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Q&A: 'Carrie' star Chloe Grace Moretz

Matt Pais, @mattpais

RedEye movie critic

October 15, 2013

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Given the choice of having anything dumped on her head, “Carrie” star Chloe Grace Moretz of course wouldn’t choose blood. Her preference: Gummy bears.

“[They’re] delicious. That sounds way more fun than blood,” says the 16-year-old actress, who plays the titular horror icon in director Kimberly Peirce’s (“Boys Don’t Cry”) fantastic new take on Stephen King’s novel. “Also, gummy bears aren’t that heavy. So it wouldn’t be like you’re being hit by rocks.”

In the film, out Friday, Carrie White (Moretz) doesn’t get to choose. She bears—SPOILER ALERT, if somehow you don’t know this already--the brunt of a pig’s blood-oriented prank at prom, the culmination of bullying that adds to Carrie’s already-difficult upbringing with her extremely conservative mother (Julianne Moore). The part required so much of her that Moretz (“Kick-Ass,” “30 Rock”) says that halfway through filming, she went from being a child actor to an adult actor.

At the Four Seasons Hotel, she talked about feeling comfortable around blood, the powerful being Carrie couldn’t defeat and her favorite parts of “Mean Girls.”

Now or when you were younger, have you ever been squeamish about blood?
I think everyone’s been squeamish about blood at some point in their lives. When you’re a kid you’re a bit more squeamish about it. I think after the first “Kick-Ass,” seeing that much blood I was like, “Oh, whatever.” I think there’s a difference in real blood and fake blood though. I think if I watch a movie and someone’s getting stabbed, I’m squeamish.

Do you have a memory from when you were young and felt that way?
I think I was around a lot of blood. I have four older brothers, so I always saw someone getting bloody at some point. With me it was just like, “Oh, whatever; they’re just beating each other up again.”

Carrie’s sheltered and doesn’t understand certain things about the world. What’s something that you felt like you didn’t understand while growing up?
I think that life and death was a major thing that I never understood, and I was really confused by it [when I was four or five]. I was like, “I don’t think that anyone dies. I think it’s all fake. I feel like we all live forever and people just lie to you about it ‘cause they want to scare you.”

And some people just go on vacation for a long time.
Exactly. But no. Not true. Apparently we do die.

When I was younger and we went on two-minute car rides to a friend’s house, I thought it was so far away.
So far away! That’s very true. Totally. That would always happen. I remember we were getting a new car, and I remember how it felt so long. My mom was like, “It will be one more hour.” I was like (whispers in mock-disbelief), “An hour?! That’s like my entire day. What are you telling me to do right now?”

What do you think the average teenager would do with telekinetic powers like Carrie’s?
I think that’s scary. I think that teenagers are so irrational and they’re so spur of the moment. They get angry so quickly and they get happy so quickly. That type of power that really does [hinge] on your emotions I think would be terrifying with a teenager because it just seems dangerous: You get ‘em mad and they’re going to hurt you with it. You get ‘em happy and they’re going to fly around.

Carrie vs. another superhero--say, the Hulk. Who wins?
Carrie. The Hulk just has super strength. Carrie can, like, pick him up.

You think she can lift the Hulk?
Yeah! It’s Carrie.

Is there anyone she could not defeat?
God.

Carrie vs. God.
[Laughs.] Carrie vs. God.

Who’s playing God in this scenario?
Oh, God, I don’t know. Bruce Willis.

This movie will have people talking about bullying and thinking about how terrible teenagers, especially girls, can be to each other. What’s your favorite part of “Mean Girls”?
My favorite part of “Mean Girls” is … OK, I have so many parts to this. One is when she looks at the skirt and says it’s, “The ugliest effing skirt I’ve ever seen.”

Why do you like that?
Because it’s brilliant. It’s so good. And it cuts to the flashback of when she told Cady Herron that she likes her bracelet and then it cuts back to nowadays. And another great moment is when she’s walking out of the Halloween party and the drunk guy is sitting on the ledge and she scares him, and he falls over and goes, “Dude, that’s a scary mask!” But she’s actually just wearing makeup. [Laughs.] And then another great moment is probably when they’re doing the Christmas dance. And they kick the stereo and start singing.

When can we expect “fetch” to catch on?
I’ve used “fetch” many a time. “Fetch” has caught on in my book. I think Gretchen Wieners is right.

What do you say that about?
I don’t know. “Chicago’s very fetch.”

I hope an ad for this movie will say, “‘Carrie’ is the most fetch movie ever.”
(mock Valley girl voice) “Carrie’s so fetch, oh my God! I love Carrie!”

You’re younger than a number of actors getting lead roles in this industry. Have you ever felt bullied in one way or another in your career?
Yeah! I definitely think as an actor you put yourself out there more than a lot of people. And have your most vulnerable moments judged by audiences around the world too. It’s like, not only do I get judgment after every movie but I get a lot of people who don’t understand my lifestyle too, who like to push me in different ways.

What do you mean?
I think that a lot of teenagers, ever since I started this when I was five, a lot of people didn’t understand why I would leave school so much or why I couldn’t be around them so much because I was always away. I think they were scared of that in some ways because they would react in a mean way instead of a supportive way.

In several roles including “(500) Days of Summer” and “30 Rock,” you’re so good as coming off as smarter than people expect a character that age to be. What would it be like for you to play an idiot?
[Laughs.] If I played Amanda Seyfried’s character in “Mean Girls”? Oh my God, that would be great. I think that would be fun too. You know that movie “Dick” with Michelle Williams and Kirsten Dunst? I really want to do that. Such a good movie. It’s fun. That’s such a fun character to do if it’s well-written.

After the challenges of “Carrie,” would that be taking another step to play someone who knows even less than she does?
Totally. I think that for “Carrie” I had to pull back the vulnerability, but I think for a character like that you have to pull back your intelligence a little bit and become someone else who’s not quite as smart as you are. A bit more naïve.

What can we expect when you and Abigail Breslin play the two creepy girls in “The Shining”?
[Laughs] I don’t know! A “Funny or Die” skit?

Plus:
What she ate last night in Chicago: Deep-dish Giordano’s pizza with sausage and peppers
Her experiences in Chicago: “I’ve been to Chicago for ‘Kick-Ass’ the first time but other than that, no. it’s my first time really remembering it. The last time I was here I threw the first pitch at the Cubs game, which was really sick. It was really fun. So I’d want to do that again.”
Favorite place in the world: Tokyo
Where she still wants to go to: Verona
On transitioning to adulthood in Hollywood: “I‘ve been doing adult roles since I was a kid. When I was 11 the first role I broke out in was a role about me killing people and cussing and playing this assassin who’s been manipulated--her childhood’s been manipulated by her father. I’ve played on the heavier side, the more adult side of roles for a long amount of time in my career. So I have been lucky enough to kind of not worry about that transition. But of course there’s always a transition. You’re going to adulthood. It’s that boundary of, ‘Can adults be attracted to someone who is 17, 18, 19 years old, and does it look appropriate when you’re working opposite a male actor who is 20 years old?’ I think that’s more of a transition than mentally. I think mentally I can go wherever I need to go as an actor. But I think it’s more the look of everything that’s the transition.”
Funniest thing she’s seen recently: “The Heat.” “Oh my god. I love that movie. It was amazing.”
Best advice she remembers receiving: “Make sure you’re always having fun; otherwise don’t do it.”