She’s spouted grown-up advice in “500 Days of Summer,” gutted mobsters in “Kick-Ass” and feasted on human blood in “Let Me In.” To put it mildly, 14-year-old Chloe Grace Moretz likes to keep it interesting on screen. But then that’s why they call it acting. “I choose roles that are different from me as Chloe,” says Moretz, who soldiered through a bout of food poisoning to make the interview. “With an amazing mother and an amazing family and everything’s normal, it would be boring because that’s how my life is.”
Still, vampires? Knife-wielding masked vigilantes? And then there’s her latest, “Texas Killing Fields,” in which she plays a hard-luck, world-weary youngster coping with a drug-addicted prostitute for a mom. But again, Moretz insists it’s all in good fun. “I think it’s fun for me to be someone who’s not me, because if I’m playing a role that’s Chloe 2.0, which is just a normal 14-year-old girl who doesn’t really do much, it’s not fun. To be able to play a character that’s crazy and messed up is a lot of fun for me.” Fun, but not always easy. But Moretz admits that, the older she gets the easier it is to hit big emotional scenes — all thanks to puberty. “You know, I’m going through a time where it’s like, you have so many emotions that are just everywhere that it’s easy for me to just, like, breakdown and cry,” she says.
She had some other help for “Texas Killing Fields,” including a prep-work field trip to meet some real-world counterparts to her character. “Me and a bunch of other people in the cast went to this safe house in the middle of Louisiana, and basically that’s how we prepared, by meeting these people,” she says. “This one lady, when she was little, when she did something right her family would give her pills and meth as a reward. So basically that alone was a lot to take in.”
Moretz, who’ll next be seen in Martin Scorsese’s “Hugo” and just wrapped filming on Tim Burton’s “Dark Shadows,” is constantly looking for even more emotional lows to add to her resume. “I did ‘Hick,’ that premiered at the Toronto Film Festival. It got a lot of mixed reviews, but I thought that I went to places in that movie that were really dark for a young girl,” she says. “I was pushed to my emotional limits in that movie. I think that in that movie it was one of my best performances, but I hate saying that about myself.”
To avoid self-praise, at which she actually cringes, Moretz tries to add some distance from herself: “She was really good in that movie. She was amazing. I love her,” she says of herself, before laughing. “I’m pretty critical of myself,” she explains. “Like, if I watch a scene, I’ll be like, ‘I could’ve done that better’ or, ‘I should’ve done that better.’ But if I think I’m really good in a scene, I kind of think of myself in the third person. I’ll be like, ‘Oh, I like her.’ I have to think about myself not being Chloe. I’m not like, ‘Oh. I was amazing there.’”
A few of her favorite directors
Chloe Grace Moretz has been busy in her young career, and her tendency toward interesting, attention-grabbing roles have gotten her noticed by some big directors. But nothing’s compared to working for the biggest: starring in Martin Scorsese’s upcoming “Hugo,” out next month. “One of the most amazing things was being able to work with Scorsese,” she gushes. “He is the most iconic living director right now. Like, he is the epitome of directing. So being able to go onto a movie at 13 years old and just be able to work with him, it’s a dream.”