Newspaper article Tweed Daily News (Tweed Heads, Australia)

Kids Star in Let Me in; EERIE: The Vampire Film Genre Takes a New Twist with the Release of Let Me in, a Scandinavian Film Reworked by Hollywood

Newspaper article Tweed Daily News (Tweed Heads, Australia)

Kids Star in Let Me in; EERIE: The Vampire Film Genre Takes a New Twist with the Release of Let Me in, a Scandinavian Film Reworked by Hollywood

Article excerpt

Byline: Peter Mitchell of 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.

Reeves was taken with Smit-McPhee and Moretz, best known for her role as foul-mouthed Hit-Girl in this year's superhero action-comedy Kick-Ass, from the first meetings with the child actors.

"My criteria was to find two kids who I felt could handle the emotional complexities of the characters in the film," Reeves explained.

"Frankly, it's an adult film even though it centres on two kids and that's a tremendous burden to put on two kids to play it.

"But when Kodi came in, he was so authentic."

Smit-McPhee says the authenticity he generates in roles, whether it is traumatised Owen in Let Me In, or the kid known simply as "Boya opposite Viggo Mortensen in The Road, comes from his father, Andy, who has worked on Australian TV series Blue Heelers, Neighbours, McLeod's Daughters and City Homicide and films Animal Kingdom and Wolf Creek. …

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