Let Me In Interviews

Let Me In Interviews
Let Me In, Chloe Moretz, Richard Jenkins, Cody Smitt-McPhee, Matt Reeves, Simon Oaks, Melissa Bruning, Let The Right One In, Staci Wilson
Updated: 09-18-2010

Interviews with Chloe Moretz, Richard Jenkins, Kodi Smitt-McPhee, Matt Reeves, and Simon Oakes of Hammer Films

Click here for our exclusive interview with Costume Designer Melissa Bruning [lots of photos]


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PART 1 with Chloe Moretz and Richard Jenkins
So what did you guys think of the original film, and the relationship that you guys have. In the original, there’s certain insinuations and things you can draw from it and nothing explicit about it? Has that changed in the American version?
Richard Jenkins: A little bit. I mean it’s not explicit.
Chloe Moretz: I haven’t seen the film. So, he can tell you.
Richard Jenkins: It’s a little more definitive.
Chloe Moretz: It goes deeper into the story.
Richard Jenkins: I think it clarifies it. And by the end, you see exactly what the relationship is.
What did you guys think of the original?
Richard Jenkins: I loved it. I absolutely loved it.
Chloe Moretz: I’ve seen parts of it. And the parts I have seen are really stunning.
Richard Jenkins: I mean, it’s really hard not to love it.
Chloe Moretz: It’s very well made.
Is there a temptation to allow your performance to not be influenced by someone else’s?
Richard Jenkins: Well, I didn’t watch it beforehand.
Oh, you didn’t?
Richard Jenkins: No.
Chloe Moretz: Me either.
Richard Jenkins: No. Matt even told everyone - I think even the cinematographer, “Don’t see it.”
Chloe Moretz: He didn’t want anyone to see it.
Richard Jenkins: Just don’t see it. Because you can’t help it. It’s almost like adapting a novel to a screenplay. You read the novel, you have expectations. And if you’ve seen something first, it’s just hard to do. So, I didn’t. No.
Chloe Moretz: That’s how I feel about people seeing the movie. You know, it’s lie, put all the controversy aside, and just go see the film for what it is, and see what you take from it.
Well, when you mention the controversy, is it because there’s the die hard fans who love the original, and say, “Hey there’s nothing wrong with the original?” But the truth is, that a lot of audiences will not read subtitles. Did Matt talk to you about why there were remaking this, and how it might be a little different?
Richard Jenkins: Yes, he did. And there is nothing wrong with the original. BUt that’s not always why you do a remake. It’s usually because you love the original, and there’s something different you want to say. Something in that movie, in that book spoke to Matt, and it has to do with the relationships of these two young kids. And especially Owen. If I was 12 or 15, and I saw this movie I would say, “It’s about me.” I mean, they’re talking to me. And I think that is something he found so intriguing in making this film. So, you know, the original film is absolutely brilliant. There’s no question about it. But because of it’s brilliance, and I said, “you know the risk you’re taking?”. And he said, “I understand. But it’s something I really need to do.”
Do you know the special effects you guys shot on set? I know the first one wasn’t too advanced.
Richard Jenkins: I didn’t think of it as a lot of special effects. I really I didn’t. I don’t recall. The car crash was really cool, the way he conceived it. But it wasn’t green screen or anything. It was kind of a seamless cut. It’s really cool, the way he did it.
Chloe Moretz: And along with all the kills that the vampire does, it’s kind of the same technique. Most of them are real. I mean, the scene in the tunnel, I know he’s going to add more crazy knocking back and forth. But other than that, nothing really. It was all real prosthetics.
Richard Jenkins: The spaceship landing was different.
Chloe Moretz: Well, that. You just dropped the ball.
Chloe, how has your Comic Con experience been? And since KICK ASS came out?
Chloe Moretz: It’s been crazier. I mean, during KICK ASS, people didn’t get the full thing of KICK ASS. Cause I was the first revealing of what KICK ASS is. And we were all sitting on that panel, I was probably the most nervous. The most nervous I’ve ever been in my life - if they don’t laugh, or if they don’t love it, the whole thing is dead, because this is our audience.
Richard Jenkins: Welcome to show business.
Chloe Moretz: And now I’m like, I’m great. I’m gonna go up there and rock these 8000 people. And then I go (feigning nervous laughter - “Ha. Ha. Hi!”)
