Chloë Grace Moretz on Playing Carrie
By: Lynn Barker
16-year-old actress Chloë Grace Moretz has played “normal” girls in Diary of a Wimpy Kid and Hugo, a scary vampire in Let Me In and a werewolf teen in Dark Shadows. She was kick butt cute as Hit-Girl in the Kick-A** films but as Carrie in the new film, she gets even with bullies in a supernatural way!
Carrie is a total misfit. Her mom seems ultra-religious but makes up fake scripture to suit her beliefs and makes Carrie dress, act and behave so differently that there is no chance she’ll fit in at school. Of course, discovering that she has the power of telekinesis (ability to move objects with the mind) doesn’t help her be any more comfortable with her peers or make her weird mom happy. When Carrie gets a prom date, she is on cloud 9 until the mean kids at school pull an evil prank that forces her to use her powers against them and the twisted mother that, no matter what, Carrie still loves.
A scared Carrie arrives at prom with date Tommy
We’re in Beverly Hills chatting with friendly, outspoken Chloë who looks cute/chic in a blue stripe shirt by Top Shop and bib denim overalls with short skirt attached by Vivienne Westwood. Super high Dolce and Gabbana wedge shoes with a flower pattern in the heel finish the look.
Chloë on the red carpet
(WARNING: This film is rated “R” for bloody violence, disturbing images, language and some sexual content. However, the movie almost got a PG-13 rating).
Kidzworld: Much of this film is about bullying and “mean girls”. Have you experienced bullying yourself or seen it done to someone else?
- Chloë: I think anyone who’s different, who lives a different type of lifestyle has. I’ve seen what my brothers have gone through being gay and I’ve dealt with it as an actor and kids not understanding. You think it’s going to be a great thing. They’ll want to be your friend but no. People don’t understand it and they’re confused by it and scared by it and, for some reason, they’re jealous of it.
- I think that everyone in their life has dealt with something like that. Honestly, for me it’s just “Well, they’re the type person that has to do that (bully). It’s their problem”. And for me, it’s just moving on and up. They’re always going to kick you. Carrie didn’t handle it exactly the best way.
Shy Carrie at school
Kidzworld: Was the gym shower scene where the mean girls tease Carrie particularly tough for you?
- Chloë: The whole movie was terrifying but what was crazy about that scene was that not only was it iconic to the first movie but, in the book, she literally thought she was dying. It was terrifying. It was having to jump into that world. Imagine thinking that you are bleeding out. I don’t know how to stop the blood and don’t know where it’s coming from but I’m terrified. I know that blood means death and I don’t know how to stop it. (Note: Carrie’s mom never even told her what having a period was).
- Carrie reaches out for help screaming. All she wants is for someone to help her and they are just throwing stuff at her and yelling at her and chanting at her. She’s freezing cold, naked and confused. Jumping into the space of that vulnerability and sheer terror is hard. You are doing it on a set with smoke on it and we were all coughing. It was a horrible atmosphere to be in and I felt so uncomfortable. It was all wet and nasty but it worked so well because I was hurting and I was able to think ‘she wouldn’t be comfortable’. I was able to just live through that.
Carrie freaks out in the gym shower
Kidzworld: Why now for a Carrie remake do you think? (The first Carrie film was released in 1976).
- Chloë: Yeah. How do we do a “new” horror movie in 2013, when we have Paranormal Activity 10? You know what I mean? We have an abundance of horror movies and people don’t get terrified anymore. Everyone is so numb to all that type of stuff. We were kind of going, “Since they are numb to shock factor, well let’s go in and hit the emotional chord first, and follow that through with some thrills at the end. But we need real, adult, emotion. Because that’s the only thing people are reacting to nowadays. It’s not blood or gore. It’s feeling emotion”.
Mean girl Chris gets ready to dump blood on Carrie
Kidzworld: Julianne (Moore who plays Carrie’s twisted mom) said she hadn’t seen the original Carrie movie since like 1976. Did you see it?
- Chloë: I saw it with Kodi Smit-McPhee when we were filming Let Me In. I saw it when I was 11 and playing a vampire killing more people (laughter). Appropriate. I didn’t watch it since then because I didn’t want to subconsciously take any of Sissy Spacek’s ideas. She had such iconic mannerisms in that movie and (we agreed) that there weren’t going to be any wide-eyed looks and I wasn’t going to keep my hands anywhere in this general vicinity (she indicates stiff and low at her sides). My hands will be above my waist at all times. No crazy eyes. If there are, they have to be different crazy eyes.
Carrie's mom (Julianne Moore) takes her home from school
Kidzworld: You played it more like she was directing her power (with her hands).
- Chloë: Yeah. There were different movements for that. We had one for the fire and a different one for the water. And when I’m flying (levitating) everything was very calculated on what the hand positions were. They’ll release the behind-the-scenes footage at some point but you’ll hear (director) Kim (Peirce) going “And now you kill Lizzie. She’s on fire! She’s spinning like a top”. She’s doing each beat for me. I would get this huge beat sheet in the morning of 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, like thirty of them of exactly what Carrie does at what second and who dies here and what kind of death it is.
Back home after prom, Carrie smashes a mirror
Kidzworld: In the big “blood gets dumped on Carrie at the prom” scene, were you ready, mentally, for the first bucket to drop? What were you thinking?
