Principal Photography began today on Matt Reeves’ “Let Me In”, the remake of Tomas Alfredson’s acclaimed film, “Let the Right One In” which was an adaptation of the John Ajvide Lindqvist’s novel of the same name. It’s difficult to find a fan of Alfredson’s film who is excited for this remake since the Swedish landscape is such an integral part of the film’s tone and overarching themes. Couple that with the tendency of American films to avoid ambiguity and relationships which may make audiences uncomfortable and you can see why the reception of its production is (appropriately) chilly.
But actors Elias Koteas (“Zodiac”), Cara Buono (“The Sopranos”), and Sasha Barrese (“The Hangover”) are giving the film a chance and joining stars Kodi-Smit McPhee (“The Road”), Chloe Moretz (“Kick-Ass”) and Richard Jenkins (“The Visitor”). Hit the jump for more details.
Here’s the logline of “Let Me In” from the press release:
In the haunting and provocative LET ME IN, an alienated 12-year-old boy (Smit-McPhee) befriends a mysterious young newcomer (Moretz) in his small New Mexico town and discovers an unconventional path to adulthood
Okay, that’s not what the original is about at all but that’s okay because I’m sure they have a reason for it. The press release continues:
The filmmakers note that while the new film will pay respect to the original Swedish version, they intend to forge a unique identity for LET ME IN, placing it firmly in an American context.
Oh, sweet vampire Christ. First off, Sweden is not a melting pot. I’m not saying that there isn’t a diversity of culture, but Sweden is not even close to American in that level of diversity of culture let alone geography! It’s very difficult to define an “American” context outside of large generalizations. At best (and it wouldn’t be the worst idea ever), you can set in the context of the American southwest. But no one would say that a small town in New Mexico is like a small town in Iowa or South Carolina or Montana. America is too diverse. Also, if this is just a coming-of-age tale, spare me.
The producers can say that they want to pay respect to the original but I have trouble believing that when I read “the story deserves to be seen by audiences on a wide scale,” which I take as “mainstream America hates reading subtitles and don’t want to see a film set in Sweden featuring a relationship that’s difficult to define. Let’s dumb it down.”
What I want to hear from the filmmakers is that this is going to be a challenge. This is a film that needs to justify its existence beyond the need for greater accessibility to American audiences. And I say all of this as someone who respects the original but isn’t one of the hardcore faithful.