Matt Reeves on LET ME IN and Its Inevitable Comparison to TWILIGHT

     January 19, 2010

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Director Matt Reeves (Cloverfield) wasn’t kidding when he told MTV today that his “Americanization” of Let the Right One In has “a real bull’s-eye on it.”  The heartwarming Swedish horror gathered quite the cult following after its 2008 release. However, Reeves wanted to reassure fans of the original that his adaptation will stay true to the first film and the book on which it’s based — and to remind people that thisisn’t Twilight or True Blood.

Let Me In moves John Ajvide Lindqvist’s story from semi-urban Sweden to small town New Mexico, telling the tale of a boy (The Road‘s Kodi Smit-McPhee) who befriends his neighborhood vampire (Kick-Ass‘ Chloe Moretz).  The film recently secured its October 1, 2010 release date. See what Reeves had to say for himself after the break.

matt_reeves_image__2_.jpgReeves told MTV he wants to remain “very, very reverent to the beautiful film” on which his is based, while keying even more so into “the point of view of the boy [to] understand his childhood as vividly as it comes across in the book.”  He also defended Twilight as a “grand, sweeping love story,” and recognizes that fans are drawn in by “the fantasy of it.” But his film won’t be Twilight:

“Whereas Twilight is kind of a fantasy, this will be a darker, scarier kind of journey. Obviously, True Blood is also really big these days too, and that’s a different thing using the sexual side. I think it’s really about what sort of emphasis the story takes and how you use the metaphor. The amazing thing about genre films is the way to smuggle in different kinds of themes and things worthy of exploration. I think what so struck me about this story is that what it is exploring is so different and so real.”

Reeves also discussed the challenges of balancing respect for the original with his desire to make the film his own. “It’s about the details and the things that make it an American story and putting it in an American context and the things that I relate to from my childhood and the things that the actors bring.”

Speaking of which, Reeves greatly values his cast. He said, “I was fortunate enough to get to meet Kodi [Smit-McPhee], and he read with me one day, and literally from that very moment, there was no question that there was nobody that could play this role except for him.” As for Chloe Moretz, Reeves says she’s “just remarkable.”

“She is a vampire in the story, so what does that mean? How do you play a vampire? The idea is to have her not play a vampire at all but have her play the reality of her life and the difficulty of her life, and that’s the way these two lonely souls connect. The two of them are just a joy to work with. She was one of the many people who came in, and I was like, ‘Oh, my gosh, she’s amazing.’ All that Kick-Ass stuff happened after that, and so, in retrospect, I’m going, ‘How did it happen that we got these two kids that now everyone is now so incredibly excited about?’ It truly is because their talent speaks so loudly that when they came in the room it was like, ‘Oh, these are the two kids.'”

As a huge fan of Cloverfield when it came out, and of Let the Right One In when it crossed the Atlantic, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t sort of excited when I heard Reeves was given the adaptation.  Given that the film was going to be “Americanized” regardless, at least it’s being done so by a man who truly respects the story’s origins, and has proven he can execute horror with a strong, unique vision.  I’m not a fan of the new title, but I will be in line on opening night, so I can only hope Reeves doesn’t prove my confidence in him wrong.

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