Thirteen-year-old Chloë Grace Moretz has already amassed a sizeable and damn impressive acting resume. Before taking names as Kick-Ass's Hit Girl (a.k.a. Mindy Macready), Moretz appeared as Angie Steadman in the family hit Diary of a Wimpy Kid, played the lead role of Abby in Let Me In (Matt Reeves' American remake of the critically acclaimed Swedish vampire film Let the Right One In), and won a role in Martin Scorsese's Hugo Cabret, now filming. And that's just her 2010. Other screen appearances include the breakout role of Joseph Gordon-Levitt's little sis in (500) Days of Summer, seven episodes of ABC's Dirty Sexy Money, two episodes of Desperate Housewives, a voice-over part in Bolt, and roles in the horror flicks The Eye and The Amityville Horror. With the release of Kick-Ass pending, Moretz came to meet the comic-book faithful at San Francisco's WonderCon. Before taking on the role of Red Mist in Kick-Ass, Christopher Mintz-Plasse made a splash as McLovin in Superbad, which he followed up with roles in Role Models, How to Train Your Dragon, and Year One. I sat down with Moretz at the Palace Hotel to discuss playing Hit Girl in Kick-Ass and a three-hundred-year-old vampire in Let Me In. Later, I met with Moretz and Mintz-Plasse at the Wondercon site: the Moscone Convention Center.
Groucho: Hello—nice to meet you.
Chloë Grace Moretz: Hello!
Groucho: It seems like your specialty is playing young women with a precocious intelligence. In Diary of a Wimpy Kid, you play a girl who’s reading Howl. Let Me In, you play a vampire. (500) Days of Summer. And now Hit Girl. Why is it, you think, you project that quality to people? Is it growing up in Hollywood that made you sort of wise beyond your years?
Chloë Grace Moretz: Well, you know, I’d like to—most of my roles are very diverse. ‘Cause, you know, in Diary of a Wimpy Kid, I did play a precocious little girl, but it was a girl that knew better than middle school. She knew something that was more than what other kids knew. She knew that it would get better than this. You know, and the vampire—Let Me In—I played Abby. And I’d definitely say it’s more than wise beyond her years: she is three hundred years old, but she’s still a little girl. She still isn’t that privy to everything that an adult experiences. You know? So I’d definitely say they’re very diverse in their own rights. Hit Girl: she’s a little girl! She knows no better. Playing with guns is like playing with dolls for her.
G: Could you talk about how—speaking of playing with dolls—wearing the clothes and the wig? How did those things affect your performance?
CGM: Oh, it definitely—whenever you’re just putting regular clothes on to go into a scene—it’s not the same as putting on a full costume ’cause you really get into character when you put on the jacket and the pants and the boots and the amazing wig: you know, you really become Hit Girl.
G: And you probably walked differently as well, right?
CGM: I did! I kind of walked like a boy. It was really funny. Every time I was in that costume, I was always, like, really tough. You know?
G: Did you also have Angelina Jolie in the back of your mind? I know she was sort of an inspiration.
CGM: I did! I had a bunch of people. Uma Thurman from Kill Bill. Kirsten Dunst from Interview with the Vampire. Angelina Jolie from—all of her movies! Yeah.
G: Was the costume comfortable? Did it take a while to get comfortable in that?
CGM: It never really got too comfortable, you know? ’Cause it was leather. And no matter how cold it was on set, you were always burning up in that suit. Except for when you were doing outside scenes…then it got pretty good, ’cause then you’d just be really warm and everyone else [was] freezing. But yeah, whenever I would crouch down, actually the crotch would rip in half. So that was a lot of fun. Every time I would roll, it would go hwhwwhhh, and I[’d be], like, “Oh God!” And they’d get a little patch of leather and stick it on there—have, like, glue on the bottom of it.
G: Yeah, well, superheroes: it’s a tough life.
CGM: Yup! Yup! It’s fun, though!
G: I want to talk a little bit, too, about [how] you worked most closely with Nicolas Cage. What was your bonding process with him, and did you two work out certain details of your family history that don’t make it to the screen necessarily?
CGM: Yeah! I mean, from the moment I met him, really, we kind of connected. He became almost like a dad to me. He’s such a nice guy and such a sweet guy. He’s an amazing actor, too, so it really just ups your game acting opposite him.
G: Did you have much time to work with him before shooting?
CGM: Not really, but you know, it’s like: we worked for two weeks straight; on every scene we did, it was two weeks bolted in. And so, you know, we were on set every single day together. And just from being on set three days together, we were like a family already. And I met him a couple of times, and y’know, it was good!
