Interview: Kodi Smit-McPhee Talks Let Me In

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On playing the lonely Owen

When he’s not being bullied by his fellow students, young Owen can be found skulking about in his tenement’s playground or spying on his neighbors or, worse still, creeping about his bedroom wearing a freaky mask and wielding a butcher knife. The kid is quite disturbed, as you might imagine, and juggling Owen’s loneliness, innocence and ticking time bomb nature is actor Kodi Smit-McPhee, best known for his turn in the grim post-apocalyptic drama The Road. Shock Till You Drop got on the phone to speak to the actor briefly about his latest turn as Owen in Let Me In, opening Friday from Overture and Hammer Films.

Shock Till You Drop: Was it requisite for you to see the original film or read the book first or did you go right into the development of Owen with a fresh approach?

Kodi Smit-McPhee: I actually made a diary to write about the character. That’s what me and my dad. Chloe worked with her brother [on her character] and I worked with my dad, who has been acting for about 20 years.

Shock: Would you agree that Owen is just as lethal as Abby?

Smit-McPhee: Yeah, absolutely. And I think the scenes where he has to face the bullies are just as scary as the murder scenes and just as intense. He’s definitely got thoughts to kill because he’s been bullied so bad.

Shock: There’s a push-pull relationship between Abby and Owen, how did you work that out with Chloe?

Smit-McPhee: We didn’t really plan it out. We bonded quite a bit though, although we didn’t get a chance to go out and do stuff. We definitely became friends on set. It was cool to see what Matt did with the nuances and what was happening behind the surface, I think he’s a great director. It was cool to see it come together.

Shock: With The Road, you tackling a role that people have created in their mind from reading the original book. Here you have a role that has already been played before. Do you find these challenges daunting?

Smit-McPhee: Well, I didn’t see the movie beforehand, so I didn’t have it in my head. I had my own take on the character. With The Road, they gave me a lot of information from the book.

Shock: Did you warm yourself up for shooting by checking out any specific vampire films?

Smit-McPhee: I didn’t want to watch any since I didn’t think I should research it. Abby is more of a real-life vampire, if they were real. This isn’t like any ordinary vampire film. It’s got three stories going on with the father character, the boy and Abby.

Shock: I have to ask, because a bunch of us were trying to figure it out after we saw the film, there’s a scene where you’re speaking to your father on the phone. Who provided the voice for your dad, because he isn’t listed in the credits?

Smit-McPhee: It was actually Elias [Koteas], but it’s not to mean he’s my father in the movie. He was just doing line readings with me and they thought he had a nice voice for the scene.

The actor is set to star in Paranorman next.

You can read our full interview with Smit-McPhee’s co-star Elias Koteas right here.

Source: Shock Till You Drop