And have you seen a lot of “Hit Girls” around?
Chloe Moretz: Um, we’re going on the floor later to do the Dark Horse signing. But I haven’t seen anybody yet. Actually, it probably won’t happen, but I want to dress up in a Yoda costume and go onto the floor and take pictures with all the “Hit Girls”. They won’t even know who I am, and I’ll be like “Can I take a picture with you?”
Chloe Moretz: I have the original back at home.
(More laughter)
Have you seen a lot of people dressed as your character from THE VISITOR?
Richard Jenkins: Yeah, right?
Richard Jenkins: Actually, not here. But a lot in New York.
Chloe Moretz: He has seen them from his role in DEAR JOHN. Yep, they go, “Oh my God, Channing Tatum. I mean, Richard Jenkins.”
Chloe Moretz: You look just like him.
So, four weeks of this?
Chloe Moretz: Come on, you know? What can I say?
For someone your age, the fact of the language in KICK ASS and some of the most advanced roles for that, do you look for roles that intentionally stand out? Or do you just look for things that interests you? How do you pick?
Chloe Moretz: I just look for roles that are something different, that’s completely 100% different than who I am as a person. You know, I like to go into these different places and explore all of these emotions and figure out everything about a character. It really all depends on the script. If it’s a good character. Of course, I won’t go overboard with it. But, you know. I like gritty material.
And the same for you? What interests you when you read a script? That this is the character?
Richard Jenkins: I do it for the price.
Chloe Moretz: He does it because he really loves it.
Richard Jenkins: I do it, if I read it and respond to it; it’s an emotional thing, and if I can bring something to it. If I read it, I really think - I’m not even sure what yet - I think I can bring something to it. And sometimes you read it, you go, “Jim Redborn can do this better than me.” Really, there’s actors you work with and you go “Yeah, he’s the guy.” But if I think I can bring something to it, and I really like it.
What have you two learned from working with one another?
Richard Jenkins: Not to do it again.
Chloe Moretz: I’m ashamed of myself. No, um. I don’t know. I think I learned more form him than he has from me. I mean there’s nothing really he can... he’s look um-um, um-um.
Richard Jenkins: You know, the thing is you go in, and I played a lot of fathers in my life. It seems that my kids are getting older and older as I go on. But I’m always surprised at how good they are. I don’t know why. I’m always taken aback at how good they are. Maybe because of their age, “I’ve been doing this long, you’d think I’d learn.” And, you know, she’s goofing around, and then they go “Action” - you almost want to stop and go, “Whoa!” Where’d you learn how to do that?
(Chloe laughs sinisterly)
Chloe Moretz: I’ll be like quoting - what’s that toothpaste commercial?
Richard Jenkins: Ipana?
Chloe Moretz: Ipana.
Richard Jenkins: She would sing that.
Chloe Moretz: We were singing the Ipana song, right? Because, I know from GREASE. Because I know it from GREASE, right. And he’s like, “you know, I’ve seen that on TV when I was a kid.” I saw it on GREASE. Does that count?
Richard Jenkins: And then, it’s like “Action” - she’s like totally different. But yes, you’d think I’d learn by now. They’re great. That scene today with the two of them, it was really beautiful.
Any tricks you have learned?
Chloe Moretz: I don’t know. People always ask me about the tricks. But it’s more of an emotional thing, you know? When “Abby” and her keeper, when they really connect, you know. I guess it’s more of an emotional type thing. When you look into another actor’s eyes, and they give back. You give them your all in a scene, and when they give back to you their all in a scene it makes for a really good emotion.
Richard Jenkins: And you put Vicks in your eyes, if you have to cry.
Chloe Moretz: (exaggerated) Nooo!
Richard Jenkins: Actually, I was on stage with a guy who did that. And once the crying scene was over, he cried for the entire play.
Chloe Moretz: What is Vicks?
Richard Jenkins: Vicks Vapor Rub for when you have a cold, you put it under your nose.
Yeah, that’s not water soluble.
Richard Jenkins: Yeah, it makes you tear.
Chloe Moretz: Now they use menthoyl. I don’t like that stuff. I do it natural.
Richard Jenkins: Yeah, this guy was crying for three acts.
Chloe Moretz: He’s like “How are you today?” (feigning crying) “I love you.”
Could you talk about working with Kodi (Smit-McPhee) and establishing that relationship.
