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LET ME IN, writer/director Matt Reeves’ excellent English-language adaptation of LET THE RIGHT ONE IN, hits DVD and Blu-ray tomorrow. Aside from Reeves’ top-notch directing and the much-discussed performances of its young stars, the film features melancholy and expectedly great work from 63-year-old character actor Richard Jenkins (Coen Bros.’ BURN AFTER READING, WOLF, SIX FEET UNDER, Oscar nominee for THE VISITOR), as Abby’s (Chloe Moretz) familiar. Fango spoke to Jenkins about the underseen and worthy remake; head below for the chat…
FANGORIA: With LET ME IN, was there any kind of trepidation in terms of the character’s relationship with Chloe and the subtext of why he’s her familiar?
RICHARD JENKINS: Yeah, it was a little… But Matt handled it beautifully, and the way he shot it and what we did in the movie explains it without hammering you on the head with it. It was beautifully handled.
FANG: And how was your relationship working with Chloe?
JENKINS: Oh, she’s the best, she’s really fun, she’s a lot of fun, sweet and you want to say, “Do you have any idea how big you are?” She is really going to be huge. I think [co-star] Kodi Smit-McPhee as well. The two of them are fantastic in the movie and they’re both absolute sweethearts.
FANG: You had some familiarity with the original film, but did you read the novel?
FANG: What did you think about where your character went in the novel? Were you upset you didn’t get to go that far, turning into a literal sexually aggressive monster?
JENKINS: Running down the street naked? Oh no, that was fine; I’m a little old to be doing that. I was happy with the way the character was depicted in the script. Even though it was fascinating in the novel, it would’ve been somebody else, not me.
FANG: Speaking of makeup and stunts, was that you in the car?
JENKINS: I was! I was in the car.
FANG: It looks like a whirlwind.
JENKINS: It is. He explains it on the DVD. I’ll let him tell everyone. It’s really cool, what he did.
FANG: You’ve discussed some of the character nuances you brought to LET ME IN [see previous article here], like the note you left Abby and if he could even spell. Were there any other subtleties you and Reeves inserted?
JENKINS: Yeah, the glasses, I wanted to have one lens broken and I wanted it to look like it’s been broken for a long time. I want the impression that they don’t have any kind of normalcy in their lives, they’re nomads. You don’t go to the eye doctor every year and get checked, maybe the glasses he found off somebody he killed and in my mind, the crack had been there for five-10 years and the glasses weren’t strong enough anymore. Things like that—the bag over my head, the bag I wore, I wanted something that’s disposable that afterward you could just, as opposed to keeping it, you just got rid of it with any trace of blood or anything. The bag I wore over my clothes when I was draining the kid hanging on the tree. But it all comes from the script; it all comes from what Matt wrote and what’s there on the page. That’s where all of the ideas come from. I did want it to be…like the headset I’m listening to is from the guy that she kills in the tunnel. It’s his Walkman; maybe everything I have had come from somebody else, you know.
FANG: How was your experience working with the prosthetics for the hospital scenes?
JENKINS: I’ve actually turned down things when they said it’s going to be four hours a day in prosthetics. No thanks. Not at my age. I knew this wasn’t going to be that all the time, this was just a couple of days of lengthy work, but it looked great.
FANG: How long did this one take?
JENKINS: A couple, three hours maybe. Took a long time.
FANG: When you dive into a character like this, someone bleak with a sordid history, how long does that stay with you? Are you someone who’s able to shake it off easily?
JENKINS: I always, if you’re not, you’re going to be put away [laughs]. The truth is, it’s part of the joy to be able to do that, to be able to live in a different world, that’s the fun of acting. That’s the challenge of it. Even if you’re playing the most despicable person in the world, it’s fun, it really is. Or it should be.
FANG: Have you ever had such an intense devotion like the Father has for Abby?
JENKINS: No, no, but it also comes from making a decision and being caught in something that you don’t know how to get out of or couldn’t get out of, and part of you doesn’t want to; it’s all you know. A lot of our lives are like that. We all have that in our lives.
FANG: With this and the heavily delayed CABIN IN THE WOODS, it seems your dipping your toes into horror, but keeping it within this family of Matt Reeves and Drew Goddard and the crowd they work with. What’s it like coming into that?
JENKINS: I love that group. I stumbled upon them in CABIN IN THE WOODS—Joss Whedon and Drew—and I had so much fun. Then, I met Matt, and they’re all friends and there’s a group of them. They all come from the same world, and they’re just so talented and so much fun, it’s just really, at my age to be a part of that is really cool. I love Drew Goddard too. That’s part of the reason I did LET ME IN; I liked Matt so much.
For more on LET ME IN, see our review of the disc in FANGORIA #301 and head back tomorrow for an exclusive chat with director Matt Reeves.
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