You may know Kodi Smit-McPhee from his performances in films like The Road or Romulus, My Father. Currently though, his name is being tossed around a lot in regards to his wonderful performance in Matt Reeves’ Let Me In, a remake of the critically acclaimed Swedish film Let The Right One In.
Following closely to the story of the original film, and the novel, Let Me In tells the story of a young boy named Owen (Kodi Smit-McPhee). The year is 1983 and Owen lives in Los Alamos, Mexico with his mother. Neglected by his divorcing parents, Owen is the subject of severe bullying and torment at school. He really doesn’t have any friends and spends most of his days alone, that is until he meets Abby (Chloe Moretz). Abby is a 12 year old girl who moves in next door. The two quickly start to bond but Owen realizes that something isn’t right with Abby, she’s not like the other kids. Even stranger is the man Abby lives with, who is supposed to be her father but like Owen, we assume that there’s something not completely right with him either.
With Let Me In arriving on Blu-Ray and DVD this Tuesday, we decided to sit down with Kodi for a bit and talk about the film with him. Check out the interview below (audio version included at the end).
Kodi Smit-McPhee: Hello Matt.
We Got This Covered: Hi Kodi how are you?
KSM: I’m good.
WGTC: We just wanted to thank you very much for taking the time to talk to us today, we really appreciate it.
KSM: Cool, thank you.
WGTC: We’re here to talk about your newest film, Let Me In, which is arriving next week on Blu-Ray and DVD. To start things off why don’t you tell us what drew you to the role and were you familiar with the original, Let The Right One In, before this project came about?
KSM: When my dad and I read the script, I actually didn’t know about Let The Right One In, until later on, and we chose not to watch it, just so we’d have a fresh take on the film, like everyone else on set. And then I watched it afterwards and I thought it was a really cool film.
WGTC: Did you have any hesitations before taking the role or when you read the script did you just know that it was the right role for you and that you wanted it?
KSM: My whole group and team, liked it, like my agents and my dad, who works with me on my roles, we all really liked it. And when I auditioned I got the job and ya.
WGTC: How did you prepare for the role? There were so many places you could draw inspiration from, whether it be the book, the script, the original etc.
KSM: It really starts from scratch with my dad, we do a lot of researching and look into the whole life of that character, so it’s easy to jump in and out.
WGTC: What would you say then was your biggest source of inspiration, the original, the book, the script, etc.
KSM: There wasn’t really any inspiration because we weren’t really making a remake but another adaption so it was really just from scratch.
WGTC: Was it challenging for you taking on a role that had already been played before and one that was so well received? Was there any kind of pressure to live up to the original or did you not feel any of that?
KSM: No not really, I just didn’t think of it like that, I approached it just as doing another film, just like Matt Reeves.
WGTC: So you weren’t worried what fans of the original might think?
WGTC: What would you say were the major differences in shooting a film like Let Me In and say a film like The Road, which did you find more challenging as an actor and why?
KSM: Well they both had snow but I think The Road was a bit more challenging because most of it was really physical and always outside. Where as Let Me In was mainly fake snow and on set, so it was a bit more laid back and relaxed.
WGTC: Aside from the physical aspect though, what about the actual part, like the content and the role you would be playing, which role was more challenging?
KSM: Well you know all the jobs that I do are different, but I don’t know if I can say which one was harder or easier. I just take it as it is and do all the research and it’s all really hard. But in the end, you just know it and it’s easy.
WGTC: Tell us about working with Chloe Moretz, you guys had great on screen chemistry. Were you guys really close on the set?
KSM: Well it’s cool because the way Matt [Reeves] shot the film was in sequence so when we first met each other, our characters were first meeting each other so ya, it just kind of all worked out really well.
WGTC: Had you seen Chloe’s film Kick-Ass before you met her?
KSM: When our film was getting edited Kick-Ass had just come out and then I saw it. It was pretty awesome.
WGTC: While the film was in production, there was a lot of buzz going around the internet in regards to fans who were angry that it was being remade. What would you say was the reason that the original Swedish film needed to be remade or adapted?
KSM: Um, I think that’s more of a Matt [Reeves] question, but like you said it’s more of an adaption than a remake. Theirs was an adaptions as well from the novel. but I don’t know how to really answer that.
WGTC: Were you familiar with Matt Reeves before taking on the role and what was it like working with him?
KSM: He’s a really cool guy. The way he directs is he tells you what he thinks about the role first then lets you kind of add to it and mix it up a bit. I was aware that he did Cloverfield before because my friends had seen it and they really liked it but I hadn’t seen it.
WGTC: Were there any particular scenes while shooting that really challenged you as an actor?
KSM: Ya, the phone scene. It was just not right at first. Me and my dad worked on it a bit and we finally got it. My dad he’s an actor, he’s been acting for about 20 years and he’s now here in America. He just finished Sons Of Anarchy and now he’s doing Criminal Minds. Me and him would work together and when something isn’t right we just work together and it’s right the next day.
WGTC: Now you mention that phone scene, who was the actor on the phone?
KSM: It was actually Elias Koteas, not a lot of people know that and also you know that mask that I wear?
KSM: That’s a mold of Richard Jenkin’s face.
WGTC: Really? I didn’t know that, cool.
KSM: It’s kind of obvious but not a lot of people pick it up.
WGTC: You mentioned Elias Koteas and Richard Jenkins, what was it like working with them on set, they’re obviously far older than you so were you able to pick up on any acting tips or tricks and did they coach you in anyway on the set?
KSM: No, not really. Everyone kind of does their own thing. They’re really cool guys though and it was an honor to work with them. I also found out later on that Elias was the guy in the original Ninja Turtles, the one that wore the hockey mask.
WGTC: What do you want audiences to take away from Let Me In? What do you want them to remember most after watching it?
KSM: I think it’s a lot of fun because it’s a horror movie but on the other side it’s kind of a romance and about kids growing up and the bullying aspect, so there’s a lot mixed in it.
WGTC: And are you able to relate to any of the elements in the film? Maybe the bullying aspect?
KSM: No, I didn’t get bullied, especially not as bad as Owen, he gets it really bad.
WGTC: Moving away from the film for a bit, are there any actors out there who you would particularly like to work with?
KSM: I’d really like to work with Johnny Depp, he seems like a really cool guy, he can do a lot of different things.
WGTC: What about directors?
KSM: Martin Scorsese, and Spielberg I guess
WGTC: What about your upcoming projects, where can we expect to see you next?
KSM: Well I’m doing an animation right now called Paranorman, it’s about this kid who can see ghosts and he saves the world from a zombie invasion. I’m also doing a film called The Congress which is just in the rehearsal process and I think next week we’ll be shooting.
WGTC: And are these two films more dark and serious like Let Me In and The Road or are they a bit lighter?
KSM: Paranorman is actually really funny and The Congress is more of like, I don’t really know how to explain it, I think it’s sci-fi and futuristic.
WGTC: Anything else you want to say before we go?
KSM: Ya, I’d like to get rid of this cold that I got right now
WGTC: Well thank you very much Kodi for talking to us, we really enjoyed Let Me In and you’re performance was really incredible
KSM: Thank you so much.