Chloe Moretz: Kodi is an amazing, amazing actor. And to be able to work with a kid opposite me, who’s just really, really amazing. I said, there’s that emotional connection that they give back to you what you give to them, and that makes for a good relationship within the characters and in real life too. Because with every actor, you know, I gues you can fake a relationship on-screen. It’s a lot more work, when you actually have an emotional bond in real life, and you’re really good friends. Everything kind of flows naturally and you just let it go.
Richard Jenkins: When was the last time you saw him, before here? In March?
Chloe Moretz: It was five six, seven months ago?
Richard Jenkins: And when they saw each other, they picked up right where they left off, insulting each other, laughing, having fun. Didn’t you?
Chloe Moretz: Yeah. I know, I know. It’s kind of a love-hate relationship. It’s like a weird thing. Like, I don’t even know. I call him an “Emo.” He calls me a “chave.” It’s just one big mess.
A “chave”? What is that?
Chloe Moretz: It’s more of a European term, I guess. It’s kind of a British term, like “you’re chavey.” (feigning British accent) “You’re chavey, mate” “You’re a chave”
Well, okay. If you put it that way, I get it.
Chloe Moretz: It’s like a person who wear really baggy pants, who thinks he’s really cool, but he’s really not cool. And he tries way too hard to be cool.
What was it like working with Matt? Have you seen CLOVERFIELD? Did you know anything about him?
Chloe Moretz: I love CLOVERFIELD.
Richard Jenkins: Don’t leave?
Chloe Moretz: We love each other.
PART II with Producer Simon Oakes (CEO of Hammer Films)
Would you please talk about the decision to do an American version of this film?
Simon Oakes: So, look, I’ve been on the record about this. We saw the first film very early, and we were knocked out by it. I read the book, and it was phenomenal. And we had made a very early decision with Hammer that we were going to make what we call “smart horror”. Enlightened, we were going to try to renoble the genre. Because I felt it had been perfectly adequately served by the gorenography all over the place. But it really wasn’t what Hammer should be about, when rebooting it. So, we already committed ourselves into doing this film. I think Matt referred to it earlier. With Matt, we didn’t look around for directors. Matt was right on board immediately. And we knew he was going to bring am element that was over and beyond or different from what was in the original in terms of his personal experiences. I think John Ajvide (Lindqvist) wrote a book where he wanted to tell a love story of sorts in the context of a Gothic vampire story, and Matt layered on top of it his own personal experiences.
I had that bittersweet feeling when the film began to get bigger and bigger and bigger. In fact, my office is in Haymark in London, and the cinema is right there with a massive poster of LET ME IN, and I’m going “Noooo!”
But truthfully, I was bittersweet because I was remarking “My God, this is terrible.” But this is wonderful. This is exactly why we bought it, because it such a great movie. And if we weren’t sure that we could bring something different to it, then we wouldn’t have done it. And I think also, the reality is this - as I often say, “In Pittsburgh, Idaho and Liverpool, Manchester and certain parts of Germany, and the outback of Australia, they haven’t seen the original. But they are going to see this.” For obvious reasons, because we put a lot of money behind it with marketing it properly in the UK and the US, as well as around the world. So, the story is getting to more people. So, I’m happy with that, and John’s happy as well. That was very important to me. The original author is happy with what we’re doing.
When you’re talking about bringing something different to it, what specifically?
Simon Oakes: I think people who absolutely love, understand and connect with the language of film will find the original as something that is accessible. But there are other people who don’t for whatever reason. They don’t like the genre. They wouldn’t go and see that sort of film for whatever reason. They might say “Oh, that’s a vampire film. I don’t want to see that,” or “it’s a horror film, I’m not going to see that film.” I think Matt’s version is a little more accessible. I think the relationships are drawn out a little bit more. I think there’s more tactile nature in their relationship, where they hug each other. And her relationship with Richard’s character is more drawn out, it’s more rounded. So, I think that’s one of the things that we’ve done. I think we made the story in a sense more linear. I think there’s a lot in the original - you, I absolutely adore - is slightly different tonally. So, I think he’s bringing his unique vision to it. And I call his version. I don’t call his remake or re-imagining. I call it his version of it. It’s almost as if another director could another version of it and come with something else. So, that’s how I feel about it anyway. You should ask him. You will.
Are there any other novels by this author that are along those lines that you might also want to adapt?
