Nothing makes true movie fans more angry than hearing about a brilliant foreign film getting an American remake, sometimes before the original is even released itself. Examples include The Ring (Ringu), The Grudge (Ju-On), Quarantine ([REC]), and the latest title, Let Me In, which is a remake of Swedish hit Let the Right One In.
The thing about Let Me In, however, is that the more people see and hear of it, the more it begins to look like it might become a legit new film. This possibility was elevated to a new level this past weekend during Comic-Con 2010, where the movie and its cast and crew made a lot of people believers.
The panel opens with a new trailer from the movie. The first trailer was decent but this new trailer really shows off how dark this movie will be, and some of the chemistry that the film’s two young stars share with one another.
Next up comes the introduction of director Matt Reeves, stars Kodi Smit-McPhee, Richard Jenkins, and Chloe Moretz.
Reeves talks about casting the movie, and how crucial it was to find the right kids for the roles. He talks about a scene in his movie involving the Owen character (Smit-McPhee) that reminded him of a scene in Rosemary’s Baby with just Mia Farrow, and he wondered how he could possibly find someone that could pull it off. He read some actors, but when Smit-McPhee — who recently appeared in the post-apocalyptic drama The Road — read for it, Reeves knew immediately, stopped the casting, and decided this was the kid.
In Moretz’s case, he wasn’t looking for a girl who could play a vampire, but someone who could play protective and vulnerable and primal, someone who could play a little girl (named Abby) who’s dealing with the fact that she’s a vampire and struggling with it, a “wounded soul.” Reeves hadn’t seen Smit-McPhee in The Road, nor had he seen Moretz in her breakout role as Hit-Girl in Kick-Ass when he made these casting choices, either.
While Reeves was casting (and still looking for someone to play Abby’s caretaker role), he was invited to an event by Overture honoring Richard Jenkins for his Academy Award nomination in The Visitor. While attending the event, Reeves’ wife said to him “That’s him. Did you see his eyes?” Reeves then realized how perfect Jenkins was, became obsessed with getting him, had him read the script, and it all came together.
They then move into the first of two clips which shows a little of Owen and the bond that he forms with Abby. Both of the clips that were shown have in-depth descriptions that you’ll be able to read below.
Reeves then talks about setting the movie in the ’80s and how the book and original film were period films, and that he felt it was important to have that here as well because a lot of us were young in the ’80s and could really relate to that time. He also talks about setting the movie in Los Alamos, New Mexico. He was originally going to set it in Colorado needing a location that had snow, but thanks to some tax breaks and discovering that screenwriter Drew Goddard grew up in Los Alamos, he thought that would be the best place to set it.
Reeves then talks about being approached to direct the remake 10 months before Let the Right One In was even released. He was able to watch the movie to get an idea, and came back to them saying that it was so perfect they probably shouldn’t even remake it…but if they did, those kids had to be that age (the studio had suggested maybe making them older for American audiences) because that’s what the story is about, that age and the struggles that come with it.
He then went and read the book and was so moved by it that he wrote the author, John Ajvide Lindqvist, to tell him how badly he wanted to do it but also how much it moved him and how much he could relate to the characters and time period. Lindqvist wrote back to him to tell him that he enjoyed Reeves’ Cloverfield and to give his approval on the remake.
Jenkins talks about what drew him to the part and how he really wanted to figure out how this character got to the position he was in, how his childhood went to lead him down this path. He also admits that he just saw Let the Right One In a few days ago and loved it. We later find out that Reeves didn’t want any of his cast or crew to see the original movie when they were making theirs, but that they needed to watch it after they had finished.
Next up is the second clip, which deals with Jenkins’ character out attempting to acquire sustenance for Abby. It presents him as something of a serial killer though those are not his motives. Again, you can read full descriptions below!
Audience Q&A was next. Reeves tells a story about J.J. Abrams telling him that Steven Spielberg liked Cloverfield. Reeves was naturally honored by this, but asked Abrams if he would be able to speak to Spielberg about working with child actors. Spielberg was kind enough to oblige and told Reeves he should have them keep a diary every day on the set, and that they would let him read it, and that was one way to keep a strong sense of how to work with them.
That wraps it all up. Check out the full footage descriptions here and be sure to see images from the panel below!
CLIP 1: Owen and Abby Get Candy
The first clip is of Abby (Chloe Moretz) and Owen (Kodi Smit-McPhee) on a snowy night. They go into store with video games and candy. Owen says how he loves “Now and Later” candies and goes to get a package of the candy out of a glass class. He asks Abby if she wants some, but she declines. He asks again, saying he’ll get her any flavor she wants. Again, she declines, but you can see she is sad that she has to say no to him. He buys the candy, and she changes her mind, saying how trying just one candy won’t hurt. She eats the candy then smiles at Owen. “I like it,” she tells him, and this makes him happy. Flash to Abby outside the store throwing up. Owen runs outside to her. Feeling bad for her, he tries to comfort her. They hug. Abby asks Owen, “Do you like me?” and he says “Yes.” Abby’s still upset and shaken. She asks Owen, “Would you still like me if I wasn’t a girl?” “Yes,” Owen replies.
The scene begins with the Father (Richard Jenkins) in the kitchen getting ready to go out. Abby comes in and asks him if he’s going out. “Do I have a choice?” he replies, sounding irritated. Abby looks upset. He then brings up her friendship with Owen and tells her she should stay away from him.
Flash to the Father stalking a new victim in a gym parking lot. He hides in the person’s car; he’s wearing a black garbage bag over his head with slots cut out for his eyes and lies down hidden in the backseat. The driver gets into the car, but before the Father can go through with his plan, the driver’s friend gets in the car to get a lift. There’s a few near-comedic moments where the passenger is trying to push the seat back, thereby crushing the Father in the back, and then also throwing his bad in the back seat right on top of the Father. Even though he has the black bag over his head, you can see the fear and panic in the Father’s eyes. After a short drive, the driver gets out of the car and goes into a store, while the passenger waits behind in the car, turning up the radio (Asia’s “Heat Of The Moment” is playing). The passenger looks to the back seat to get something from his bag when he notices the man lying down in the back. The passenger turns to run out of the car, but the Father grabs him. The passenger is pounding on the window to alert his friend in the store, but no one notices him. The Father strangles the passenger, and in a panic, hops into the driver’s seat to drive away. This gets the driver’s attention and him and a few friends he met at the store run after the car, throwing stuff at it. In his panic, the Father loses control of the car, and after it turns over several times, the car ends up upside down in a ditch. We see the Father injured, with blood all over his skull and face. Realizing that he will be caught any minute, as the guys pursuing him make their way down into the ditch, the Father grabs a bottle from his bag and pours it over his head. He screams in agony, as it is acid. He’s doing this so he can’t be identified. The clip ends with the men running up to the car, seeing smoke coming off the head and face of the injured Father, as he screams.
Footage description by Empress Eve; Photos by Dave3.