Kodi Smit-McPhee, 14, is an award-winning Australian actor, most known for his roles as The Boy in the The Road and Owen in Let Me In. He has also appeared in Australian films, Romulus, My Father and Matching Jack. He is the son of Andy McPhee, a former wrestler and current actor, who has appeared in Wolf Creek and Sons of Anarchy.
I spoke with Kodi January 27 by phone, but had to unfortunately keep the conversation very brief, as Kodi had the flu and plenty of homework — yes, he is still a regular kid when not on set.
We warmed up the conversation by chatting briefly about “The Road”, and he told me how Viggo brought chocolates to the set, and how they spent all sorts of time together, which was great… and then we jumped into the horror material…
GS: You did two episodes of “Nightmares and Dreamscapes”…
KS: That was a while ago. My dad was in that, as well, and that’s how I got in. He was in, then he referred to me the guy he was working with, Tom McSweeney (in charge of Australian casting). I had a smaller role, and then when I returned I had a bigger part. That was a lot of fun. That was, I think, my first American thing.
GS: Was Stephen King on set?
KS: I didn’t meet Stephen King, but I did meet William H. Macy (in the 2006 episode “Umney’s Last Case”).
GS: There’s a rumor that you’re scared of horror films…
KS: Oh, no! Next to skateboarding, that is probably the one thing I do with my friends the most, watch horror films. I really like them.
GS: I read other interviews where you said they scared you…
KS: The ones that scare me are like “The Exorcist”. I don’t watch that stuff. I like the kind where there’s more comedy, like “Freddy vs. Jason”.
GS: With “Let Me In”, you’re fantastic, everyone else is fantastic, and the directing is fantastic…
KS: Thank you.
GS: But you know that, you know it’s a great film.
GS: So, what is it like being so young but in a very adult movie?
KS: It’s cool. I’m an actor, and my dad’s an actor, we worked together on the role, and it’s more like a job.
GS: How do you go from someone who wants to have fun to being in a scary situations?
KS: It’s all the work that me and my dad do together. It’s writing and reading the script, and research, and creating a whole back story to the character, to know him back to front. That way, I can jump in and out when I want to.
GS: Was your back story based on the book?
KS: It was more just making a life for my character, things that weren’t in the script, like making up my dad. The whole life in all its aspects.
GS: You made up your own story?
GS: What is working with Matt Reeves like?
KS: He’s cool. I like his directing style because he lets you do your thing and then he tells you what he thinks about it.
GS: What is Chloe like?
KS: Chloe is awesome. She does lots of things, like “Kick Ass” and then this. She can do all sorts of things.
GS: Absolutely. I think you both are about to break into the big time if you haven’t already.
KS: Thank you.
GS: Are there any projects lined up now?
KS: I’m doing a film called “Paranorman” right now, which is stop-motion animation. I play a boy named Norman who can see ghosts and he saves the world from a zombie invasion. (Paranorman is written and directed by Chris Butler, who worked on Tim Burton’s “Corpse Bride” and “Coraline”.) And next week (the beginning of February 2011) I will be starting “The Congress”. It’s like half-animation, half-normal.
GS: I haven’t heard about “The Congress” (based on a novel by Stanislaw Lem)… what can you say about it?
KS: It’s pretty fresh, I don’t know if I want to say too much about it yet. You can look it up on YouTube, look for “The Congress Movie”, and the director is Ari Folman (who won big in 2008 with “Waltz with Bashir”). You can see some of the 2D animation. It’s kind of a futuristic film… it’s pretty cool.
GS: I hope you feel better with that flu…
KS: My sister has it, as well… I’ll be fine.
GS: Thanks, Kodi.