Simon Oakes: Yeah. You probably know. There’s a wonderful book called THE HANDLING OF THE UNDEAD, which absolutely adore. There are plans afoot. We have to see. He’s an extraordinary man. I’m actually going to go to Sweden in early September, and take the film to show John.
So, do you feel that novels make the best source material for film, because it seems you have a lot based on novellas and novels?
Simon Oakes: Well, sometimes. You know the old adage is that bad material often makes for a good film, and vice-versa. Okay. I think we’ve been lucky in the sense with Susan Hill’s book THE WOMAN IN BLACK, it was a pastiche in a way - she may not like me saying that - in M.R. James and also Wilkie Collins. And so, it’s suggested. And the great thing for filmmakers and screenplay writers is about suggestion and then they have the artistic freedom to be able to build something. You know, what would it really look like? And James has got that in THE WOMAN IN BLACK. I mean, what would it be like? What’s going on in that causeway and suffer of that brilliant imagination. And I think the same with this is that it’s a really rich, textured book. There’s so much going on. I mean there’s actually another movie in the book. So, yeah, in this case, I think we have been very lucky that the source material has been very strong.
I just wanted ask about the delicacy of dealing with such subject matter with young actors on the set. How do you prepare for that? How do you work with that?
Simon Oakes: That’s an incredibly good question. I think what you do is that you play it straight. You play it as it is just off the page. You let people interpret whatever they want to interpret from it. I think you have to be careful. These two children, young actors I like to call them, are incredible insightful. They know there’s something going on, but they’re not quite sure of what it is. I think you worry about that, just not remotely prurient in any way. There’s nothing that is suggested that is wrong. There’s a feeling to it, a danger in this film that there’s something lurking under the surface. And you just leave that. Let people make up their own mind about that.
PART III - Director Matt Reeves and actor Kodi Smit-McPhee
How has Comic Con been for you?
Kodi Smit-McPhee: Comic Con has been good. Pretty crazy. So fun. I love sitting at the table and feeling special, and everyone’s signing autographs.
Can’t wait for that. I’m going again.
Matt Reeves: And he got to go down on the floor yesterday, which I have yet to be able to do. This is the first time that I am at Comic Con. With CLOVERFIELD, we were shooting, and so JJ (Abrams) came with the poster, and had the whole crazy experience and got to see all the people in costumes. I have only seen it fleetingly. Since we came in yesterday on the train, I see guys on the street wearing capes. And I’m like, “This is awesome!” I just haven’t been on the floor yet.
Kodi Smit-McPhee: You go down on the floor, and it’s not what you expected. And when you get there, there’s a whole lot of stands, it’s like a market. But you don’t really see a lot people in costumes.
Matt Reeves: Oh really?
Kodi Smit-McPhee: No. I thought I’d see much, much more.
People are less ‘geeky’ this year. It sucks.
Matt Reeves: What’s going on?
I’ve seen people in costume in the street. I remember that out on the convention hall?
Kodi Smit-McPhee: I was watching old videos of 2005, and there was so much costumes.
Yes, there were.
So I’m wondering though with this film, when is it coming out? Around Halloween?
Kodi Smit-McPhee & Matt Reeves: October 1st.
What would be a good costume for LET ME IN?
Kodi Smit-McPhee: Va-va-va-va-vampire?
With Rubik’s Cubes?
Matt Reeves: Yeah.
Kodi Smit-McPhee: Someone could dress up as a Rubick’s Cube.
Matt Reeves: I don’t know… that’s a good question. One of things that’s so strange about the movie. I mean, Chloe is very strange by how she looks. I don’t mean Chloe personally. I mean in the movie. You know what I meant now. Goodnight.
Kodi Smit-McPhee: TMZ.
Matt Reeves: But the idea of her. There’s obviously the bloody kisses and things in the movie. So, I suppose somebody could have a tremendous amount of blood on their mouth and face. But anyway. I don’t know.
Kodi Smit-McPhee: Maybe the dress...
Matt Reeves: Yes, the dress kind of has a... some clothes that she borrows from his mother.
Borrows. Okay. I like that.
Matt Reeves: Borrows. Yes. Exactly. I don’t think she’s getting it back.
When you were preparing to do this film, what were some of the thoughts or concerns you had, since people had seen the previous one, to make it your own?
