Tobin Bell Discusses Let Us In, Working With Young Actors

Now available digitally and on demand, sci-fi thriller Let Us In stars Makenzie Moss, Sadie Stanley, Mackenzie Ziegler Siena Agudong, O’Neill Monahan, and Tobin Bell. The film was directed by Craig Moss, who co-wrote the film alongside Joe Callero.

“A spirited twelve-year-old girl and her best friend start investigating the sudden disappearances of several missing teens in their small town,” says the synopsis. “Realizing there might be something deeper happening, Emily and Christopher might be up against forces they can’t even imagine.”

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ComingSoon’s Alyse Wax spoke with Let Us In star Tobin Bell about the film being a gateway into horror, working with young performers, and his belief in urban legends.

Alyse Wax: I liked Let Us In. We’ll keep the very end a secret, but it was fun.

Tobin Bell: I thought it was fun too. I really did. I love that it is sort of a gateway film. A film that is a good film to introduce beyond potential horror fans. It’s not too extreme like Hostel or something like that. It’s more in this tradition of scary films over the years until we reach the 90s or the early 2000s when we made the jump into a whole new approach. This one, I think it’s really cool. I would watch it if I was 13, 15, or 17. It’s got a nice quality to it, but still enough scared, right?

Can you tell us about your character?

Mr. Munch is an interesting guy. The guy that I play, he’s living in this house and doesn’t have what you’d call a particularly welcoming reputation in the neighborhood. But when I saw the scene with the kids when they come to my house, there was something about it that I felt drawn in by him in some way.

Did you enjoy working with the kids?

Oh yeah. Kids are energetic and they’re bright lights. They’re incredibly spontaneous and they were fun. It’s always an unknown. You never know how much training they have. You never know how they’re going to connect with you at all. In this case, they were both so easy to work with. [Director] Craig [Moss] works with kids really well. So, if they were having trouble deciding when do I sit or when do I get up, he would just ease them through that and make it really simple for them and really clear. It was fun to watch that. Craig didn’t say a whole hell of a lot to me because the kids were moving in the scene and sometimes movement can be problematic with kids because sometimes they don’t repeat and you need to repeat because the cameraman thinks they’re going to do one thing and then all of a sudden you do something else and they don’t get the shot. You got to do it again. So that’s part of it, they’re learning, and I was very pleased with their abilities.

There was a point in time toward the end of the scene when Makenzie [Moss] who plays Emily, she had to leave. It was a school [function] or something, so I did the end of the very end of the scene with, I forget who it was, like the first AD or something. They shot her side and then came around and shot mine. So at that point in time, I was maybe talking to a guy with the beard that wasn’t Emily.

But that happens, I’ve had that happen to me. A number of times I was doing Stargate SG-1 up in Vancouver, and I did an entire scene with the assistant director because the actor who was the lead in Stargate got sick, so they shot his side and then he went home. So you’re doing it with somebody who is reading the lines out of a book. Acting is a challenge all the time. You just kind of, you just roll with it and do your best and hope that magic is on your side.

Speaking of magic, do you believe in the urban legend of the black-eyed children?

I don’t know. I had never heard of it before I did this. Before I did this film, I’d never heard of it, but since I’ve been told that it is the legend. A friend in New Jersey told me about how he grew up with [the legend]. I was raised in Massachusetts, so intrusive legends have to do Salem. There’s a few others as well, but I don’t think black-eyed kids was one of them when I was growing up.

Are you prone to believing in urban legends like that?

If it’s dark enough and I’m alone enough, you know what I mean? You hear sounds or something and then the legends take on a new credibility. The imagination is alive and well in that kind of situation. The whole thing about what’s in the closet or what’s down in the basement. Well, you don’t worry about that stuff until a few things add up at the same time. All the lights go, you lose power in the house. Stairs creaked as you go, and then it starts to gang up on you.

Since Saw you’ve mostly done horror films. Is that something that you enjoy or do you just enjoy that you keep working?

I like to work, but I also like the scenes. I like that each scene has its own challenge. I got a phone call last year before this whole pandemic thing. There was a 10-minute scene in the living room with five teenagers. It was such a difficult scene. I thought I could do it and do it well, but I wasn’t sure. I love the challenge. Every different scene has different dialogue. That particular scene, for me, it was all about the physical logic of the scenes. Like where is he standing now? Cause he was moving the entire time. All the kids were sitting in chairs and he was moving away. Who’s he talking to now? And what is he talking to them? So, yeah, when people call you up and ask you to be in their movie if you can say yes, you do if you like the material and you have a time window to be able to do it right.