When actress Chloe Grace Moretz says that she’s not just a normal 13-year-old girl, it’s very easy to believe her. Having begun her entertainment career at the age of five, as a model in New York City, she moved with her family to Los Angeles and has been booking acting jobs non-stop ever since.
After various television and film roles, she was brought to the attention of adult audiences with her role as Hit Girl, a ferocious, potty-mouthed 11-year-old in Kick-Ass, the action-packed adaptation of Mark Millar’s comic book of the same name. She then decided to follow up that memorable performance with her current feature, the haunting horror film Let Me In, in which she plays the eerie and mysterious 12-year-old Abby, who turns out to be a vicious vampire that needs blood to survive.
While doing promotion on that film’s opening weekend, Chloe Moretz spoke to Collider in this exclusive phone interview about relating to a character like Abby, doing her own physical stunts and being very proud of her work in the film. She also talked about her work in the psychological thriller The Fields, the experience of shooting in 3D with Martin Scorsese for Hugo Cabret, her first two leading roles in the upcoming features The Rut and Hick (she says Kirsten Dunst is in talks for this), bringing the popular goth character Emily the Strange to life in live-action form and the chance of a Kick-Ass 2 ever happening. Check out what she had to say after the jump.
What was it that made you want to get involved with Let Me In and play this character who is so restrained in her emotions and feelings?
CHLOE MORETZ: Playing Abby was really amazing ‘cause it’s such a different role than anything I’ve ever played before, and it’s a really different role from any vampire out there, at the moment. It’s very, very exciting to be a part of this film and be a part of playing Abby.
Was it easy to understand and connect with a character like this, or was it a bit challenging to figure out her behavior?
MORETZ: Well, it’s acting, so I can’t really say that I relate to her in my life experience or anything because I’m only 13. It was all acting. It was making up a character that I’m not.
Was there a moment, a costume or even a location that really helped you to understand who she was while you were playing her?
MORETZ: Matt [Reeves] was there at the beginning of the auditioning process and he showed me these pictures of a homeless family, which was a whole family that lived on the go and in run-down houses. That helped me get the idea of what he wanted in Abby, which was kind of what I had already created with my brother, Trevor, who’s my acting coach. That definitely was a moment that helped me get into the character and figure out who she was, even before I had the role.
How difficult was it to do some of the more physical scenes, especially for the kills, and how much of the physicality were you able to do yourself?
MORETZ: All of it. After Kick-Ass, it was not a lot of action to do. It was pretty fun.
Do you find, in films like this where you’re the young person in a very adult story, that the adults playing opposite you are afraid to hurt you when you’re doing stunts together?
MORETZ: No, they all knew that I’m pretty strong. I showed them that I’m not just a normal 13-year-old girl.
Matt said that he cut a scene from the film that shows how Abby was turned into a vampire and that he’s looking forward to people getting to see it on the DVD. Can you talk about what that scene shows, and are you excited that people will get to see it on the DVD, even though it was cut from the film?
MORETZ: I can’t say much about it, but it definitely does show me turning into a vampire. It’s a very, very scary scene because her innocence is basically taken away. She’s this little girl. When you’re a vampire, you’re not a human anymore, and they took that away from her. We came up with it being an immediate change into a vampire. In some vampire stories, you kill them when the blood is in their system, and then they turn into a vampire. But, with this, it’s just an immediate bite, and you’re a vampire. It was pretty gruesome and pretty scary, and I can’t wait for people to see the actuality of what she is.
What was your reaction, the first time you saw yourself in the gruesome make-up and contacts?
MORETZ: It was kind of awesome. When I put on the contacts and everything, I laughed. It was crazy looking. It was really a lot of fun.
How was it to work with Kodi Smit-McPhee? Did it help that the two of you were in it together?
MORETZ: It was great. It was a lot different than shooting a film that’s about kids. Kodi is a phenomenal actor. He’s like an adult himself.
Did it help inform your performance to keep a diary for your character?
MORETZ: Yeah, it was pretty good. It helped me get into the character of Abby and figure out who she is as a person. It definitely helped me figure out her backstory.
Do you think that Abby really does love Owen, or do you think she’s also manipulating him because she needs that companionship as well?
MORETZ: I think it’s half and half. She definitely needs Owen. She basically needs a servant to kill for her and get the blood for her. That way, she doesn’t have to do it herself. She can keep her record clean. In some ways, she’s using him and luring him in, but there’s this beauty about a vampire. There’s something about them that lures humans in. I think Abby, especially, cares for humans. Even though she is inhuman, she has a semblance of life in her that she can draw from. I think she is in love with him, but at the same time, she’s manipulative.
What would you say to people who are hesitant about seeing this remake because they were a fan of the original Swedish film?