Matt Reeves: Well, I kind of felt like there both - and it’s weird - it will be interesting to see what people think. I’m sure there will be some people that will say, “Oh my God, I can’t believe they changed too much.” And some people are going to say like, “They didn’t change enough.” It’s going to be very interesting. But what I try to use as my guiding principle is the thing I fell in love with, which is the “coming of age” story, and really finding a way to, as much as possible, tell the story through that point of view. And so, filmically, that was what drove the shot choices, and all of that, was the idea of getting inside the point of view of these characters.
The original was sort of done in a very beautiful somewhat detached manner with these incredible masters that play out. Which I think it’s brilliant, the way it’s shot. But I’m really drawn to point of view filmmaking. I mean, obviously CLOVERFIELD is an extreme version of that, because’ it’s literally a handi-cams point of view. But there is something about putting yourself in the shoes of someone in the middle of an experience that can create an emotional reaction. And I really wanted to have the audience _ and I hope that I do, we’ll see - react to these things. Even though, characters might be doing things that seem dark that you can never imagine seeing yourself doing, well I want you to imagine seeing yourself doing them. And I want to imagine what it would feel like to be bullied mercilessly like this. Or to be Richard Jenkins going out and getting food for Abby. And so, it was kind of like a process of putting myself as much as possible in those situations in my mind.
And Simon said they were taking the film over to Sweden to show the author.
Matt Reeves: Yes, we going to show Lindquist. We’re very excited about that. He was very kind. He wrote me a few times. And after SXSW (South by Southwest). He sent me another email. He said, “You know, somebody sent me a recording of what you said at SXSW and I continue to have faith.” He’s been very, very kind. I don’t know what he will think of the movie. I certainly hope he likes it.
Kodi Smit-McPhee: How old is he?
Matt Reeves: He must be a similar age to me. He’s probably in his 40’s.
Kodi Smit-McPhee: That’s cool.
Matt Reeves: I would think. Because it’s about growing up in the 80’s. And he did. So, he’s been very cool. I mean, again. Obviously, he’s not directly involved in the production of the film. But it’s his story, and I hope we will be able to deliver something that he appreciates. But we’ll see. I’m sure he’ll let the world know.
So Kodi, Matt says sort of put himself in the character. Did you do the same thing? Did you have any experiences that even remotely that difficult?
Kodi Smit-McPhee: Yeah. I think maybe when I’ve been lonely sometimes, and having a lot of people to talk to is one thing. And being trapped in an apartment all day. And there’s a lot of stuff that’s happened here. I’m jus trying to find some friends that I can connect to. And stuff. And having a routine of just doing nothing all day, and you think it’s Hollywood and all will be fun. But it’s really not a lot to do. Just get board and stuff. And you feel like you’re wasting a lot of your time. I think that’s a lot of what Owen is feeling. And he does a lot of things to - what’s the word?
Matt Reeves: Pass his time?
Kodi Smit-McPhee: Yeah.
Can you talk about the importance of the casting for this? And finding the two young leads, because...
Matt Reeves: That’s the whole thing.
Matt Reeves: The importance was we had to kind Kodi & Chloe, because truly - as I was saying on the panel - the story is an adult story about being twelve. And that means it has to have a level of authenticity and emotional complexity that not most 12 or 13 year old actors can pull off. And I can’t say what a gift it’s been to have found Kodi and Chloe. They’re just amazing.
Was there a moment when you had the two of them together that you knew you found the right pair?
Matt Reeves: Yeah, the interesting thing to me was I never got to read them together. I did read Kodi with someone else. And she was a really interesting actress. But there’s something about the chemistry that wasn’t quite right. She’s not quite the right age. And when Kodi came in, he did this scene I had written that I thought it would be very difficult to do. But he was so beautiful. When he did it, I was like, “Oh, he’s not pretending. He’s not forcing. I mean, he is pretending. He’s acting. But he’s doing it in such an authentic way. And I was like, “Oh, he’s amazing.” I had to have him in the movie. And the same thing happened with Chloe. But I never did have them together. I had this belief. You know, I could have been wrong. But I had this kind of instinct that somehow, because Kodi was already back in Australia, where he was doing another film. And I thought, “I think, that these two are the right ones together.” But I never saw them together. So, that was kind of a leap of faith. And we started working together and it turned out to be the case. It was really lucky.
Staci Layne Wilson reporting
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