Matt Reeves Says 'Let Me In' Will Be Darker Than 'Twilight'
Let's face it. Director Matt Reeves (Cloverfield) is remaking the spectacular Swedish film Let the Right One, so instead of incessantly griping about it, maybe we should hear him out as MTV talked to him about the difficulties of remaking an established film, the inevitable comparisons to Twilight, and the tone of the impending Let Me In. From the get-go he knows his battle, "There has been a real bull's-eye on the movie, because people had so much love for that [original] film. I share that love, and for me, what was important was to have reverence for the original while at the same time trying to find the way to make it our own."
Even though the original film (and the book that it was based on) are Swedish, the film has been tailored to American audiences (for better or worse). Reeves confirms:
"It's very much an Americanization of the tale that John Ajvide Lindqvist tells. The film touched me. And I read the book, which he also wrote, and it moved me too. It reminded me so much of my own childhood in certain ways. It's so much about that period of preadolescence, that feeling of being a child and of being bullied, the difficulties of growing up. It's such a beautiful coming-of-age story, in addition to being such a terrific genre story. I really wanted to put you, even more so, into the point of view of the boy and understand his childhood as vividly as it comes across in the book."
Well played, sir. Reeves certainly has a handle on the story itself and is smart enough to know that this isn't just another vampire movie in the way that Cloverfield wasn't just another monster movie. Good to hear. But it sounds like the talent in front of the camera is bringing just as much passion to the project as Reeves. The director talks about his young lead actor Kodi Smit-McPhee (The Road) and his vampire counterpart Chloe Moretz (Hit-Girl from the upcoming Kick-Ass):
"The idea that we have these two kids is kind of a dream. My God, those are very challenging roles! I thought, 'Gosh, can we find a young actor that would do this?' and then Kodi came in, and I just knew we could make the movie. I was fortunate enough to get to meet Kodi, 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. He is just so authentic and real.
[And] Chloe is just remarkable. She was one of the many people who came in, and I was like, 'Oh, my gosh, she's amazing.' The thing that we always talk about is trying to find the way to not have her … 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."
All right, two-for-two so far. But how exactly is Reeves dealing with the already tired trend of vampires in pop culture, and drawing a line between his film and the teen angst ridden vampire behemoth that is the Twilight Saga?
"I think that what people respond to in 'Twilight' is the fantasy of it. It's such a grand, romantic fantasy, and in a way, the reason why I think there is room for a film like ours is, though it's a vampire film, it uses it in such a different way. Whereas 'Twilight' is kind of a fantasy, this will be a darker, scarier kind of journey. 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."
Although the viewer can get the majority of what Reeves wants his film to embody from the original film, I think it's going to be his cast the truly makes the film an entity unto itself. These two young performers have a lot of charisma and at their age, this kind of screen presences commands attention. And importantly, this is what will make or break this remake, which right now is riding the fine line between being despised by fans of the original and actually succeeding. For now, consider me still cautiously optimistic. Check out the rest of the interview with Reeves over at MTV. Does this change your attitude on the remake?