MORETZ: It’s not that different. The films are very much alike. I think we did the book as much justice as Let the Right One In did. I think people that loved the original movie will love this movie just as much. Yeah, it’s not subtitled or anything, but it’s a lot like Let the Right One In. It’s a very, very amazing movie, and I stand behind it 100%.
With so many projects that are presumably coming your way now, how do you decide on which projects you want to sign on for and which roles you want to take on and play?
MORETZ: Well, my brother and my mom, and really my whole family, help me decide on that. They help me figure out what the next step is. Basically, we look for the best roles and the best characters, and figure out what I want to do and what’s a good transition from the movie that I’ve just done, and don’t pick the exact same type of roles.
Do you ever worry about taking on too much at your age, or are you just so passionate about the craft that you want to keep working right now?
MORETZ: I am trying to work as hard as I can, at the moment. I have that window of opportunity and I’m taking it completely, and not taking no for an answer. I’m working as hard as I can and, hopefully, this will be my career for the rest of my life.
What do you think it is in you that gives you the confidence to take on these leading roles in adult films?
MORETZ: Well, I haven’t really had a complete leading role yet. I’ve always chosen the roles that aren’t the direct lead because I like being a very poignant character in the story, rather than being seen in every single seen. I have two films coming up, The Rut with Karyn Kusama and Hick with Derick Martini, that are lead roles. Those are my first actual lead roles that I’ve ever done. I guess it does take a little bit of confidence, but on set, I like to be treated just like a normal adult actor. We all put as much time and effort into our craft as adults, and maybe even more because we have school to do and a lot of things to figure out.
Who do you play in Hugo Cabret and what has the experience of working with Martin Scorsese been like?
MORETZ: Marty is absolutely an amazing director. The film is really cool because we’re shooting it in 3D, and that’s very exciting. My character is Isabelle. I can’t say much about the film, but it’s basically about a boy named Hugo Cabret (Asa Butterfield), who’s a street urchin, and it’s our meeting each other and going on this crazy adventure through a Parisian train station in the 1930’s.
Does it affect your acting process at all to shoot in 3D?
MORETZ: Yeah, there’s definitely a difference in the way that it’s shot. The camera is twice as big. But, other than that, it’s basically the same type of thing. It’s just like shooting a normal film.
MORETZ: Yeah, I’m very excited. It’s going to be a really great film to shoot. Emily the Strange is really an amazing film and I’m very, very excited to be able to shoot that. We’re figuring out who’s going to be attached to the film and who the director is going to be.
Had you been familiar with the character prior to signing on? What is it about her that you’re able to identify with?
MORETZ: Yeah, I had been familiar with her. The role is a really fun role because it’s totally different than any other girl role. Like most of the movies I do, it’s different than just a regular little girl’s role because she is a strange little girl. She has amnesia. She doesn’t know her family, she doesn’t know her life and she’s trying to figure it out. And then, she comes to this home and meets this doppleganger, Molly, who looks exactly like her, except she’s this preppy, popular girl who has ponies and a gigantic house. It’s a lot different than a lot of characters that I’ve ever played. It’s a very exciting role and I can’t wait to figure out how it’s going to be played. It’s definitely going to be live-action, so that’s very exciting.
And you’re playing both of the characters, as a dual role?
MORETZ: Oh, yeah, of course. It’s going to be fun. I hope so, at least. I think that’s what it’s going to be ‘cause she’s supposed to be a doppleganger and she looks exactly like Emily.
Who do you play in The Fields?
MORETZ: My character’s name is Little Anne. It’s a really great movie. I can’t really say much about it, but it’s a psychological thriller about a serial killer, and him picking up little girls and killing them. It’s based on a true story and it’s very, very scary. It’s very exciting to be a part of that film ‘cause it’s Ami Mann’s directorial debut
With so much on your schedule, do you know which project you’re going to do next?
MORETZ: Right now, I’m shooting the Martin Scorsese film. Next, we’re either doing Hick or The Rut. Emily the Strange is going to be later, of course, ‘cause we have to get everyone attached to it for it to fully happen. I think my next one will be Hick with Derick Martini, which is very exciting. Kirsten Dunst is in talks to be in the movie.
Do you think there will ever be a Kick-Ass 2, at some point? Is that a character you’d like to revisit?
MORETZ: Yeah, I’d totally love to be Hit Girl again, but I don’t know about Kick-Ass 2. Everyone’s like, “It’s just been announced!,” but I’m like, “No, it hasn’t. That’s all rumor.” I honestly don’t even know anymore. I don’t know anything about a second one. All I know is that there’s a second comic called “Balls to the Wall.” Hopefully, that will happen.
Have you given any thought as to where you’d like to see your career go? Do you want to continue down the path you’re on now with these really varied, more adult roles?
MORETZ: Yeah. I hope to make acting my career for the rest of my life, if I can. If acting doesn’t work out, I’d love to produce or direct or write. I just want to stay in this business, definitely. That would be my number one thing. I always want to be an actress.