Interview Date: 07/31/2010
Run Date: 08/03/2010
Among actors under the age of 18 or so, it's hard to think of anyone more in demand, more talented, or more justly acclaimed right now than 13 year-old Chloe Moretz. Her most high-profile performance to date – as the mass-killing, C- and F-word spouting Hit-Girl in the highly entertaining "Kick-Ass" – has aroused a certain amount of criticism from the usual conservative groups, who tended to focus on the cursing, and more liberal critics like Roger Ebert, who was appalled by the idea of such a young person involved as both perpetrator and victim of ultra-violence – even if her character was largely driven by a deep love for her twisted superhero dad (Nicolas Cage's Big Daddy). The more convincing Moretz was in the part – and she was extremely convincing in an essentially absurd role – the more upsetting she was to traditional, and I'd say largely false, ideas of childhood innocence.Rather than returning to more typical roles for young girls, like her highly praised, extra-cute performance as Joseph Gordon-Levitt's relationship-wise sister in the indie hit, "(500) Days of Summer," she's following up her work as a kill-crazed vigilante with the lovelorn but literally bloodthirsty Abby in "Let Me In," the American version of the Swedish film and novel, "Let the Right One In," a tale of vampiric sick-puppy love internationally revered as the un-"Twilight." Moreover, when I spoke to young Ms. Moretz by phone, she was in London where she is working with movie geek #1 Martin Scorsese on the fanciful, cinema-centric historical tale, "The Invention of Hugo Cabret," the first film in 3-D made by a truly world-class director in many decades
We started out with a minor transcontinental sound problem. Ms. Moretz said that I sounded like I was "in a can" though I could hear her easily. My solution: speak loudly.
Bullz-Eye: Well, let's start with "Kick-Ass," since that's what we're here to talk about. This was an interesting way to really hit the public's attention. Everyone agreed that you were pretty fantastic in the role but there was a lot of controversy about your age and so forth. Did you follow that at all? Did you have any thoughts about that?
Chloe Moretz: It's the character, and if people can't understand it's the character, I don't get that.
BE: I was reading that you said that if you talked that way at home, you'd get in trouble.
CM: I would. If I did anything I did in that film in real life, I would totally be grounded for the rest of my life.
BE: I should hope the killing people thing would get you into trouble. What's interesting is that the next role you've taken, you're also playing someone whose morally perhaps not so great, in that the character is a vampire. A lot of people are starting to look forward to "Let Me In" now. What was that like as an acting experience for you?
CM: "Let Me In" was really an amazing film to shoot and it was super exciting. I can't wait for the whole world to see it. I've seen it myself, but I really can't wait for everyone to see it and see how amazing it is.
BE: In all of these films, you're working with some very high-powered actors. Nicholas Cage is an actor who I think would intimidate a lot of people who are much older than you and, in a different way, Richard Jenkins [who plays Moretz's not-a-father figure in "Let Me In"]. Can you maybe compare the two, how it was working with both of them?
CM: Richard Jenkins is seriously an amazing actor. He really brought a lot to the role and he allowed me to express a different side of an actress. (Laughs) [I mean] of a vampire. I was really able to be my all. With Nicolas Cage, he brought everything to the character and he allowed me to really express my feelings as Hit-Girl.
BE: In your scenes with him, especially the scenes they put out over the Internet that really created a lot of early buzz for the film, there's something interesting going on. Neither of you are quite right in the head but he's clearly [a bit further gone]. Was there any improv or any kind of unusual techniques as far as getting that kind of chemistry going?
CM: No. It really just happened. We kind of clicked. We were really just good friends. We didn't hold back and we let the emotions go and they just happened.
BE: Okay. One thing I do know you enjoy -- I was looking at some of the footage of your training without the costume for 'Kick-Ass" from the Blu-ray that's coming out in a couple of days online. I know you've done gymnastics before, but they said you'd never done any martial arts. That was just very impressive for somebody who was very new to it. How did you do that?
