‘Let the Right One In’ Team Talks Movie Changes & Child Vampires at NYCC (VIDEO)
[Warning: The following contains MAJOR spoilers for the series premiere of Let the Right One In.]
The novel Let the Right One In has gotten two adaptations, the 2008 Swedish film being the most popular. At the core of each story is a vampire, turned around 10-12 years old, who befriends a bullied, lonely boy. The story’s other key relationship is between the vampire and her caretaker, an adult man posing as her father who helps keep her fed (to tell you how would spoil the narrative for new viewers).
Showrunner Andrew Hinderaker makes some key changes to his adaptation, which premiered Sunday, October 9 on Showtime, the biggest being that Eleanor’s caretaker is actually her biological father, and she’s not decades old. Rather, Eleanor (Ellie, Madison Taylor Baez) has been a vampire for about 10 years when the show begins, and she has spent most of that time on the run with her dad, Mark (Demián Bichir), looking for a cure for vampirism. (That’s where the other half of the cast, featuring Željko Ivanek, Nick Stahl, and Grace Gummer come in.)
Set in present day New York City, Mark has brought Ellie back home to try and restore her childhood. He keeps her fed by giving her his own blood at times, but also by killing for her to protect her innocence. Hinderaker, Bichir, Baez, Anika Noni Rose, and Ian Foreman stopped by TV Insider and TV Guide Magazine‘s New York Comic-Con 2022 suite to discuss the changes made for their adaptation and what to expect moving forward this season.
“It is a big burden to anyone who crosses a dark line to keep on living with it,” Bichir says of Mark’s murder streak in the video interview, above. “Once you cross certain lines, it’s very difficult to come back, but you would do that if that would save your children’s soul and own fate and future and happiness and health.”
“I wanted to first capture what was so exquisite about the film and the novel,” Hinderaker shares of his narrative changes. “In the original film, there’s a beautiful relationship between a vampire and a bullied, isolated boy she befriends. But there’s also a much smaller relationship in the film that was about the caretaker of the vampire… That was really interesting to me, to look at the parent-child relationship with Mark and Eleanor, and then with Naomi and Isaiah.”
Rose plays Naomi, a new character made for the series. She’s a homicide detective living next door to Mark and Ellie with her 12-year-old son, Isaiah (Foreman), who is suffering from major bullying and isolation at school. He loves magic, and is naturally gifted at it, but Naomi discourages him from it because she doesn’t want him bullied more. There’s a push and pull here as she tries to celebrate her son’s differences while protecting his mental health. Things begin to look up when Ellie befriends Isaiah, but after one of Mark’s kills hits close to home, the stakes for Naomi and her son are seriously elevated, although they don’t know it yet.
Isaiah has noticed Ellie’s powers in the premiere, but he hasn’t made sense of them yet. The sweet child is wide-eyed and hopeful despite his hardships, and Foreman says “Isaiah changes when he sees he has Eleanor on his side,” because he doesn’t “have to fret as much as he used to.” Isaiah feels protected because he has made a friend, but what he doesn’t realize is how well this new friend could really defend him.
“This is a big turning point in Ellie’s life, because for the past 10 years she has been on the run and has only had her dad,” Baez adds. “She hasn’t really had a real childhood since then.” Baez says having Isaiah around “changes everything” for her. But clearly, there will be troubles ahead. How will Mark and Naomi contend with the circumstances they find their families in, with Naomi rightly suspecting Mark of something insidious?
“There are a lot of conflicts,” Rose teases. “When you see your child finally befriending someone who’s actually good for them and they’re good for each other, but you have suspicions about the parent, but your child has never really had a friend before, what do you put in your back pocket in order to allow this friendship to continue… without being a dummy?”
Bichir says Mark sees them as the ideal neighbors. But we have a feeling the Venn diagram of Mark’s deeds and Naomi’s investigations will inevitably become a circle.
Check out the full video interview to learn more about Let the Right One In Season 1.
Let the Right One In, Sundays, 10/9c, Showtime