Comic-Con 2010: Matt Reeves' Let Me In Continues to Impress
by Alex Billington
July 24, 2010
We just finished watching Overture/Hammer Films' panel for Matt Reeves' Let Me In at Comic-Con today. In attendance were director Matt Reeves and actors Chloe Moretz, Kodi Smit-McPhee and Richard Jenkins (who was so great to see at Comic-Con). We all know by now that Let Me In is a remake of John Ajvide Lindqvist's incredible vampire tale, or rather vampire love story. "It's an adult story, it's a complex story, yet it falls on two 12-year-old kids to play," Reeves said regarding casting concerns. Although there's been some hesitation, based on the clips and footage today, I really think Reeves might have pulled it off.
Alex and Golden Briefcase host Tim Buel recorded a quick video blog reaction to the footage, which you can watch at the very bottom, but before we get to that I want to highlight a few of the things mentioned during the panel today, as it was one of the best panels I've attended at Comic-Con this year - just great discussion.
In developing Let Me In, from the start Reeves said he asked anyone (from the cast and crew) who hadn't seen the original film to not see it, but watch it as soon as they finish making the movie. He said time and time it was a brilliant movie and when Overture first asked him about it, he told them not to remake it or age the kids up because it would destroy it. Later, Hammer & Overture teamed up and in the meantime he read the book and was taken by the beauty of the writing. So he wrote to Lindqvist about remaking it and he wrote back saying he really liked Cloverfield and wanted to do the same thing with Let the Right One In (reinvent the genre), but he was more excited to know that the film had "touched" him in incredible ways.
So when Reeves finally agreed to do it, he wanted to take that original concept and honor Lindqvist's story yet put it in an American landscape - he thought that would be interesting to attempt. He was very faithful to the structure of the original film because he thought it was a brilliant adaptation of Lindqvist's own book. But he also wanted to add things from his own experience growing up as well. So, as Reeves explained, Let Me In is an amalgamation of the structure of the original film, "stuff" from the book, and an interpretation of his own life growing up, which really makes this a very personal film (and that showed in the footage).
Reeves also talked a lot about his inspirations, from Rosemary's Baby (which played directly into a clip we saw) as well as Steven Spielberg, specifically the "tract housing" suburbia neighborhoods like from E.T., but it was Cloverfield writer Drew Goddard who inspired him to set it in Los Alamos, New Mexico, but also really wanted to keep the snowy local, which was inspired by Lindqvist's own life growing up in Sweden. "I was so taken with the way Lindqvist had taken a vampire story and make it about the pain of adolescence," Reeves said. In the end, he's hoping that everyone feels like it's another version of the same story that still touches people in the end, that's all Reeves really wants.
In regards to the two young actors in it, Reeves hadn't even seen Kick-Ass (which Chloe Moretz starred in) or The Road (which Kodi Smit-McPhee starred in) when he cast the two of them. But he was sold, especially on Moretz, because "she showed how beautifully vulnerable she could be, and how tough she could be." In addition, also inspired by Spielberg, he asked the two of them to keep a journal the entire time to help develop their characters. They could write anything, but had to show it to Reeves.
At the beginning they showed a new US trailer, but I'm not sure when it'll hit online. It looked good, very intense and dark, maybe even more than Let the Right One In. But it wasn't until we saw the clips that I was really blown away. In one, we get to see the "would you still like me if I wasn't a girl?" that was very intimate and beautifully shot, complete with a light score in the background that added an extra little touch to make it perfect. In the second one, we saw Richard Jenkins' caretaker character, with a plastic bag over his head, attempt to find a "meal" for Abby, but it all goes wrong, and we watch as the car he sneaks into crashes with the camera shooting from one position in the back.
I think it's best to just let our reactions speak for themselves. Until a new trailer officially hits, check out our quick video blog below. Apologies for the annoying PA voice blaring overhead, but it's always playing and there's nothing we could do about it. Suffice it to say, I was very impressed, and I honestly do think Reeves might have pulled off a remake/re-adaptation on par with Tomas Alfredson's original Let the Right One In.