EXCLUSIVE: Kodi Smit-McPhee Talks Let Me In
The young Australia actor discusses his role in the new vampire movie based on the popular Swedish film and book
One of the most anticipated movies of the fall is Let Me In, which opens in theaters on October 1st. The movie is a remake of the popular Swedish film Let the Right One in based on the book of the same name. Director Matt Reeves' follow up to his 2008 hit Cloverfield tells the story of a lonely twelve-year-old boy who develops a relationship with a vampire child in a small town in the '1980s. Actor Kodi Smit-McPhee, who is best known for his role opposite Viggo Mortensen in last year's critically acclaimed film The Road, stars as Owen, the tortured teen, while Kick-Ass actress Chloe Moretz plays the female vampire that catches his attention. We recently had a chance to speak with Kodi Smit-McPhee about his new movie, the character he plays, working with Chloe Moretz and Matt Reeves, Twilight and some of his favorite horror films. Here is what he had to say:
To begin with, had you seen the original Swedish film before you were cast in this movie and if not, did you watch it before you started shooting or decide that it was best not to see it at all?
Kodi Smit-McPhee: When I first read the script I didn't even know there was a book or a movie and then we found out. We chose not too see the original because we wanted to have our own take on it. Then we heard that Matt didn't want any of the cast or crew to see it either, we weren't going to watch it anyway so we had pretty good instincts about that.
What can you tell us about your character Owen, what is he like?
Kodi Smit-McPhee: He was really to himself and didn't have any friends. He got bullied a lot at school and his parents never really helped him much, they had a divorce. Then he meets this girl, they accidentally become friends and then he falls in love with her.
Was there anything about the character in particular that you were able to relate with or connect to that helped you play the role?
Kodi Smit-McPhee: Not the bullying, he had some pretty bad bullying. Maybe just being bored sometimes. He didn't really have a lot to do like that, just being in the apartment.
How did you adjust to portraying the time period in the movie, the '80s? Did the clothes or the music help you to create your character?
Kodi Smit-McPhee: It was cool. The '80s would have been cool to be in but I was playing a '80s nerd so it probably was not as much fun for him.
Can you talk a little bit about the strange relationship that Abby and Owen have in the movie?
Kodi Smit-McPhee: When they meet each other she's kind of defensive and says that they can't be friends. He can see that she's kind of weird because she smells funny and doesn't wear shoes and stuff. She doesn't get cold so she's a bit different but she's his only friend so he doesn't really care. Then as he gets to know a little bit more about her he helps her and she helps him.
What was it like working with opposite Chloe Moretz in the film?
Kodi Smit-McPhee: Cool. She's awesome and I saw her in Kick-Ass afterwards and she's like a little stunt-girl. I hear that on this movie she did a bit of her own stunts and when she did it looked better than the other girl because it looked more real.
Can you talk about working with Matt Reeves? Had you seen "Cloverfield" before you met him?
Kodi Smit-McPhee: He was cool. I didn't see Cloverfield, I probably should. It's shaky-cam and a monster, right? That sounds cool. There is not much of that in this film. Matt was great. He knew what he wanted and just let us do it. He wanted it to be different than the original but still have a certain style. I think he got it.
Since you didn't know about the original film or the book when you first read the script, what was your initial opinion of its depiction of vampires?
Kodi Smit-McPhee: Well around then vampires didn't really have their own genre; it was just like normal stuff. Then when this was in the middle of shooting Twilight came out and that was a big hit. It was kind of a coincidence that they both came out around the same time. But I thought the script was cool, kind of scary, that it would be my first horror film and that it was something different.
Can you describe the differences between how the vampires are depicted in "Twilight" versus how they are shown in this movie?
Kodi Smit-McPhee: Well Twilight is cool, epic and when you walk out you say, "I want to be a vampire." Then this is more of a story of growing up and maybe the more realistic side of being a vampire. When you walk out you definitely wont want to be a vampire.
Are you a fan of horror movies and do you think that genre accurately describes this film or would you say that it is more of a thriller than a horror movie?
Kodi Smit-McPhee: Yeah, I like horror films and this one is definitely scary. It's a horror film and a thriller. A little bit of both and it's a love story as well with a bit about kids growing up. It has a bit of everything.
Finally, can you tell us what are some of your favorite all-time horror movies?
Kodi Smit-McPhee: Well my favorite horror films, and I don't like ones that are too disturbing because they freak me out, but I like Friday The 13th, the originals and the new one. I think I've seen all of them because I went to my friend's house and we rented them all and just watched them in a row. I like "Chucky" (Child's Play), Jeepers Creepers and I saw The Fourth Kind and that just freaked me out.