To say there are high expectations for LET ME IN to be as good as LET THE RIGHT ONE IN, the Swedish original that inspired it, is an understatement. It’s like saying there was slight disappointment from STAR WARS fans about Jar Jar Binks. Luckily for us, director Matthew Reeves and the cast of LET ME IN offer a retelling that is every bit as good as the first.
LET ME IN receives a nationwide release on Oct. 1st and tells the story of Owen (Kodi Smit-McPhee), an isolated twelve-year-old boy who becomes smitten with his new next door neighbor, a vampire named Abby (Chloe Moretz.) The film unveils a beautiful and brutal examination of unconditional love, forcing us to ask where the line between good and evil is drawn.
We were fortunate to speak with Matthew Reeves, screenwriter and director of LET ME IN, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Elias Koteas, (The Policeman in the film) , and Dylan Minnette (the bully Kenny in the film). They weren’t afraid to take a bite out of our Fantastic 5 questions.
Fantastic Fest: Kodi, why is this film different than other vampire films our right now, like the TWILIGHT saga?
Kodi Smit-McPhee: It offers a more realistic presentation of being a vampire. It’s a bit sadder and actually shows that you probably wouldn’t want to be a vampire. But there are a lot of things in this film that you can relate to, because it’s really a story about growing up.
FF: Dylan, tell us about your character, Kenny and why you were drawn to the script.
Dylan Minnette: I really liked the character because he isn’t a typical bully. He’s still evil somewhat but he does it because he looks up to his brother. He feels like he should do everything that his brother does. Maybe deep down he doesn’t want to do what he does but he still makes a conscious choice to do it anyway.
I really hope people enjoy how the character fits in, and that they like all the characters and the stories wrapped around them. The film is disturbing and shocking but horror fans will love it, romance fans will love it and drama fans will love it. It’s going to surprise some people.
FF: Elias, Kevin Eastman (TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES co-creator) spoke about you and said you’re drawn to character roles. What draws you to roles like The Clockmaker in THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON?
Elias Koteas: Well, David Fincher or Martin Scorsese calls you up and it’s a blessing that they want you to work with them. Would I want more screen time? Sure, sometimes that would be good but there is no rhyme or reason to why we are offered what we are. It’s all a challenge whether you have the screen time or not, especially if you’re given a limited amount of screen time because then you have to really pack a punch quickly. When you have lots of screen time there is an ebb and flow where you can let the process build. If not, then you really have to make a deep impression.
FF: Matthew, how fortunate were you to work with Kodi Smit-McPhee and Chloe Moretz?
Matthew Reeves: That is literally the reason we were able to make the movie. I was very worried because Let the Right One In, both the novel and film, deal with coming of age. It’s a very adult story even though it’s told through the eyes of a twelve-year-old. We had to find two kids who could handle the emotional complexities of the film. When Kodi came in I said, ‘Oh my God. I am so lucky.’ I hadn’t seen THE ROAD and I didn’t get to see Chloe in KICK-ASS because they were both still being finished up, but upon meeting them I thought they were amazing. Separate from what anyone thinks of the film, I don’t think they can say that these kids aren’t tremendous. I truly feel blessed that I met them.
FF: The film premieres at our genre film festival but we personally feel it transcends any genres and is something anybody can relate to. Can you expand on that thought?
Matthew Reeves: I absolutely agree with you. That was what drew me to doing a version of the film in the first place. It’s a vampire film on the face of it but underneath it is about so much more. One thing I love about genre films and why it is cool to be, the best genre films always sneak in something sub-textually. They mean something more. Like CLOVERFIELD, you think it is about a giant monster but it’s about all the anxieties we are exploring today. John Ajvide Lindqvist has come up with such a great metaphor about the pain of his adolescence and childhood, and then he put it in a vampire story. I thought that was so amazing. I think people will enjoy it.