hot Magazine, Issue 195, May 2012
Driving Miss Moretz
Most teenagers can barely get their homework done. Chloe Grace Moretz is taking on Hollywood
By Sophia Goh
Not many actors can claim to have worked with Martin Scorsese and Tim Burton. Chloe Grace Moretz is one of the lucky ones, although we’d argue it’s less to do with mere good fortune and more to do with her undeniable, explosive talent.
At 15 years old, she’s one of Hollywood’s brightest young stars, with credits including The Amityville Horror, (500) Days of Summer, Kick-Ass, Hugo and Hick. And we suspect she’s only just getting warmed up.
In fact, a couple of days before we speak to her, it was announced that she had landed the coveted role of Carrie White in the 2013 remake of the horror classic Carrie.
But on to the real reason for this interview – the big-screen adaptation of the classic cult series Dark Shadows, which is directed by Tim Burton, and stars Johnny Depp, Michelle Pfeiffer and Helena Bonham Carter. (Yep, that’s the kind of company Chloe keeps these days.)
Set in 1972, Barnabas Collins (Depp) is inadvertently freed after two centuries, having been buried alive after being turned into a vampire, and promptly returns to his former estate, Collinwood Manor.
There, he meets the dysfunctional remnants of the Collins family, including matriarch Elizabeth Collins Stoddard (Pfeiffer), the live-in psychiatrist Dr. Julia Hoffman (Carter), and Elizabeth’s rebellious teenage daughter Carolyn Stoddard (Moretz).
The trailer is classic Tim Burton stuff – that is to say dark, fantastical and quirky – and we can only imagine how much fun the film must have been to shoot. Fortunately, Chloe was more than happy to spill the beans.
Congratulations first of all on landing the role of Carrie White.
Thank you. It’s really exciting. I found out the night before I left New York so New York is now officially my good luck charm. I booked Hugo there and now Carrie.
You’re so accomplished at such a young age. Is it all very surreal to you or are you used to it by now?
It’s definitely still surreal for sure, but you know, it’s nice to see people acknowledge your hard work and really like what you’re doing. That’s really interesting, to be blessed enough to be able to do Scorsese movies and Tim Burton movies and stuff like that.
Did you ever imagine that you would achieve so much so quickly?
I started when I was five years old, and you always want to be successful at whatever you want to do, you know. At the time I was doing gymnastics and ballet and everything was like an extra-curricular activity, but then I fell in love with acting and it became my passion and I’m still doing it.
Do you still have time to do gymnastics and ballet these days?
When I’m free I definitely do love going back to LA and doing some fun stuff, but I’m so serious about acting that it’s hard.
Tell me a little bit about your character in Dark Shadows.
I play Carolyn Stoddard, Michelle Pfeiffer’s character’s daughter, and she’s basically just about the 1970s, hippie, free love, the Carpenters and Simon & Garfunkel, and all the fun stuff of the day. She definitely brings a little bit of a weird tic into it. I can’t say much about her but she’s interesting.
What was it like working with Tim Burton, Helena Bonham Carter, Johnny Depp and Michelle Pfeiffer?
Working with all of them was something that you can’t even dream of. Tim Burton has always been one of my number one directors to work with of all time, so to be able to go from Scorsese, which is my other top director to work with, straight to Tim Burton was mind-blowing. And Tim is the nicest guy. He’s completely unaffected by anything movie-related, and the same with Johnny and Michelle and Helena. They’re all so nice and it’s one big family, and they let you into the family and you feel a part of them.
Did they give you any advice?
It’s interesting because no one sits you down and is like, I’m going to give you advice, you know. It’s just being on set with them and talking with them and feeling their personalities out and seeing who they really are as people. How professional they are, and the things they do to get into character; that’s where you get your advice. It’s just from watching them and hearing their stories.
Did you have any expectations going into filming for Dark Shadows?
Yeah, you always hope that the project’s going to be fun and people are going to be cool, but you never know. You always go into it with an open mind and just try and feel out everything, so I went into it and everyone was so cool and so nice, and the movie was just so amazing. I’m so excited.
What’s the best thing about playing Carolyn?
Well, there’s a lot I can’t say about Carolyn but I think one of the best things was her wardrobe. That was absolutely ridiculous and it was always interesting to put on in the morning. It involved like 15 layers of clothes. She has a couple of dancing moments in the movie which were really interesting as well, because usually when there are other lines going on in the scene you can’t have music, so I’d hear about two seconds of music and then I’d be dancing to no music and look like an idiot [laughs].
As someone who’s grown up acting on screen, do you live a normal life?
Yeah, my life is pretty normal. I mean, it’s the same thing I’ve been doing since I was five, and I have had my mum and my brother and my teachers go everywhere with me so there’s a consistency to everything no matter where I am. Whether it’s Toronto or London for months at a time, I always have the same people with me, which brings an element of home. My mum’s always cooking at the house or apartment that we’re in. It brings a semblance of normality amid all the craziness.
What’s it like having four brothers?
I love it. A lot of people would differ with me but I love it because it’s like having four bodyguards and four people to turn to any time you need someone to talk to. They’re always there for you no matter what. We’re such a tight family, and it’s just an interesting dynamic. I wouldn’t trade my family for anything.
Do you think they’ve given you an advantage when it comes to playing tough roles?
Yeah, I think it definitely helps. I grew up as a tomboy slash girly-girl where I’d go play football or baseball with my brothers and get all messy, and then I’d go inside and watch Beauty and the Beast and dress up as Cinderella or Snow White or something. It was definitely interesting growing up with four older brothers; we all had a lot of fun.
You’re also well known for your style. Tell us about your fashion sense.
My fashion sense is very eclectic. I’ll wear a pair of Chanel shoes with a pair of nice Urban Outfitters jeans, just a regular top, a cute jacket and scarf, and then have a really nice bag. So I mix everything together and I don’t really wear one designer or one this or one that. I have a whole pyramid of different things that are mainly not designer stuff.
How important do you think it is to dress age appropriately?
That’s really interesting because so much of fashion is made for older people. But you’re always going to find the cute, edgy, flirty stuff that’s definitely young and appropriate. I have so many years ahead of me so I’m definitely trying to keep it age appropriate and also cutting-edge and chic.
What’s the one thing you always travel with?
I always, always have to have my face wash no matter what. Whether I’m going just for a weekend trip to New York or for a long time to another country, I have to wash my face every single night with the same stuff. That consistency keeps my skin clear in these 15-year-old days.
Going back to the movie, how would you convince someone to watch Dark Shadows?
I’d say go and watch Dark Shadows because it’s one of the most exciting films of the year. It’s funny and it’s also campy but at the same time you get scared and then you’re laughing at the weirdest things. It is like Beetlejuice and Edward Scissorhands and Sleepy Hollow all in one movie.
How fun was it to film something like that?
It’s how you imagine a Tim Burton film to be, you know, campy yet dark and twisted and pretty morbid at the same time. It was a really, really fun movie to shoot, some of the most fun I’ve had on a project in a long time. It was crazy.