Newspaper article The Daily Mercury (Mackay, Australia)

Aussie Teen Takes on Complex Role

Newspaper article The Daily Mercury (Mackay, Australia)

Aussie Teen Takes on Complex Role

Article excerpt

Byline: Peter Mitchell AAP

ON a recent afternoon Australian 14-year-old Kodi Smit-McPhee, chewing on a lolly, took a seat alongside Matt Reeves, the American director of their new highly-praised film, Let Me In.

They were on the promotional trail across North America and found themselves in a stuffy room in a San Diego hotel surrounded by American journalists keen to hear about Let Me In, a chilling vampire-drama-horror film based on the critically-acclaimed Swedish movie Let the Right One In and the original novel of the same name, written by John Ajvide Lindqvist.

In Let Me In, Smit-McPhee plays a helpless 12-year-old boy in a drab town in the US state of New Mexico.

The boy, Owen, has murderous thoughts from living with an alcoholic mother and suffering a daily ritual of beatings from bullies at school, but his life changes when he meets Abby, an ageless, shoeless, vampire trapped in a 12-year-old's body played by American 13-year-old Chloe Moretz.

Despite his Hollywood standing following other applauded roles including last year's post-apocalyptic journey The Road, Smit-McPhee's ability to swap his Australian accent for a flawless American one was apparently so convincing it fooled at least one US film reporter during the San Diego interview session.

The reporter thought Smit-McPhee was American.

"What was your criteria for finding American kids who could inhabit these roles?a the reporter asked Reeves.

Smit-McPhee, who still lives in Melbourne and was silent during the early minutes of the interview, smiled.

Reeves, a 44-year-old New Yorker best known for 2008 horror-sci-fi film Cloverfield, quickly corrected the journalist.

"Kodi is not American. That's the amazing thing," Reeves answered.

Born into an acting family, Smit-McPhee's first significant role was in the 2005 Australian drama Stranded, alongside Emily Browning and Emma Lung, while his breakthrough performance was with Eric Bana in Romulus, My Father, a 2007 film that won Smit-McPhee the Australian Film Institute's Young Actor's Award. …

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