Scary Side: "1408"
June 13th, 2007 @ 10:00 AM - Los Angeles
Put John Cusack in a haunted hotel room courtesy of Stephen King's twisted mind, and what do you get? If Cusack and his co-stars Samuel L. Jackson, Mary McCormack, and Jasmine Jessica Anthony have their way, they'll get a huge summer box office hit with "1408."
The Mikael Hafstrom-helmed flick premiered on Tuesday night at the National Theater in Westwood, where the sunny red carpet belied the scares that were awaiting the full house inside. It's an experience similar to one Cusack had back when he was just a kid.
"I saw 'The Shining' when I was about 12 years old and that freaked me out. I went alone. I snuck in alone and then I had to walk home for like twenty minutes by myself. That was a bad, bad, bad, bad walk. I thought I heard Jack Nicholson around the corner of every bush," Cusack reminisced at an earlier press conference for the film.
"Then I saw 'Carrie' as I got older and read 'The Stand' in about one sitting over a whole night because I can't put it down. I think Stephen King is very underrated as a writer. Also his sense of character I think is very underrated. He writes terrific characters."
In fact, Cusack is practically the only character in "1408," playing a man that has lost his young daughter to illness and assuages his loss by debunking tales of haunted places. But when he checks into Room 1408 of New York City's Dolphin Hotel, that haunted space takes over and tries to kill him. So much of the flick is just him on screen, battling the evil forces in the room, man against the supernatural. It was quite a test of anyone's acting skills, and one that the 41-year-old actor is thrilled he agreed to attempt.
"You sort of say, 'My, God, this is really ambitious. These guys want me to be onscreen for ninety minutes by myself. How do you do that?' Then you think, 'Well, I better have another espresso and think about this.' Then you realize that you like the challenge of it," he said.
Lots of his Hollywood colleagues thought he had gone out on a limb, so the film's premiere red carpet filled with familiar faces eager to see if he succeeded. Haylie and Hilary Duff came to check him out, as did Sophia Bush, Tony Shaloub, Tyrese Gibson, Harry Dean Stanton, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, and Kevin Dobson.
But John Cusack wasn't worried; he knew ahead of time that "1408" really delivers.
"I think it's right in the same ballpark as 'The Shining,'" he said proudly. "The cool thing about this movie is the [horror film] thing where you say 'Don't go in the room!'; that happens at about minute sixteen. And then we go for another hour!"