The kid's all right: Kodi Smit-McPhee

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The 14-year-old Australian star of 'Let Me In' talks horror, Cola rushes and the C-word

Fourteen-year-old Australian actor Kodi Smit-McPhee has delivered two intense performances in quick succession: one as a young boy at the end of the world in John Hillcoat’s ‘The Road’, and now as a pale social outcast in ‘Let Me In’. His latest film is a stirring American version of John Ajvide Lindqvist’s child-vampire novel, ‘Let the Right One In’, which has silenced those who assumed a remake by director Matt Reeves (‘Cloverfield’) of the original Swedish film would be a travesty. The actor appears in ‘Let Me In’ opposite 13-year-old Chloe Moretz (pictured with him below), best known as potty-mouthed Hit Girl in ‘Kick-Ass’. We met excitable, unpretentious Smit-McPhee, who lives in Los Angeles, when he was here earlier this month for the London Film Festival.

Do you like the original film of ‘Let the Right One In’?
‘Yeah, it’s sick! Obviously, if I heard someone was remaking a film that I really liked, I’d be like, “Uhhh, why?” But yeah, I loved the film, and there are a lot of similarities that we didn’t mean to do, but in the end there are only so many ways you can film two kids in a doorway in the 1980s.’

Had you read the book?

‘Well, I would’ve if I knew it existed! I didn’t know there was a book until about halfway through, and I just thought: Well, I’ve got this far… Usually, I think every film I’ve made has been a book, and I’ve always read it.’

When you first saw ‘Let Me In’, did it scare you?
‘The first time I saw it, I knew what was going to happen, though I still thought it was awesome. The second time, I was grossed out by all the gore. I think I appreciated it a bit more, but I have a different reaction every time. The last film I saw was “Devil”, the one set in a lift, and that is awesome. But it didn’t freak me out because I knew it was all smoke and screens while my friends were screaming.’

When you first met your co-star Chloe Moretz, had you already seen her in ‘Kick-Ass’?
‘“Kick-Ass” was in post-production while we were shooting this, and everyone was going on about it. Then, when I got back to LA it was everywhere. I’ve now seen it, like, seven times.’

What do you think about the bit where she says the C-word?
‘Seriously, I understand that adults went crazy about that, but I laughed my butt off when I saw it. As soon as I got out of the cinema the first time, I called all my friends to tell them about it. I think it was the first time I’d ever heard that word in a movie. It was awesome.’

Would you be okay with saying a line like that in a film?
‘Yeah, totally! It’s just acting, saying what the script says. It’s like people often ask whether I was scared when I was acting in “Let Me In”, and I just say, “Hell no, we were just doing the scene and I could see that it’s all just make-up.”’

You’re in London at the moment promoting ‘Let Me In’. Do you like festivals?
‘I actually love it. I just get to sit down and relax. The stuff on camera is a bit weird as you have to pretend to be energetic. I feel kind of tired today. I’ve just had a Coke, so that’s why
I might seem a little bit giddy.’

Do you go to the cinema much?
‘Yes, I go with my friends all the time. In LA, I live right across from Universal Studios.’

That’s an amazing place to live – for a 14 year old.
‘Yeah, it’s awesome. Although it’s not the same since they took the “Back to the Future” ride out and replaced it with a “Simpsons” ride. There was a point where I was too scared to go on “The Mummy” ride, but now it’s like nothing for me. I’ve been on it too many times.’

I read an interview in which you said you had seen ‘The Exorcist’.
‘I haven’t seen “The Exorcist”, but I’ve seen a lot of pictures of the girl in it. So now I don’t actually want to see it. She scares me so much. I don’t know what it is, but even though it’s quite old now, it still has the best and scariest make-up I’ve ever seen in my life.’

Physically, the actress Linda Blair went through a lot to make that film. Do you think you’d be up for doing something like that?
‘Aw man…that would be weird. I don’t know if I could take it. I’m fascinated that when it came out people were walking out and being sick. I’m going to dare my friends to see it with me.’




Read our review of 'Let Me In'

Author: Interview: David Jenkins



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