No stranger to the world of genre, Chloë Grace Moretz’s early credits include films like 2005’s The Amityville Horror, 2008’s The Eye and 2010’s Let Me In.
This Friday, the young talent joins forces with director Tim Burton in Dark Shadows, playing Carolyn Stoddard alongside a cast that includes Johnny Depp, Eva Green, Michelle Pfeiffer, Helena Bonham Carter, Jackie Earle Haley, Jonny Lee Miller, Bella Heathcote and Gulliver McGrath.
What’s more, she’s gearing up to play the leading role in Carrie, Kimberly Peirce’s upcoming re-adaptation of Stephen King’s very first novel.
In the following exclusive interview with ShockTillYouDrop.com, Moretz talks about returning to a darker side of cinema, working alongside Burton and what fans can expect from her Carrie White next year.
Shock Till You Drop: I’m sure Tim Burton is a name that you grew up with, watching his films. You’ve also appeared in a quite a few genre roles. It seems like working with him is, in many ways, a perfect fit.
Chloë Grace Moretz: Yeah, definitely. I’ve always kind of gravitated towards darker roles, but I also just try and find the best projects that I really connect to and that I feel – not just on a personal level – will stretch me as an actor and let me manipulate myself to do cool stuff.
Shock: It’s kind of crazy that you beat Johnny Depp to playing a vampire.
Moretz: Oh yeah, you’re right! I did that when I was 12. There you go. I was young. A younger vampire.
Shock: Does a similiar mentality come into play between acting in Let Me In and Dark Shadows?
Moretz: That one was a lot darker. Much darker. My vampire was very, very, very, very dark. His vampire has some light areas and kind of funny bits. Mine was not as pretty. In this, she doesn’t want to be part of the family and has a very dark secret. She’s a very special character. Carolyn is this young Woodstock-type girl who’s all about free love and open but, at the same time, she’s dealing with more stuff than anyone can even imagine. She’s not just going through the transitional phase of 15, but she’s dealing with stuff that no one can understand.
Shock: Carolyn is a big fan of the music of the day. Did you go back and find yourself enjoying any specific ’70s songs?
Moretz: Oh yeah! Simon and Garfunkel and Cat Stevens and The Carpenters! So many things!
Shock: You actually get to perform a song with Alice Cooper in this.
Moretz: I did get to perform with Alice Cooper! That was very special. That was a highlight of my career.
Shock: When projects come along these days, what is it you’re looking for as far as roles go?
Moretz: Right now, I’m just thinking about roles that I’d like to see myself in or that I’d like to see made. So far, every role I’ve done I’ve been very proud of. I choose roles that will stretch me emotionally and physically as an actor. Right now it’s Carrie. I start that June 1st. I can’t really say much about it, but keep an eye out. I’m doing a lot of pre-production. You can check out Kimberly Peirce’s Facebook page. She’s keeping everyone updated on what I’m doing.
Shock: The reaction to her getting the job really turned a lot of heads. Before that, everyone was saying, “We don’t need a remake of ‘Carrie’!” Now it seems like everyone is excited to consider what she’s going to bring to the project.
Moretz: It’s going to be very well done. I don’t want to jinx it, but she’s is a genius, genius, genius director. I would never do it with someone that I don’t trust. I trust her more than a lot of the directors I’ve worked with. She’s the right woman for the job.
Shock: In the case of both Carrie and Dark Shadows, the film is coming from source material. Do you go back and watch the film version of Carrie or read the original book or, in the case of Dark Shadows, watch the series?
Moretz: Well, it’s different in terms of Dark Shadows because my character is so different than in the original. We completely changed the character from the series. For Carrie, I’m actually not looking at the original even though De Palma’s movie was one of the best movies ever made. It’s completely iconic and I’m proud to be able to be doing a retooling of it. We’re kind of going off the book. It’s darker and much more psychological. More Black Swan. You’re really looking into her mind and it really looks into the relationship of Margaret and Carrie. It’s set in modern time, so it’s a lot different.
Shock: Because you’re playing as part of a family in Dark Shadows, do you get the chance to sit down with all the other actors and work out that family dynamic?
Moretz: Yeah, it’s funny. It’s a very ensemble cast with some of the most amazing actors of our time. Johnny Depp and Michelle Pfieffer are icons, you know? We kind of had to figure out the family dynamic. It was already kind of there on the page but, when we got on set, it just picked right up. We kind of put it all together and it became a great little thing.
Shock: He’s a director that sort of aims for a quirky humor level. What’s it like working with him to achieve that?
Moretz: Not “sort of.” He does. He definitely shoots for quirky humor. Morbid humor. He’s never like, “Say it like this.” He gives you a lot of freedom as an actor, but he’s very hands-on. He wants you to feel as comfortable as you can so you can do your best in the part. That’s what’s so great about him. He’s a nice guy, he’s fun, he’s an amazing director and he’s also just so wonderful.
Shock: He’s also super-visual. Do you have any input into what your costume design looks like?
Moretz: Oh yeah! Major insight. That’s what I mean by hands-on. “You don’t like your sweater? Take it off! You don’t like your hair? Fix it! Do whatever you can do to make yourself the most comfortable so I get the best out of you on the day.”
Shock: By the same token, though, is being uncomfortable sometimes the key to playing a character? Does it help to have a very elaborate costume?
Mortez: For something like Carrie, sure. It’s something that’s very different from me. It’s an out of body thing. I’m becoming a totally different person for it. I’m letting go of all of my self-esteem issues and just kind of going into it. You have to.
Shock: You’ve been very involved on Twitter, interacting with fans.
Mortez: It’s great. I read so many things. I try to respond all the time. I want people to know that I do read their stuff. I read their stuff all the time. It’s so hard, though, because when I start replying I feel really bad for those that I don’t reply to. But I do read everyone’s stuff. I have the most amazing fans. There are these two in New York and anytime I go to anything – I don’t know how – but these young girls know exactly where I’m going. One of them wrote me the sweetest letter. I’ve had a lot of moments. I was just at CinemaCon and I met this boy from Make-a-Wish. It was his wish to be at CinemaCon and he was one of the sweetest kids I’ve ever met. It’s very heartwarming to see that you can do so much with the power that you have and you shouldn’t take it for granted how blessed you are.
Shock: Right after you were cast in Carrie there was a fan that put together a brilliant mock-up poster that Kimberly Peirce shared on Facebook.
Moretz: That was a cool poster! Kim sent that to me. She said, “Oh my god, you’ve got to look at this. It’s really, really, really cool!” We both felt so pumped. Now we’re chomping at the bit to get in there.
Shock: There’s also been talk of another Kick-Ass. Is that something that you think will happen?
Moretz: We’ll see. That’s all I’m going to give you.
Dark Shadows arrives in theaters on May 11th.