Forget the typical teenage antics. Having headlined major motion pictures and worked with Hollywood royalty since before she could drive, CHLOË GRACE MORETZ is not your average 16-year-old.
IN A CHICHI bakery in west London on a cloudy morning, Chloë Grace Moretz sits at a white table. A pot of tea and a vase of pastel roses sit to her left, a perfect wedge of chocolate cake before her. Above a sleek Fay jacket and burgundy Karl Lagerfeld scarf, her pale, clear, heart-shaped face, with its large eyes and distinctive bow-curled mouth, is framed by shoulder-length blond hair, which has been anatomized in step-by-step get-the-look guides online. Moretz looks a lot more like a teenage movie star right now than she does in the movies.
During the past decade, Moretz has carved out one of the most distinctive juvenile careers in Hollywood history. It’s not just that she’s been working steadily from the age of 5, nor that she’s starred in box-office hits or worked with A-list directors. It’s that she’s done all of those things with minimal cuteness.
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On-screen, she guards secret knowledge, befriends ghouls, gives faltering adults a helping hand or, just as often, preys on them. A doe-eyed moppet she ain’t — or if she is, it’s a bait-and-switch before she sinks her fangs into your throat, as she did in the 2010 vampire movie Let Me In, or puts a bullet in your brain, as her tween-vigilante character Hit-Girl did in the superhero comedy Kick-Ass. This summer, she starred in the follow-up, Kick-Ass 2, which she shot in England immediately after filming this month’s Carrie, in which she stars as the titular telekinetic teen.
“I don’t want to be playing the roles where it’s like, I’m going to go to school and I’m going to fall in love and I’m going to be super happy,” she says. “I want to play the twisted and darker side of things. I don’t want to be light and fluffy, you know?”
It’s an unusual approach for a child actor, but one that seems to be paying off: At 16 years old, Moretz shows every sign of ably managing the notoriously tricky transition from juvenile success to adult stardom. To Kimberly Peirce, director of Carrie, Moretz is the real deal. “She’s got the talent, and she’s got the expertise,” she says. “It gives me chills.”
Often guarded or prickly on-screen — primed for fight or flight — Moretz is charming, open, articulate and engaged in person, her youth becoming obvious only when she mentions school or defers on a point of fact to her brother Trevor, who sits to one side during our interview. Trevor, Chloë and their mother, Teri, collectively manage Chloë’s career. She is the youngest of five siblings and the only girl; her eldest brother was 16 when she was born. One consequence, she says, was being a major tomboy. “You can’t be the pretty-pretty princess in a house full of boys,” she notes. “You either learn how to play or stay behind. So I learned how to play, and that involves roughhousing around. So when I did Kick-Ass, it was like, ‘God, I’ve basically done this half my life.’ ”