Chloë Grace Moretz Stars in If I Stay
By: Lynn Barker
Since she was age five, versatile teen actress Chloë Grace Moretz has entertained us on screen. She was a tween superheroine in the Kick Ass movies, a teen werewolf in the Johnny Depp starrer Dark Shadows, a vampire in Let Me In and, starred as Carrie in the recent re-make of that chilling film. Now you can catch her as Mia Hall, the talented cellist who falls in love for the first time before existing between life and death in the romantic and very human film If I Stay based upon the well-loved best seller.
What makes Chloë tick? How did she turn to acting at such a young age? How does she feel about love and long-distance relationships? Does she believe there can be life after death? Check out our talk with this thoughtful yet funny and fun 17-year-old actress.
Kidzworld: When did you know you were meant to be an actor?
- Chloë: I started acting when I was five years old. I found it randomly through listening to my brothers studying monologues and I started memorizing them for no reason and repeating them to anyone who would listen to me. Eventually, I begged my mom to let me do whatever that meant because I couldn’t even really put it into words. It just made me happy.
- When I was eleven years old I looked at my mom and was like “Can I make this something I can do for the rest of my life?” She was like “Yeah, sure if you want to”. “Okay, great. I think I want to do this forever”. I think that was the moment when I actually realized that I was doing more than just gymnastics or tennis or something.
Kidzworld: You play a lot of young traumatized women. How hard is that and how hard has dedicating your life to acting from such a young age been?
- Chloë: It’s been really hard. Everyone in my life outside my family would look at us and go “You’re crazy. Take your kid out of the business. Put them in school because you’re never going to succeed”. My mom was always like “If you love it, do it if you’re actually having fun. I know my kid is having fun and she’s going to do whatever she wants whether that’s acting, gymnastics, learning the guitar, acting. She’s going to do whatever makes her happy.”
- That’s how I’ve lived my life. It’s been hard for a number of reasons. I’m still fighting hard for every role I get. I’m still fighting the boundary of how old or young I can be, or how they want me to be something I’m not. You are always having this struggle, especially as a female actor against the higher powers trying to keep you in a spot which makes them feel comfortable. That’s a major thing I’m battling with right now. Even though it’s been hard, it’s been easy in a way because I’ve always followed my heart. With every project I’ve chosen, it’s been something that I feel I couldn’t live without. I couldn’t spend another day in my life knowing I didn’t give my all to that role and all my emotions and soul. It’s been hard but incredibly uplifting and eye-opening. Without it, I wouldn’t be quite the same young woman I am now.
- Then, why do I choose the really dark roles? I think because I have a normal family and I’m kind of bored with how normal my family is. I want to mess stuff up a bit and I choose the kind of messed up characters I do because that’s acting; doing things and exploring emotions that you otherwise wouldn’t be able to explore.
Kidzworld: There is a long distance relationship in the movie. How do you feel about those?
- Chloë: I come from the mindset that if you want it to work, it will work whether it’s a friendship or relationship. If you’re both in the mindset that you guys want to be together and you want to make it work, you can make it work. It just takes dedication and knowing that there might be some miscommunication and lack of communication sometimes.
(Her costar) Jamie (Blackley) and I talked about this, how we’re in a job where we spend (most of) our year not at home so you have to understand what you’re getting yourself into. I’ve had my best friends since I was nine years old and they’re kind of like “You’re my best friend but we text more than we actually see each other face to face”. But they’re still my best friends so if you want to make it work, I’m pretty sure it can work.
Kidzworld: How did you draw on your life experience for this first love story? You’re young so where did that come from?
- Chloë: Everyone says you have to draw from a modicum of self-experience for a role. Love, in particular, when you’re creating a love story, not every relationship is the same, not every love that you find is the same. There are different types of it and you learn through each relationship, there are many different ways you can love someone.
Kidzworld: You and Jamie are very convincingly in love in the movie.
- Chloë: With Jamie and I, we became good friends and were able to create this love relationship by goofing around with each other and being silly and having a good time rapping to Kanye and being like kids and having fun on set. It’s always awkward when you are having to kiss someone and the director R.J. is like “Turn your head to the right, please. Make it look like you actually like each other”. (laughter). We’re like “Like this? How do we look? Do we look good?” It worked once we got it. (To director) You and John (de Borman, the cinematographer) were two men telling these two kids how to make out (laughter).
Kidzworld: I read that you’d never played an instrument before. Is that true? If so, how much training on the cello did you have to do?
- Chloë: Yeah. Basically, there were about seven months of training with the cello. We had this cello that traveled around the world with me and found me in every location I went to. So there was this looming “If I Stay” feeling. I trained with it every day for seven months, like two hours a day as much as I could.
- Honestly, I’d like to say that in seven months I learned such an intricate instrument but really what it was was learning the emotionality of it and the passion that comes with being a cellist and how you have to surrender your entire soul to this instrument as you play it. The technicality came more from the Frankenstein head cutting and putting it on another person’s body (with computer effects). That way, it meshed the two sides of me perfectly.
(Note: Chloë also studied the performances of the great cellists. She learned about breathing and the relationship between the cello and her body).
Kidzworld: Do you believe in life after death?
- Chloë: Here’s what I think is interesting about this movie, even though it deals with life after death, it isn’t religion-based. You can watch it without being force-fed Christianity or Catholicism or Buddhism or something else. You don’t have one kind of religion being stuffed down your throat. You are just understanding that there is a soul, there are emotional feelings; there’s love, there’s passion and that exists post accident, post death, etc. These are incredibly real feelings and they do continue on in a sense. That comments on the question a little bit.
Kidzworld: Can you talk about working with Stacey Keach as Gramps in the film?
- Chloë: Working with Stacy was absolutely amazing. He’s just genuinely a good guy as a person. He’s so paternal and sweet and just kind so it wasn’t hard to have this great relationship with him because there’s this piece in my heart for him from the time I met him so after the car scene when the hospital scene rolls by, I think we shot double coverage on that. I was so torn up. I did not expect for him to drop that tear and I was like “Man, you killed me”. It was hard. He’s an amazing guy and he really hit my heartstrings pretty hard.
If I Stay is in theaters August 22nd!
If I Stay Trailer