Jon Hamm in Corner Office

‘Corner Office’ Is Based on ‘The Room’ By Jonas Karlsson — Everything We Know About the Jon Hamm Movie

‘Corner Office,’ based on ‘The Room’ by Jonas Karlsson, premieres in theaters on August 4, 2023. Here’s everything we know about the upcoming movie.

Corner Office, which premiered at the 2022 Tribeca Film Festival, will release in select theaters on August 4, 2023, with Jon Hamm returning to the corporate world as a man committed to ascending the ladder. He yearns to be a Don Draper type, but when the film opens, he’s simply pushing pencils. 

Combining elements of satire and surrealism, the recently-released trailer is reminiscent of both Severance and Being John Malkovich. The characters are quirky and eccentric. And Hamm’s narration is both compelling and soothing — a combo that intrigues and delights. As for the narrative, Hamm portrays Orson: a meticulous bureaucrat who discovers a secret room at the government office where he works (yet his coworkers will not acknowledge the room’s existence). 

Jon Hamm in 'Corner Office'
Jon Hamm in ‘Corner Office’ | Movie Trailers Source

Corner Office is based on The Room by Jonas Karlsson — a Swedish dark comedy that received quite positive reviews upon its release. Many were quick to praise the story’s clever dialogue and thought-provoking nature, even going as far as to label the novel “Kafka-esque.” In the book, the main character’s name is Björn, but, considering, Hamm does not boast a Swedish accent in the trailer, it’s fair to say that Corner Office Americanizes its source material. However, the narratives seem virtually synonymous otherwise.

Breaking down the ‘Corner Office’ trailer

When Orson is in “the room,” he sees a lavishly decorated, mid-century modern working space that feels more like an aristocrat’s study than an office. The desk is fit for a king. The art on the wall is simplistic and abstract — perfectly paralleling the furniture and the room’s wealthy aura. Wood-paneled walls and a towering bookcase plucked out of a West Elm catalog create a feeling of contemporary elitism. Thus, Orson feels inspired within these four walls. He feels motivated. He feels like a leader. He feels like he can rise to be the man at the top of the totem pole.

There’s just one problem: When Orson is in the office, all of his coworkers merely see him standing by the wall staring off into space with a dazed expression. It’s creepy. Yet, that’s not the only unsettling element Corner Office boasts.

The trailer opens with Danny Pudi of Community telling Orson how the coffee machine works and how the blinds open — as if this is Orson’s first day of existence, as opposed to his first day on the job. Yet, once Orson discovers the “secret room,” the absurdity only intensifies. He’s even asked if he’s on drugs. He confronts denial from all those working alongside him. Orson is convinced his coworkers are trying to “commit psychological warfare against” him, but most of them seem genuinely puzzled by his behavior and convictions. Keyword: most.

Colleagues keep telling him the room isn’t there, but something suspicious is lurking beneath the surface. Someone knows something. Is something there? Is this some sort of weird experiment? Is he the first victim? Was he an intended subject, or did he stumble into this bizarre corporate study? Is he really trapped in an experiment, or is he trapped in his mind?

Jon Hamm in 'Corner Office'
Jon Hamm in ‘Corner Office’ | Movie Trailers Source

More about ‘The Room’ by Jonas Karlsson

The Corner Office trailer shows Orson confronting corporate executives whose singular aim is to silence him, but the trailer mostly asserts his status as a victim in the tale. If the movie follows the book’s narrative, he will use the magic within the walls of “the room” to fight back. 

His co-workers will do all in their power to get him fired, but he will use the room’s secrets to turn the tables and wage a war. Based on the trailer, it looks like this is where aspects of magical realism will surface, as it appears to snow indoors. 

Jon Hamm in 'Corner Office'
Jon Hamm in ‘Corner Office’ | Movie Trailers Source

Karlsson’s novel, as the film seems destined to do, examines how far we will go to lead an examined life, to rise above the mundanity of the 9-5 and achieve greatness, to be an individual among the masses. While some critics were quick to pan Corner Office following the Tribeca premiere — criticizing its drawn-out runtime and one-note monotony — the suspenseful, surreal, and cooky trailer suggests we may be in for a delight. 

Who stars in ‘Corner Office’ alongside Jon Hamm?

In addition to Hamm and Pudi, Corner Office also stars Sarah Gadon as Alyssa, who can be seen slow-dancing with Orson toward the end of the trailer. Christopher Heyerdahi (Hell on Wheels, Van Helsing, Sanctuary) plays the meditative, soft-spoken man who clearly knows more than he’s letting on. 

Veena Sood, June B. Wilde, Matthew Kevin Anderson, Doron Bell, Shawn MacDonald, Andy Thompson, and Allison Riley round out the primary ensemble in a film directed by Joachim Back. Corner Office marks Back’s feature debut following several successful shorts, including 2010’s Oscar-winning The New Tenants. Ted Kupper — celebrated for his work on Mr. Robot, The Assistant, and Perfect — penned the adapted screenplay. 

Corner Office premieres in theaters on August 4, 2023 


About the author

Josh Lezmi

Josh is an entertainment writer and editor at Thought Catalog.