Matt Reeves Talks Let Me In
After the epic-size, monster mash, Cloverfield, Matt Reeves goes small and intimate and even scarier with Let Me In (opening today from Overture Films), a re-envisioning of Let the Right One In, the Swedish vampire cult film. Only it's transplanted to cold and drab New Mexico circa 1983 (evoking Reagan and AIDS, among other things). The director spoke to us this morning from New York about vfx and the Superman rumors circling the internet.
Bill Desowitz: So, how's your day been like so far?
Matt Reeves: I don't know how it's going to do, but there were two great things that happened this morning: I read A.O. Scott's [enthusiastic] review in The New York Times and then I checked my email and there was an email from John Lindqvist, who wrote the Swedish novel and the screenplay for [Tomas] Alfredson's film, and he and I had been in touch since the beginning and he had never seen the movie. He just saw the movie and wrote me an incredibly kind email. I'm excited that people are responding emotionally to it and Lindqvist responding emotionally to it meant the world to me. The way he's using this story as a metaphor for the horror of adolescence is the reason for me why it has such power.
BD: What did you think of Scott's allusion to E.T.?
MR: I actually did think a lot about E.T. because in the book he talks about the suburb where he grew up in Sweden in Blacksburg and it made me think of Spielbergia in E.T. And to be honest, that's one of the reasons I was attracted to [Spielberg's] films growing up. They were amazing fantasies but I related to the kids. In fact, that was the part of what I wanted to do here with this coming of age story: I was bullied, my parents went through a difficult divorce and just the idea of being at that age and going through that experience does feel horrific at times.
MR: The attempt was to find as naturalistic as possible a representation of everything. Like the car [chase] was very important to me. I really wanted that to be a visceral sequence in a kind of Hitchcockian point of view suspense wise.
I wanted to put you in [Richard] Jenkins' shoes and the agony of that moment. I wanted you to be rooting for him to get away from those boys. You start thinking you're going to see another gruesome murder, and then you have this suspense that builds with someone else getting in the car and realizing he's outnumbered. And as he's driving off, I wanted to stay [inside the car] with Jenkins and that you would feel the horror of it.