- Chloë: Honestly, I just wanted to not think. I didn’t want to see anyone go, “One, two, three.” I didn’t want to hear the blood, before it hit. I didn’t want to hear anyone say, “Pull the lever.” It would just ruin it, so I told Kim I just wanted to walk up the steps, get my flowers handed to me and be really happy.
- It kind of felt like when you’re about to drop off one of those really drop-y rides, and your heart’s freaking out, because you know something is going to happen. I know Kim, so she’s purposefully going to drop it at a really random moment. She’ll wait until like three minutes into the take to drop it. I’m like, “This is so crazy.” And grabbing Tommy’s (played by Ansel Elgort) hand, that wasn’t supposed to happen. We grabbed each other’s hand, because we were both terrified that the blood was about to hit. “Okay, here we go.” And then boom!
Post blood drop, Carrie revs up her powers
Kidzworld: Your director Kimberly said you two worked on some Skype sessions to help you tone down your energy (because Carrie is so shy and withdrawn). How was that process?
- Chloë: Yeah, I think when she saw that I was outgoing and excited she said “No. This is never gonna work out”. (Laughter) Not only did we have Skype sessions, we went to four meetings in person and within the first thirty minutes of our first meeting I was crying and she was directing my emotions. I was like ‘What’s happening to me?’ It was a lot to really jump into and wrap my head around. I went two weeks early to filming and we sat down and wrote a lot of the character together. It was a lot of understanding emotions.
- At 15 years old, I had been through a lot in my life but I dealt with a lot of emotions (in the film) that I hadn’t actually dealt with. I had put them away in a little box. (Carrie) brought all those emotions out and unlocked Pandora’s Box of emotions. Honestly, by the end of the movie, I became such an adult because I dealt with every vulnerability I’d ever had in such an upfront manner.
- We shot the death scene with Julianne for five days so I was crying for five days and bleeding on the floor. Buy the fifth day I was like ‘I can’t cry anymore’. My cheeks were chaffing. It was hard. My mom had to walk off set. She couldn’t listen to it anymore. Then we went back and shot more two months later. More of the death for two days. I’m crying and dying again! I kill my mom again! My mom had to walk off set again. It was a weird mess of deja-vu.
Director Kimberly Peirce shares playback with Chloë and Julianne
Kidzworld: A lot of the cast is a little older than you but still playing teens. Did that make it easier to feel like you didn’t belong?
- Chloë: Yeah. I was the only one that was actually 16. Everyone was like 22. Ansel is my age. He’s a friend of mine but everyone else was an adult so I was like ‘okay, I’ll be odd man out’. We weren’t very close so it was easier for me to be terrified of them. It’s tough to jump into a character where you are terrified of someone when you are having a great time on set with them. But, it wasn’t terrifying with Julianne. She’s like my (real) mom, basically.
Carrie is made fun of in class
Kidzworld: The main story is the sick mother/daughter relationship. What was it like getting into the mentality of that since you and your mom have a great relationship?
- Chloë: It’s not very far from home in the fact that Carrie loves nothing more than her mother. No matter what, she does everything out of love. She wants nothing more than for her mom to feel safe. Even when her mom locks her in the closet she comes out and says “mom I’ll be home early (from the prom)”. Even when Carrie is with Tommy she says that she has to be home early for her mom. She’s always cognizant of what her mom’s feelings are. It’s this messed up psychology of no matter how much her mom hits her, she’s overly in love with her. It’s how you feel about your mom. We fight and we hate each other sometimes but I love you to death because you’re my mom. That’s the type of relationship you pray you have. You want nothing more than to see your mom smile even if that means you’re gritting your teeth and biting your tongue, it’s going to make it better in the long run.
Pretty in pink for prom
Kidzworld: How is life at home now that you are a big star?
- Chloë: Let’s not get crazy with the “star” word. Yeah, my family’s very proactive in the fact that they would definitely try and keep me very grounded. I think it’s also an excuse for my brothers to beat up on me (not literally). I’m still five foot four and little. And they’re like big six feet four guys… protective mongoloids.
Kidzworld: Don’t you say. “I’m a big star, you’re not allowed to beat up on me?”
- Chloë: Oh my god. You can’t imagine what would happen if I did that. That would be horrible. My mom would be like “This is not happening! We need to have a conversation right now! I’m taking you out of the business”!
Researching books on supernatural powers
Kidzworld: Would you like to go to a prom? Not one like Carrie’s!
- Chloë: For sure, not one like that. I’ve been to formals and stuff but honestly they are so boring. Nothing really happens. They are all jumping up and down on a dance floor. It’s just awkward and weird. I’m not going to say ‘no’. If I go to a prom it has to be for someone that I really want to go to a prom with. I think if someone random asked me I’m not going to be like ‘oh sure’. I’d be like ‘ummm, no’.
NOTE: Rumors are flying that Chloë is in the new Star Wars film but she denies she went in to audition for it. “It would be cool to be a part of it but you never know. Everything is up in the air right now because they don’t even have a finalized script. Disney isn’t happy with it yet so it’s going to be a long time before anyone is cast.”
Carrie is in theaters October 18th!
*Before watching the trailer remember the movie is "R" Rated