G: You lost a couple of teeth during this film, didn’t you?
CGM: (Chuckles.) That was natural, though!
G: Right, right, yeah, They didn’t get knocked out. It seems like the Tooth Fairy has been leaving you good scripts.
CGM: (Laughs.) Every time I lose a tooth! Actually, that was a thing. Every time I—it was this weird thing that, whenever I was about to book a movie, my tooth would get really loose; it would fall out. But I only have about two more teeth I’m going to lose, so hopefully that doesn’t mean that’s the end of my career! (Laughs.)
G: (Laughs.) No, I’m sure it won’t.
G: Now, of course, another major aspect of this film is the physical training. Can you talk a little bit about what your regimen was and some of the things you learned: weapons training?
CGM: Y’know, I did a bunch of stuff. About two months before the movie even started filming, they put me in basic training. Like unloading the gun, putting it back together, taking it apart, cleaning it. Y’know, safety about it: always check the gun before—when they give it to you, always check it. Make sure it’s a blank, it’s a fake bullet. Everything, really. Always make sure it’s clean. And then during the movie, they put me into more crazy training, with [a] top UCLA gymnast, and they put me in the Toronto Circus School. I did crazy training with choreography.
G: Were you practicing your gun assembly at the dinner table at home over the weeks before you shot?
CGM: (Laughs.) Nahhh, I don’t have any guns at home. (Laughs.) But I had a practice battle song. Which is completely fake.
G: Now I understand that the one thing that’s a done deal for the sequel is a purple motorbike for Hit Girl.
CGM: (Smiles.) Purple Ducati! Ducati—got to get the Ducati in there!
G: That’s at your suggestion, right?
CGM: It is! I was like “if we have a sequel…I really want Hit Girl to have a purple Ducati." ’Cause, you know, Red Mist has, like, this awesome car. But I just think Hit Girl looks so crazy with a purple Ducati going, like, a hundred miles an hour, being like bwwweowwww! It would look pretty awesome.
G: I would have to agree with that.
G: Now I just want to ask a little bit more about Let Me In, too. Have you seen the original film?
CGM: Um, I’ve seen parts of it. But not the whole thing ‘cause I wasn’t allowed. (Laughs shyly.)
G: Uh-huh, yeah. How did you approach playing a vampire and developing the physical aspect of that, and the mental aspect?
CGM: Well, it was basically like how I do any other role. We go over the sides, I think about what I want to do with the role. And then I go to my brother, and he kind of goes over the role with me and, you know, we go more in depth with it. And that’s really how it works. And we pull different characters into it. You know, I just try my best, and hopefully it works out.
G: Is your brother an actor as well?
CGM: Uh, yeah. He’s my acting coach-slash-brother.
G: I also just wanted to get in about how you’ve been cast in Martin Scorsese’s next film.
CGM: The Invention of Hugo Cabret.
G: Yeah. How did that come about, and what can you tell me about that project?
CGM: Well, like any other thing, you audition for it, never know what’s going to happen. And, you know, I actually booked it, and I’m playing British in it. I play Isabelle. I can’t really say much about it, but it’s gonna be a kids’ fantasy.
G: Very exciting.
CGM: Thank you!
G: Thank you very much for talking to me.
CGM: Thank you!
[Ed.: Later, at the Moscone Convention Center...]
G: I'd to ask both of you to tell an anecdote from the set. I'm curious about the filming of the "Crazy" scene for you, Chris, where you're dancing in the car.
Christopher Mintz-Plasse: (Laughs.)
G: How did that come about?
Christopher Mintz-Plasse: That was all Matthew Vaughn. You know, me and Aaron did a scene that didn't make the movie; it's probably on the DVD.
CGM: (Laughs.) Oh God!
CM-P: And then he kind of just, like, "Alright, this is just for the hell of it: it might make it, it might not." He just threw on music, and was like "I just want you guys to dance." And so we did that for, like, ten minutes, different variations: together, and then me being creeped out by him 'cause I don't know him and he's dancing in my car, it's weird. And we just did a bunch of different ways of that, yeah. And it made it in there.
G: Different tunes, too?
CM-P: Different songs, yeah, yeah. We did one to Gnarls, which was in there. And then one to this—Matthew Vaughn liked to mess with me, 'cause I was kind of seein' a girl up there that was in a band. So he said, "Alright, put on some music" and put on her music. And so I had to dance to her music; it was very strange. And then a few other songs, yeah.
