Almost a full year after meeting Chloë Grace Moretz, my spell-check finally, reluctantly learns the umlaut hovering over her first name, but by now her titular role in Kimberly Peirce’s delayed reboot of “Carrie” is ready, she’s got four films rolling out in the new year and she’s pouting across the cover of the fashion magazine W. It’s high time she joins the likes of Gwyneth, Saoirse, and the Gyllenhaals as this year’s auto-correct darling.
The interview begins where most chats with sixteen-year-olds do: clothes. “I have a stylist,” Moretz admits, “but we collaborate together. What I like to do is bring my own personal style into it – like mixing a more uptight look with a looser look and bringing cool, fun heels into it. You know, fun, young stuff. Make it funky.”
This afternoon, designer Antonio Berardi supplies a very fifties silhouette – “uptight” with a Peter Pan-collared white blouse and a flared, periwinkle brocade skirt. The “looser look” is by way of a cropped jacket that wouldn’t look out of place in a bullfighting ring while the whole thing teeters atop Sophia Webster’s “cool, fun” black-and-white op-art sandals.
Is it working? Probably better to ask the New York Comic Con attendee who’ll stand during the public presentation of the “Carrie” trailer and geek out by asking Moritz on a date, but addressing the Atlanta native as “Hit-Girl,” her potty-mouthed character from the “Kick Ass” franchise. Indeed, it’s not Moretz’s first time to the burgeoning testosterone rodeo.
“I’ve been invited to prom,” she says, “but I decided not to go yet. I’m home-schooled. Being an actress, you think people would be like, ‘Oh my God, that’s so cool, let me welcome you in.’ But no, people get really confused. They start pushing you away because that’s their self-defense and then they start judging you, telling you you’ll never be a great actress.”
“That’s why doing ‘Carrie,’” she continues, “I was able to emotionally connect to the character. I have been in situations where people have said stuff to me and I’ve had to go, ‘Look, in five years I’m going to do what I said I was going to do and you’re still there.’ That’s how I have to look at it, otherwise you’ll just manifest yourself and turn crazy like Carrie does.”
Even by her own timetable, Moretz may be slightly ahead of schedule. Consider that she’s already checked off Martin Scorsese and Tim Burton in her dream directors column. Next year, she’ll play a hooker in Antoine Fuqua’s big-screen reboot of TV’s “The Equalizer,” on-screen besties with Keira Knightley in “Laggies,” and girlfriend to a satanic cult leader in the eagerly awaited adaptation of Gillian Flynn’s Dark Places. Let’s not even broach those rumors of her playing Han and Leia’s Jedi kid in J.J. Abrams’ “Star Wars: Episode VII” – except to say that future Comic Con geeks may be addressing her as Jaina Solo when they geekishly ask for her hand.
But that’s all lights years away for Moretz. Here and now she just wants to talk us through that blood being dumped on her head. She stresses that her “Carrie” returns to Stephen King’s 1974 novel and that her director, Kimberly Peirce, wouldn’t even consider shooting the first script from screenwriters who, Moretz says, had “obviously seen the original movie and took a lot of it into the script. It was very much based on Sissy Spacek’s character of Carrie.”
That didn’t square with Moretz’s ambition to “bring in my own character” so she worked with Peirce to “construct from A to Z what Carrie was and where she goes. We took all of those ideas and put them in the script.” After that, they looked to King’s novel and “found the main difference is that, in the book, she’s a lot more angry and very skeptical of everyone. She’s also overly coherent about what’s going on. She’s already calculated what’s going to happen. It’s not as unknown as the first movie with Carrie being completely naïve. She’s naïve, but she’s not stupid.”
“I got all ready in my prom dress,” Moretz remembers of the iconic pig’s blood scene. “The whole scene is one long shot. I walk from the table and everyone’s clapping. I walk up the stairs onto the stage and accept the flowers and I’m standing there smiling. I told Kim I didn’t want to see anyone doing hand signals to drop the blood. I just wanted it to happen, a seamless thing that happens just like in the script.”
“I get up there,” she continues, “and I’m freaking out. I’m holding Ansel Elgort’s hand – he plays Tommy – and I’m squeezing so hard. I’m shaking and smiling that overly smiley smile because you’re so nervous and boom, it hits. The immediate feeling is weight because it’s so heavy and it’s freezing cold. I couldn’t see. It’s this soapy mixture so it’s burning my eyes and I had to move my hair out of the way so I could see.”
“Then I remembered the process,” she says, getting more technically minded as she only had the opportunity to shoot that scene twice. “Don’t break character, go into your emotional beats, what are you thinking, what are you feeling? I had to think, okay, what do I now do? I have to keep going. I’m acting. Kim told me it looks supposedly really cool. I haven’t seen it yet, so for all of us, we shall see.”
Indeed, no one has. The film has been delayed for eight months and isn’t screening for press. Her director, a friend, goes radio silent on Facebook when asked what gives. Moretz turns over part of last summer’s “Kick-Ass 2” junket to stumping for the film, telling journalists “Carrie” is not being trimmed, but rather new scenes between her and Julianne Moore are being added to amp up the mother-daughter horror.
“I’m not trying to think about it,” Moretz says, steering the conversation back to where it began: clothes. “I do the movies I do and I live the way I live. If people like it, they like it, and if they don’t, they don’t. I’m the type of person, if you tell me you don’t like what I’m wearing, I say, ‘Oh well, that sucks for you because I like it.’ And I keep wearing it. I’m just going to continue on with what I’m doing because hopefully it’s working.”