By Ed Symkus
More Content Now
Chloe Grace Moretz has been acting since she was 5, landing her first TV appearance at 8, and her first film a year later. But it wasn’t till she scored the co-lead in the 2010 action-comedy “Kick-Ass,” playing the agile, lethal and foul-mouthed Hit-Girl, that she was really discovered by most viewers. Moretz stole scenes in “Diary of a Wimpy Kid,” was unnervingly scary as a vampire in “Let Me In,” and both freaky and sympathetic in the “Carrie” remake. Starring as the promising classical cellist Mia in “If I Stay,” the story of a young girl whose life is torn apart after a horrific car accident, Moretz reaches a new onscreen maturity. When she spoke about the film and her career last week in Los Angeles, it was obvious that she’s also matured in her own life. Now only 17, she came across as a smart and savvy young woman who knows exactly what she’s doing in a tough business.
Q: There’s a line in “If I Stay” where Mia asks her rock musician boyfriend, Adam, when he knew he was going to make a career out of music. When did you know you were going to have a career in acting?
A: I found acting randomly through listening to my brother study monologues, and I started memorizing them for no reason. Then I started repeating them to anyone who would listen to me. Eventually I begged my mom to let me do whatever that meant, even though I couldn’t even exactly put into words what it meant. It just made me happy. When I was 11 years old, I kind of realized what I was doing, and I looked at my mom and said, “Wait, can I make this something I could do for the rest of my life?” And my mom said, “Yeah, sure, if you want to.” And I think that was the moment where I thought I was doing something more than just gymnastics or tennis.
Q: You’ve been so busy, it looks like it’s been an easy journey for you. Any truth to that?
A: Actually, it’s been really hard. All of these people outside of my family have kind of looked at us and said, “You’re crazy! Take your kid out of the business. Put them in school, because you’re never gonna succeed.” But my mom would say, “If you love it, if you’re having fun, then do it.” It’s been hard for a number of reasons. I still fight really hard for every role that I get. I’m still fighting the boundary of how old I can be or how young I can be, and how they want me to be something else that I’m not. You’re always having the struggle, especially as a female actor, against the higher powers that are trying to keep you in a spot which makes them feel comfortable. But even though it’s been hard, it’s also been easy in a way, because I always follow my heart. Every project I’ve chosen has been something that I felt I couldn’t live without, something I couldn’t spend another day of my life knowing that I didn’t do that role and give all my emotions and soul to it. So it’s been hard, but it’s also been incredibly uplifting and eye opening.
Q: The onscreen cello playing in “If I Stay” is amazing, and it looks like it’s really you doing it. But it’s been said that it’s a combination of your face and body with somebody else’s hands on the instrument.
A: I had about seven months of training with the cello. We had this “If I Stay” cello that traveled around the world with me, on every [film] location I went to. I trained with it every day for two hours a day, as much as I could. It would be silly to say that in seven months I learned such an intricate instrument. It was really learning the emotionality of it, and the passion that comes with being a cellist. But yes, the technicality came more from the Frankenstein head cutting, and putting it onto another person’s body a little bit. That way it meshed the two sides of Mia perfectly.
Q: You play a young woman who’s in love with a young man in the film. But you really are very young. Did you find a way to draw from your own life experience?
A: Everyone says you have to draw from a modicum of self experience for roles. But when you’re in relationships with people, not every relationship is the same, not every love that you find is the same. Every kind of love you get from every different person is totally different. You kind of learn through each relationship that there are many different ways how you can love someone. Jamie [Blackley, who plays Adam] and I became good friends, and we were able to create this love relationship just by goofing around with each other and being silly and having fun onset. It’s always awkward when you’re having to kiss someone and then [the director] R.J. is saying, “Turn your head to the right, please.” “Make it look like you actually like each other.” (laughs) But it worked once we got it.
Ed Symkus covers movies for More Content Now.
Chloe Grace Moretz matures in ‘If I Stay’
By Ed Symkus