G: Chloë, I read that there was an incident where somebody fell down on the set, and you thought maybe you'd shot him.
G: Could you tell that story?
CGM: That did—it happened a couple of times, geez. Well, there was once, when we were running down the hall, and I was reloading my gun. You know, the part where I go hhwhsssshh! (Miming.) It looks really cool. But it was all CG, so—.
CGM: Sadly, I just did this. (Mimes.) But, um, yeah: I was running down the hall, and I clicked 'em in. And I was like dhhuuhuuchh! And then I looked sideways, and I'm shooting sideways, and it goes thooomm! And all I see is the camera guy go fhooomm! And I'm like "Oh, my God! Did I just shoot him? Oh, my God!" And I'm freaking out. And then he gets up and he's like "Ooohh! That stupid dolly!" And I'm like—
CGM: I'm like "Please don't scare me like that!"
CM-P: Like a sick prank they were pulling on you.
CGM: And then, another time—you know, the scene where—have you...seen the movie?
CGM: It's the bottom of the scene when I'm running toward a thing, and I jump up, right? And I'm in mid-air, and it's like really slow-motion while I'm thooo! And my cape's like weoouuu.
CM-P: With the strobes.
CGM: Yeah, it was cool. And I get down, and I shoot the gigantic guy, who's, like, gigantic in the corner? And I shoot him. And I see this squib come out. And it looked really real. And so I saw this squib come out. And since it was the strobe, it got, like, really slow-motion. And so I was kind of freakin' out, 'cause I thought I actually shot him—
CGM: And he didn't get up for like a minute. But I realized they were still filming. So I shot him, and I was like "Ohmigod, are you okay?!" And he's just sitting there and I'm like "I think I killed someone! I think I killed someone!"
CGM: And then, you know, he got up again. And I was like (pleading:) "Goooddd! Stop it!"
CM-P: Didn't you know it was blanks in the gun, though?
CGM: Yeah, but I mean—
CM-P: But you never know.
CGM: You never know, you know? It can malfunction, like that one guy. Who was the guy...? It was—woohh. You're always scared. 'Cause the squibs, they look so real. It was like "Oo-ookay! Oo-ookay!"...
G: So, Chris, you were paired familialy with Mark Strong.
G: I'm curious what you guys worked out with each other about your relationship.
CM-P: It was really fun, because he always—his character is he's the bad guy. And he's never really—he loves his son, but he never—he always wished he had the strong, outgoing son, and he got me: this kid who loves comic books. So it was really fun to play off that, where I kind of knew he didn't like what I was doing. And so we kind of got to improv a little bit and riff off each other. And it was a fun, interesting father-son relationship.
G: And Chloë...there is kind of a controversy brewing, on the internet, that the people who—
CGM: Ohh, the internet!
G: You know, the commenters on the internet—
CM-P: Who are they? (Laughs.)
CGM: Can we just, like, delete the internet—?
CGM: From everyone's computer, and just stop on the internet things?
G: They think they know something. But I just wanted to give you an opportunity to say something about the controversy and those who think, "Well, you know, a girl her age shouldn't be doing those things."
CM-P: Well— (Sighs.) They haven't even seen the movie!
CGM: It's not real life, guys!
CGM: See the movie, and then tell me what you think about it. I don't want you seeing the previews and goin' "Ohmigosh. She said that word." You know? You know? They're seeing it out of context. And when you see it in context, it's—you know, I definitely wouldn't tell anybody to say it in real life or do anything I do in that movie in real life but, you know, when you see it in context, you don't even think about it.
CM-P: Well, it kind of makes me angry that people think they know what they're talking about when they—
CGM: When they don't know a thing.
CM-P: Go see the movie, and then I'll listen to your silly opinion. Which is probably still stupid nonetheless. But, yeah, I just—
CGM: There was this interviewer that was like "Oh, I couldn't see the movie before I interviewed you, because I feel like if I saw the movie and I hated it—which I probably will—"
CGM: "You know, I won't be able to give a good interview, 'cause I will offend you." And I'm like (exhales)—
CM-P: That's the worst person at their job.
CGM: "Excuuuse me?"
CM-P: The worst.
CGM: "You're a really bad interviewer."
CGM: "And you can't block that."
CM-P: "What are we going to talk about? We're here to promote our movie; you haven't even seen it." What do you ask me?
CGM: And so it was just like "How was it playing Hit Girl?" And I'm like "Okay, that's generic."
CM-P: Yeah. (Laughs.)
CGM: Well, thank you...