Reeves admits he's battled widespread concern about the wisdom of remaking the beloved cult classic, but when it premiered at the Toronto Film Festival, there was a collective sigh of relief. It unequivocally won over the doubters; some say Reeves' version surpasses the original. It's about an awkward, lonely boy (14-year-old Australian actor Kodi Smit-McPhee) who befriends a girl (Chloe Moretz) who moves in next door. Moviefone spoke with Reeves about crafting the elusive "good" remake.
Matt, How did you handle the pressure of remaking 'Let the Right One In,' when it was clear the fans had no faith in it?
I was so far down the line on it. The thing to do was block out all the [fan interest] and do it as a labor of love. I get why people would feel there was danger, there have been so many bad remakes. To take Lindqvist's story and put it into an American world, in a world I related to, was special to me.
'Let Me In' and 'Cloverfield' inhabit a similar cinematic world.
When I first got involved, I had just finished 'Cloverfield.' I wasn't really interested in genre films but having done two, I found a way in. The thing I really love about genre films is that you can take the metaphor for whatever it is, a monster, a vampire, and you can sneak something in under the metaphor. What amazed me about the original film is that they took a vampire film and turned it on the pain of adolescence. I wrote Lindqvist (who wrote the original screenplay) and told him that not only is it a great genre story, but it resonated with me so much personally. He wrote back saying he really liked 'Cloverfield' because it was a new spin on an old story and that's what he was trying to do with 'Let the Right One In.'
'Cloverfield' was a landmark, a new way of making movies. A real accomplishment.
'The Blair Witch Project' did it before we did it. I'm interested in taking absurd fantastical themes in genre films but do them in ways that lend an air of reality, because that makes them on one hand ridiculous and on the other hand energetic. The fun of 'Cloverfield' was to find a way to do that movie as realistically as possible. It's what our collective idea of what reality is and the illusion of it. You can just go out and make a film with a handi-cam but you have to feel passionately about it or it gets boring.
How did you find Kodi and Chloe?
I said I wouldn't make the movie unless we could find someone right. There is a scene where he talks to his father on the phone. He suddenly realizes what [Chloe's character] is and it's his lowest point. It was inspired by the moment in 'Rosemary's Baby' where Mia Farrow's character is on the payphone and you're watching her break down but the camera just holds on her. That was what we needed to do, and he's so alone and can't articulate the pain he's in. I wrote that scene and wondered what 12- or 13-year-old could do this. Then Kodi came in and blew me away. He was so real. I was so relieved because then I knew we could make the movie. It had to be him. When Chloe came in, I talked to Matthew Vaughn about her in 'Kick-Ass' and he said, "You don't understand, you will love her."
There's a weird sexual vibe; how did you manage it for mainstream audiences?
At this moment in this young person's life, there's a strange juxtaposition of being stuck between adolescence, innocence and sexual discovery. There is a lot of confusion, but their relationship is incredibly innocent. He has sexual fascinations, he's very drawn to the woman across the way, and all of that is frightening but exciting. It makes the story provocative.
'Let Me In' opens in theaters on October 1.