‘Cloverfield’ director sinks teeth into Swedish vampire tale

June 29, 2009 | 8:52 p.m.

This is the third installment in our “Heating Up” feature, where writers for the Los Angeles Times Calendar section pick people to watch in Hollywood. I wrote the two previous pieces posted here at Hero Complex (one was on Chris Hemsworth, star of the upcoming “Thor” and a “Red Dawn” remake; the other was on H.P. Lovecraft, the long-gone horror writer who is poised for a new afterlife in Hollywood). Today my colleague Mark Olsen writes on filmmaker Matt Reeves. — Geoff Boucher

Matt Reeves

After having directed the “Godzilla“-for-the-Twitter-generation known as “Cloverfield,” Matt Reeves was in meetings in early 2008 trying to set up a small drama he had written.

An executive at Overture Films asked him to take a look at a then-unreleased Swedish horror film, “Let the Right One In,” a hauntingly touching film about a lonely 12-year-old boy who realizes the kind girl who moved in next door is a vampire.

“I was just hooked,” Reeves recalled recently. “I was so taken with the story and I had a very personal reaction. It reminded me a lot of my childhood, with the metaphor that the hard times of your pre-adolescent, early adolescent moment, that painful experience is a horror.”

Reeves signed on to adapt and direct an American remake of the cult hit, now called “Let Me In,” the English translation of John Ajvide Lindqvist’s original novel. He recently finished a second draft of the script, currently set in Reagan-era Colorado, and is scouting locations, looking to maintain the original story’s chilly, snow-swept environs. The film is scheduled for a fall 2010 theatrical release.

Let the Right One In

Reeves is also working with casting director Avy Kaufman — who previously found kids for “The Sixth Sense” and “The Ice Storm” — to find the two leads, which Reeves vows will not be aged-up to make the film more of a smoldering “Twilight“-style romance.

“There’s definitely people who have a real bull’s-eye on the film,” Reeves said, “and I can understand because of people’s’ love of the [original] film that there’s this cynicism that I’ll come in and trash it, when in fact I have nothing but respect for the film. I’m so drawn to it for personal and not mercenary reasons, my feeling about it is if I didn’t feel a personal connection and feel it could be its own film, I wouldn’t be doing it. I hope people give us a chance.”

— Mark Olsen


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Credit: Matt Reeves photo by Ken Hively/Los Angeles Times

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34 Responses to ‘Cloverfield’ director sinks teeth into Swedish vampire tale

  1. oakmonster says:

    No. Don't. Leave the Right One be!

  2. Sol says:

    Nope. No chance. I don't understand at all why you would want to remake this movie. If people are too ignorant or afraid of foreign films to see the original, that's their loss; not everything needs to be translated for the lowest common denominator.

  3. Max says:

    It doesn't matter his intentions, the remake will pale to the original. If Reeves loves Let the Right One In so much, he should have done more to talk up the original film here in the West.

  4. Todd says:

    Because the world needs, NEEDS, another crappy American remake of a great movie.

  5. Jack says:

    Max is absolutely right. Supporting the original film's release here in the States is the correct answer, not working out details to legally plagiarize it! Of course, we film goers are ultimately responsible for this pathetic Hollywood remake craze, since we (both in the US and abroad) prove year after year that we'll pay for anything that studios tell us to buy, regardless of quality.

  6. Jesse James says:

    why? Such a great movie. Leave it alone.

  7. lillon says:

    i am very upset by this. let the right one in came out about 4 seconds ago, and now, a remake? already?? sad day. it was the BEST film i saw last year- a very special gem, and i want to protect it from hollywood. it is a lovely, and adorably quirky, character driven story. clearly, reeves feels drawn to this as well as the original storyline, but by remaking the film into a romanticized twilight-esque blockbuster, he will destroy the story. i wish he would just promote the original.

  8. lillon says:

    i see, he vowes to make it nothing like the twilight film, but still, boo.

  9. Jstigga says:

    I can't believe they are re-making it because the original was boring wanna be artistic crud. Do we really need to see long shots of snowy trees, buildings, etc again? Ok we get it, it's Sweden, it's snow and it's cold. Oh and it's boring also.

  10. Jimmie says:

    This is creepy that Reeves says "I'm drawn to the story for personal reasons". The actual book makes the Swedish version look like DIET Let the Right One In. In the book, Oskar has a psychotic and murderous personality, and Hakan is a pedophile who touches Eli as payment for bringing her bodies to eat, and Eli is referred to as a boy for the 2nd half of the book. So, somehow Reeves is drawn to that…"for personal and not mercenary reasons". His actions are questionable to say the least.

  11. blurg! says:

    This is surely a bad idea, considering the sub title debacle we've all had to deal with. There are few good remakes, and I would venture to say that Funny Games was one of the better ones. So, Matt Reeves, if you plan to do a remake, make it shot for shot – and only remake your own movies.
    Remake Cloverfield so I don't have to see it again! (And get me a proper copy of the Let the Right One In dvd while you are at it.)

  12. Buffalo says:

    "Let me in" is NOT the English translation of the novel. It's the American publisher's old translation of it (and it has changed now), with the hilarious assumtion that americans can't read more than 3 words in 1 sentence.
    "Let the right one in" is the very accurate English "translation", since the Swedish original title "Låt den rätte komma in" actually is a translation from the Morrissey song "Let the right one slip in".
    In other words, "Let the right one in" is even more accurate than the Swedish original title. I really thought L.A.Times knew this.