CM: Thank you. I had amazing people training me. It was easy because I'd done ballet before and I'd done gymnastics. So, it all kind of went together and basically all of it was me. It was a really great thing.
BE: Okay. Let's talk a little bit about "Hugo Cabret." Here you are, you're working with Martin Scorsese – he's in the running for being the best living director right now, and he's doing his first movie in 3-D.
BE: Have you noticed any particular differences in working in 3-D on this, or is it just like any other movie?
CM: I guess in some ways it's like any other movie, but the camera's like twice the size and it's harder to set up a shot because it's so huge. It's kind of the same, I guess.
BE: You've worked with some very good directors up to now, but Scorsese is maybe a different caliber. Has it been different? Has he made you watch old movies or anything?
CM: Yeah. He got me hooked on "Roman Holiday" and "Funny Face." He made me watch those for the character and that got me hooked. Those are some of my favorite films now...Working with [Scorsese] is truly a privilege and he's really an amazing director. He doesn't really pigeonhole you. He lets you do what you want with the character, which is really great.
BE: By the way, it just so happens I reviewed the DVDs of both of those movies in the last year or so. They're very good.
CM: Very cool.
BE: Well, let me ask you this since you brought up Audrey Hepburn. Do you have any favorite actresses or actors?
CM: Yeah. My favorite actress at the moment is Natalie Portman because she is so amazing. She really knows how to get into the character and become this character. You really forget that she's Natalie Portman in everything that she does.
BE: What's your favorite film of hers?
CM: Well, I saw some of "Black Swan" recently so that, right now, is my favorite film of hers. I think she's such an amazing actress. She's really great in everything.
BE: You’re getting a little bit older now, you're kind of coming out of being a little girl and now you're becoming a teenager. So, what sort of roles do you think you'll be doing?
CM: I'm doing a lot of diverse roles at the moment. I have "Let Me In" coming out and the film I'm doing right now with Marty. It's a fantasy movie with other kids my age. In "Let Me In" I play a vampire and in this other film I'm a hunter-archer type person. I really just look for very diverse roles.
BE: What's the name of the film where you're a hunter-archer?
CM: It's called "The Rut" and it's from Karyn Kusama, the director of "Jennifer's Body." It's about a girl who loses her father and she ends up being lost in the woods, and it's her survival. It's like a coming-of-age story.
BE: I know you've said you wanted to, but that it also didn't do quite as well at the box office as was hoped, but have you heard anything at all about "Kick-Ass 2"?
CM: I know there's a second comic and I know that I would absolutely love to do "Kick-Ass 2," but at the moment, Matthew Vaughn, the director of "Kick-Ass," is doing ["X-Men: First Class"]. Maybe after that. Who knows?
BE: This is something I usually ask actors who are a lot older than you, but is there anything you've done from your long-career – and we still haven't talked about "(500) Days of Summer," where you were very good and which was quite a success....
CM: Thank you.
BE: ...Is there anything you've done in the past that you wish more people had seen from your lesser known work that you thought didn't get enough love?
CM: There are a couple of films that I've done before I was, I guess, a bigger actress, but I put my heart and soul into every single character I do. I guess every film I've done, even the tiny ones, I would love them to be seen more.
BE: I think the first film that got you a lot of attention – I have to admit I haven't seen it – is "The Amityville Horror," which you weren't even allowed to see, at first anyway. That's what I read online. Was that true, by the way?
CM: Yes, I still haven't seen it, actually.
BE: (laughing the laugh of a guy who's an alleged cinema-chicken himself) Are you scared to watch horror movies?
CM: I hate horror and also my mom won't let me watch it.
BE: Did you get to watch "Kick-Ass"?
CM: Yeah, of course.
BE: (Forgetting for a second that Moretz had already mentioned this). Have you seen "Let Me In."?
CM: I have seen "Let Me In."
BE: I've seen the first version and that was a moderately scary movie.
CM: It's kinda scary. I only like scary movies if I'm with a bunch of my friends, then I'll watch 'em.