Together at the San Diego Comic Con, Moretz and Jenkins spoke to a group of reporters about what it was like getting into these interesting characters. Rated R for strong bloody horror violence, language and a brief sexual situation, Let Me In hits theaters on October 1, 2010.
Chloe Moretz and Richard Jenkins Let Me In Roundtable InterviewThere's not that much dialogue in the film. Did you talk about getting the most out of so few words?
Chloe Moretz: "It just happens."
Richard Jenkins: "It does. Film is film and you don't really need... Sometimes people talk too much in films. It's what movies can do that theater really can't. You can do a scene without dialogue, with camera, faces and music, and so Matt [Reeves] was aware of it. We did talk about it."
Is it fair to say this movie doesn't glamorize being immortal?
Chloe Moretz: "It's definitely fair to say that after this film you won't want to be a vampire."
Richard Jenkins: "That's kind of the message. I don't want to be a vampire."
But would you want to have one on your side?
Richard Jenkins: "Always, as opposed to not."
Chloe Moretz: "I'd definitely not want them against me."
How did you prepare for playing the role of someone who is 250 years old?
Chloe Moretz: "Well you kind of think of the different aspects of who Abby is, because you have little girl Abby, you have 250 year old Abby, and then you have vampire Abby. And the vampire is more of like the devil inside the little girl Abby, but at the same time there's the old soul. And so it's like a three-dimensional character that you have to portray in a two-dimensional film."
How do you like the Twilight films?
Chloe Moretz: "I haven't really seen them, but I definitely say that ours is... I haven't really seen them so I can't really say if they're good or bad, but my friends love them. I don't know. All I can say is that our film is definitely deeper, darker and grittier."
Did you create a backstory for Abby?
Chloe Moretz: "It's twisted. Me and Matt, he gave me a journal and said, 'I want you to journal, but the thing is I'm going to have to read these journals as you do it.' I was like, 'Okay...' And I went home every night, I sat in bed and wrote this horrible backstory. She started as a little girl who was just a normal little girl. Her family wasn't very wealthy - they worked. But her uncle was more wealthy, but he was always the weird guy. He stayed in the darker house which was creepier, and he always had animal skins everywhere and all the creepy stuff. And kind of what we came up with was that my uncle kind of turned me. He kind of snuck in and robbed me of my innocence and made me immortal."
Richard, is your approach to your characters - particularly in this film - is diametrically opposed to that? What's your process?
Richard Jenkins: "For me it's always on the page. That's where all the hints are, that's where all the clues are. But I did think about what was the life before, what made him choose this life - just like Owen [Kodi Smit-McPhee's character]. How bad was my life at 12 years old to choose this? But it's there, it's all there on the page."
With the two men in her life, do you see either of these relationships as romantic in any way?
Chloe Moretz: "I think they're definitely twisted and really, really messed up, and that's kind of the beauty of them. You know, that's what I've been saying is this film is so different than any other film because there is a romantic side. I wouldn't call it gory, but there is blood in it. And then there is the happiness and sadness, but everything is so different than what you would expect. I'd definitely say there is a sad aspect between us, but at the same time it is romantic in a really twisted and creepy, messed up sort of way."
Richard Jenkins: "There was a time when I kept thinking, 'She's just using me.' Or I guess I kept asking the question while I was in the movie, 'Is she now just using me?' Of course I'd think she was looking for someone else to replace me. But there's a scene at the end of the movie where it's obvious that it's not just that. It's more complicated than that. She really does care. It's really interesting. It's not black and white in any relationship. She has Owen but yet she needs me. There's still a real connection."
Chloe Moretz: "There's a feeling."
Did the makeup and changing of your hair help you play Abby?
Chloe Moretz: "Yeah. I mean with any character, my first experience with prosthetics was when I did a film called The Eye. I played a cancer patient. I didn't have that much time to do a lot of researching on girls who had brain cancer, but by putting on this bald cap and becoming this girl with no eyebrows or no hair and it's just your face - you have to show so much more, but it really does get you into character. It puts you into a different light. You look at yourself in the mirror and you know you're not Chloe, so it definitely helps."
Were you already playing vampire Abby before the prosthetics went on or do you become it once it's finished?
Chloe Moretz: "That's kind of the thing I was talking about with the three-dimensional thing. It's weird because, yeah, some part of her, some of that devil inside of her is in the innocent Abby. But at the same time, she's so raw and so innocent. She doesn't know how to control it. It's hard to explain because she's so confusing. She's so old but she's so young. She's so sad, but she's happy with her life. She loves Richard but she loves Kodi, you know? It's this weird thing. It's so hard to explain this character. It's the most confusing character I've played by far."
Why do you think that Abby, despite all the power she has, is so dependent on humans for happiness?
Chloe Moretz: "She's so lonely. She doesn't know herself anymore. Think about it, maybe if you are 60 years old, you forget little things that you did when you were a kid. Imagine being 300 years old and forgetting your parents and forgetting your family, and forgetting everyone you know and you love. And everyone you love recently, they die while you still live forever."