  13. This is one of the most unnecessary remakes in a long line of unnecessary remakes.

  14. Billie says:

    This was such an amazing movie. Why can't Hollywood just leave it be?

  15. LA2000 says:

    A couple of relevant points seem to have been lost in all of the snark about a remake:
    1) The original filmmakers SOLD the rights to produce an american remake. They didn't have to do this. They could have just said no. But they cashed in. So if you want to bark at someone for selling out and ruining it, snark at the original filmmakers for allowing the original to be remanufactured for american audiences. They called the shots. No one stole their baby. They sold it.
    2) Overture is clearly trying to make a decent film. Had they just wanted to cash in on the vampire craze, they surely would have written a fat check and given Michael Bay and Marcus Nispel an invitation to come in and ruin it. Instead, they went with someone who clearly has great affection for the original – in other words, they went with someone like us, a true fan of the original. That strikes me as a step in the right direction.

  16. jaenelle says:

    Damn you Twilight!
    Don't do it. True LTROI fans will stick to the original and new fans will find the original, so all in all, nobody will truly like this US version.

  17. Yemi says:

    LA2000 –
    Best comment. Wins the Shut Me Up Award for opening minds and stopping annoying repetitive postings.

  18. Rewind says:

    Can't wait to see all the explosions and CGI in the remake

  19. carmen says:

    Oh no. I really disliked Cloverfield and now he wants an American version of such a beautiful and haunting movie? I've lost hope in Hollywood long time ago and this kind of things won't make me change my attitude. Why not trying something original instead?

  20. Knight of NI says:

    "I have nothing but respect for the film"… so why doing remake you %$@#*!!! >:[

  21. kevin says:

    Ya ill give him a chance, listen, i love the original and i wouldnt replace it for anything… but since i dont have to replace it, let him make a new one, its not like they will throw the original in the trash, id like to see his idea to build or take away from the original, but… i dont believe he will have a chance at making it better, but all the same, good luck reeves

  22. Arcticlycan90 says:

    PLEASE for the love of the whole essence of the movie……i dont know how in all of this earth thyre going to find an actress as talented, or a perfect as Eli was….she was simply the youngest…most realistic vampyre i have ever witnessed.. i watched the film online then bought it the same day it was that good. A remake will definatly be a test becasue the origninal set the bar very very VERY high….. i want to see thyre cast list…

  23. maria says:

    This Scandinavian film is original, and is all about friendship and, well, possessiveness…
    Matt Reeves! LEAVE THE SWEDISH FILM BE!!! You can't redo this movie! You have to talk with the director who put his own soul in this movie.
    Subtitles IS enough!

  24. Sophie says:

    Oh no! It escapes me as to why he wants to remake this masterpiece. After all, he is a pathetic "movie maker". All he is going to do is ruin it. Oh well, that's American cinema for you.

  25. David says:

    He wants to make a readaptation from the John Ajvide Lindqvist book, not a remake from the Sweedesh film. Stop whining, even Lindqvist himself approves this so give him a chance or shut up.

  26. Coralia N. says:

    It is very obvious that director Matt Reeves has not read the novel that originated the movie. If he had read this story about how TWO BOYS fall in love, he would know that an American version of the Swedish movie not only is unnecessary but it will never work.
    The vampire is actually a castrated boy, and what makes the Swedish version true to its source is that this fact is hinted at in very oblique and delicate ways by director Tomas Alfredson. Alfredson did a marvelous work at maintaining the ambiguity of this love story in a way that preserved the complexity of the main characters relationship.
    'Let the right one in' is an adult novel that deals with very mature themes and it is not meant for "blockbuster audiences". It will not be possible for Reeves to remake this movie without watering down the material to the point where it is no longer recognizable. Otherwise, he will have all of conservative America going for his jugular. ;)

  27. E. Castle says:

    You know, there's an old saying: If it ain't broke, don't fix it. Boycott the remake.

  28. Ed says:

    Please people: just let him get on with it. Has anyone asked him what was wrong with the original? If he only wants to give it an English voice then there is an English dubbed version of the original (although it seems a little watered down compared to the original). Message to Matt Reeves: you are about to fail massively and shame on you. I'll bet anything that what they are paying you is more than the original film's entire budget. Leave it alone; nobody cares that YOU had a personal connection to it. Everyone who loves the original book and film had a personal connection to it as well. Remember that the man who brought us Cloverfield also brought us The Pallbearer which was rotten to the core.

  29. AmericanIgnorance says:

    The keyword is… Subtitles! The original is brilliant, leave it alone.

  30. Will says:

    You can't improve on perfection. Perfect script, atmosphere, character development etc. The entire original movie was engrossing and felt authentic. The characters didn't seem to be acting and I felt I was right there, living within the movie. When the movie ended, I had to sit there, ponder, decompress and bring myself back to reality. How many films can do that?

    Why even try to reinterpret this film?

  31. Alex J says:

    You guys are being silly.

    It's not like overwriting a file on your hard drive, Let the Right One In will always be there.

    This is a homage, a remake that will give people too inflexible or unreasonable to watch a subtitled
    movie with certain scenes that would cause certain people I know to walk out on a chance to enjoy a rendition that is more sensitive to the highly opinionated and busy American audience.

    The original WILL ALWAYS BE THERE. If other people enjoying the movie without seeing the original or dare I say watching the remake and favoring it more brings such outrage from some of you…

    …then write a book about it.

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