Alfredson, Tomas (Let the Right One In)

Tomas Alfredson Talks Let the Right One InVampire movies have pretty much become a dime a dozen. Add fangs … instant movie. Yet sometimes one will rise above the pack and stand out as something special.

Tomas Alfredson’s Let the Right One In (review here) is one of those films that you should not miss this year!

Recently Tomas and I sat down to wax vampiric.

Let the Right One In will be playing as part of this year’s Screamfest LA, which runs October 10-19 at Grauman’s Mann Chinese 6 Theatres in Hollywood, California. Check out the official Screamfest LA horror film festival website for information, tickets, and showtimes!

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  • **NEW!! Not in the mood to download? Then check out the entire transcribed interview below!**

    Uncle Creepy: Hey everybody! Uncle Creepy here for Dread Central, and today we’re with the director of Let the Right One In, Tomas Alfredson. I’ve got to say Let the Right One In is an absolutely amazing film.

    Tomas Alfredson: Well, thank you very much. I’m very happy to be here.

    UC: Yeah, man. As you can imagine, we sit through a lot vampire movies, and what made this one unique is the fact that it was a traditional vampire tale told in an extremely non-traditional way. Now, how did you come up with the idea, and how did you decide how you wanted to go about it?

    TA: Well, to begin with, I’m not such a big commenter on vampire stories so this was completely a new thing for me to deal with. I’m most famous for making comedy so I have never tried a horror before so maybe that’s one thing that made this a little different from other horror movies or vampire films. I read this book three years ago or three and a half years ago. The thing that struck me the most was the story about the bully boy, Oscar. That really took me up, and it was set in 1982 when I was still in similar age. I was a little older, but it was strong experience to come back to when I read it.

    UC: Now, working with child actors; a lot of people say it’s one of the more difficult things. What was your experience in working with the two leads?

    TA: I had done a quite a lot directing children. Directing child actors comes natural to me.

    UC: That’s really cool because a lot of people have concerns when working with children that you may not want to expose them to a lot of different kinds of things you’d see in a very adult movie, and children are basically the leads of Let the Right One In. They’re placed in really adult situations. Were there any concerns on the set of letting the kids deal with what they were dealing with in terms of subject matter?

    TA: No, not really. I think when the kids were filming the ending, that was a little tough for them to do, but otherwise they were very professional to do it. The children don’t always know what things will come out in the film; it was very hard to describe that too, so you have to point out what to do to make a long sequence with, like, a theme that when you put them together it will bring certain kind of message to the viewer but each and every piece doesn’t really give that information to the child actor … I didn’t allow them to read the script either in advance so it’s just their parents who read it in advance.

    UC: Interesting.

    TA: Yeah, they were there every day.

    UC: And that must have gone a long way in keeping things fresh on the set for them, too.

    TA: Yeah. Those kids are really smart and intuitive and they’re very old souls, too, so they’re just today 14 I think, but at that time they were 12, but their minds were like 17 sometimes.

    UC: Wise beyond their years, huh?

    TA: Yeah, yeah.

    UC: The movie is also very dramatic as well as a horror film, and it should appeal to really two different kinds of audiences. How did you go about balancing the drama with the horror?

    TA: Well, to me it’s really doesn’t matter what kind of story I worked with; I just tried to make as good choices as possible so I’m not so interested or oriented in what to do in relation to history or to other people and filmmakers. I try not to watch other films when I’m into doing new films. I’d rather be painting or listening to a record that’s something, you know, to get inspired by, or this comes mostly intuitive to me.

    UC: Coming from mostly comedies and then finally doing a horror films, did you have to make any adjustments for yourself that were a little more unexpected as a director?

    TA: No, I’m just this always … you know, just an entertainment maker. It was not any different for me really but a very interesting world to get to know what kind of things you get scared of and exploring that. My intuition is that you have to find out what not to show. It’s always about framing … what you should catch out of the frame as well as on the soundtrack so it’s always about what not to show and that’s very, very specific when you make scary things. It’s all about not showing them.

    UC: Now that you’ve got a horror film under your belt, is this a journey you’d like to return to? Are you interested in doing maybe a few more?

    TA: Yeah, that was very interesting, but as I said, I don’t plan my career that way. I just jump to projects that interest me. If it’s a horror film, it must be lovely. It could also be a comedy or a drama or so on.

    UC: Now, how do you feel about the remake of Let the Right One In coming out for American audiences?

    TA: Well, it should be an interesting to see what they do. Basically I think you should just remake things that are not good.

    UC: Amen.

    TA: Yeah, I hope that the American audience will enjoy it as much as the Swedish … well, I’m looking forward to what they come up with for the remake.

    UC: It should interesting…

    TA: If it turns out to be … sorry …

    UC: No, go ahead.

    TA: Well, maybe it will turn out to be something very interesting and very different and creepy. I don’t know.

    UC: I’m willing to bet against that. I just think it’s such a unique film, and it came as a breath of fresh air as opposed to the usual cookie-cutter stuff that we’re exposed to here in the United States. I don’t know … I can’t imagine them really sticking to the more visual aspects of the movie because the movie works not only in its horror but in its subtlety, and you know subtlety isn’t something they do very well in American horror films unfortunately. It’s few and far between that I can think of. So, the movie is going to be playing at Screamfest LA, correct?

    TA: Yes, I think so, yeah.

    UC: Are you planning on coming in for the festival?

    TA: When is that?

    UC: It’s in October, the second week of October. Actually it should be starting this Friday.

    TA: No. I’m going to Sitges in Spain.

    UC: I’d rather go to Spain too.

    TA: Yeah, yeah. So I’m leaving for Spain in 4 days or something, 3 days.

    UC: You know we really love the movie, and we wish you all the best with it. Keep us in the loop what you’re doing next, and we’d love to see a horror film from you.

    TA: I’m very happy to hear that. It was very nice talking to you.

    UC: The pleasure is mine; you have a great day. Thanks for stopping by and talking with us a little bit.

    TA: Okay. Thank you very much.

    UC: This is Uncle Creepy for Dread Central signing off.

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    • ImTheMoon

      I saw it at Toronto After Dark Festival it’s an amazing movie, it was also the first sold out screening in the festival history.

    • hellbilly_drp

      I just saw Let the Right One In at the Escapism Film Festival in Durham, NC this past weekend. This is a great flick, and proof that good genre movies don’t require astronomical budgets.