When you’ve been acting most of your life, it’s easy to get burnt out at a young age. Too often, this leads to poor project choices and a sense of the actor or actress falling by the wayside. Chloe Grace Moretz had no interest in that happening to her. That led to a break of over a year before making the one-two punch of “The Miseducation of Cameron Post” and “Suspiria.” The result was a rejuvenation and some of the best reviews of her career.
Moretz sat down late last month to talk with us at a hotel near Gramercy Park in New York. With the film available On Demand and coming to Blu-Ray on December 4th, the focus was on “The Miseducation of Cameron Post,” as well as what makes her tick. From “(500) Days of Summer” and “Kick-Ass,” to “Hugo” and “Let Me In,” she’s done a lot in a short amount of time. Co-written and directed by Desiree Akhavan, “The Miseducation of Cameron Post” represents Moretz at her best. Rightly so, she’s considered a dark horse in a very competitive Best Actress field. She was a pleasure to speak with, as you can see below. If you haven’t done so yet, be sure to check her out in both “The Miseducation of Cameron Post” and “Suspiria” ASAP!
Joey Magidson/Awards Circuit: It’s been a really good year for you. “Suspiria” just came out and “The Miseducation of Cameron Post” is coming to Blu-Ray soon after starting the year at Sundance. What is that like, having bookends to the year like this?
Chloe Grace Moretz: It’s been an interesting process. I took a year and a half off right before signing on to do “Cameron Post,” and then right after I finished “Cameron Post” I went directly into “Suspiria.” So these actually literally happened back to back. It’s been really rewarding, emotionally. Making the movies was a process that was really special to me.
I took a year and a half off to reignite a flame that started to disappear, to dissipate. A flame that had been there fifteen years. All of a sudden I looked in the mirror and I didn’t recognize who I was, I didn’t recognize my decisions. And we did this movie for $850,000 in 23 days. It was a story that we all championed. But halfway through production, our President became President Trump and this became one of the most socially important movies we could be making, and a form of activism.
And I was able to find, just as an actor, a form of anonymity in these characters. I was able to wear the skin of Cameron, which was a character that deserved to be seen on film and a character that allowed me to go completely opposite of my instincts as an actor and go against these emotional cavities that I’d become so good at doing as a child actor coming into adulthood. To now go against that and go, yeah, I’m good at that, but go completely opposite of what you want to do and act completely opposite of what exactly you thought you were going to do and stay in that moment.
JM: Is it a role that you think you would have taken if you hadn’t taken the time off? Or would it have even come up?
CGM: I don’t know if it’s a role that would have even come up. I don’t know if we would have even grabbed the script. It was one of those things that I couldn’t imagine the path going any different. I couldn’t. And this movie is what rekindled the flame in my love for acting. And my love for this art form. And to see it go the distance in terms of, you know, in January winning the grand jury prize at Sundance, and to have seen it come out and be coming out again, and it even be in conversation and the character be in conversation is cool, and it’s different than everything that I’ve done before, but it’s also worthy of conversation. And, it’s nice to see people talk about conversion therapy and start the discussion.
JM: Was it ever weird, growing up in the industry, to see various roles that you wanted but were either too young or too old for?
CGM: It’s definitely an interesting space to be in, being 21.
JM: In life in general!
CGM: In life in general! It’s kind of a weird space to be in because, yeah, you’re not an adult. You’re not playing the pregnant, about to have her first child and what comes with that, and you’re not also the kid graduating high school anymore. Not really. And you’re trying to figure out, you know, do you want to stretch yourself and play that older character at this age, or do you want to pull back and play the younger character for as long as possible? And for me, it’s been a societal implication for women to think about age forever. And so, it’s been important for me to not think about age and if the character arises itself which is good enough to play a senior in high school again, or you know, good enough to play a young mom, if it’s worth the story being told I’m going to fight to the end of my day for it. And if I’m not correct for it, what’s been really special about my career is that I fight as hard as I can for roles and I’ll audition to the end of my day. I love going into a room and trying to win a role and getting on my knees and fighting for it, and begging for that role and knowing that I poured my heart out for it.
But I know that with every role that I haven’t gotten in the past, it truly has been that one door has closed and another one’s opened. It’s been that way forever for me. And so I don’t question the process in a lot of ways. I think what’s big about this new iteration in my career is being comfortable in that silence and being comfortable in only making a movie a year. Being comfortable in maybe making two movies a year on the big side and just fighting for that best role. And if you don’t get it then not working out of boredom, which I think is the key.
JM: What’s something you haven’t done yet that’s on your mind to do?
CGM: There’s a million things I haven’t done yet. I think what’s beautiful about the process of being a part of different movies, and even just auditioning and reading different parts and producing different projects, it’s really wonderful to just read everything and sit back and just be a part of it and kind of see if you want to fit yourself into those areas. And I feel like there’s a million places that I could still go, and I’m fighting for and craving that rush of fear. I want to look at a character and go, I don’t know how to approach this. I don’t know how to fit myself into this character, but I want to find it and I want to find the anonymity in it and I want people to look at my character, like in “Cameron Post,” or like in “Suspiria” and go, oh is that Chloe Moretz? Oh she did that? And go, yeah I know, it’s kind of crazy. It’s kind of crazy for me even. And to question myself and to question my ability.
JM: “The Miseducation of Cameron Post” is very much about a character. How did you find her, character wise?
CGM: It’s a fairy silent character. In most of my scenes it’s a passive character in a lot of ways and she sits back and she observes more than she interjects. It was a really beautiful challenge for myself to not be the outspoken one and to sit in the silence and to walk through the emotional beats and to go against my own emotional inclination. I wanted to speak out in those scenes. Of course I wanted to stand up and go, this is hypocrisy. This is total BS. How are you saying this to me? But to fit myself into a character which is unlike my other characters that I’ve done in the past, it allowed me to question myself and to question my own inclination and my own instincts and to find new paths, to find new emotional paths within myself and that is what rekindled the flame within myself I felt dwindled.
JM: You find yourself rooting for her because of that. You want Cameron to speak up. The ending doesn’t give you that, though. This isn’t the true end of her story, it’s just a piece of it.
CGM: Yeah. We’re nowhere near it. And for all intents and purposes it’s a prequel to the homeless youth on the streets in America right now. I mean, most of the homeless teens in America are LGBT and they’ve been kicked out of their lives or their only real alternative to being completely confined was to run away and to be homeless on the streets, which is a big deal.
JM: On the producing side, is that a matter of making sure the things you devote your time to are special? Is it something you’ve had on your mind for a while? Will it lead to writing or directing? What do you think the extra control will lead you to do?
CGM: For me it’s being able to champion stories and champion scripts that people are saying that aren’t needed. For instance, this script is a script that everyone said wasn’t needed, and my signing on to it and saying that this is a story that deserves to be told finally got it funding and allowed it to be made. And stepping into the producing role is one step further in that direction. It’s hearing a story on, you know, it’s reading an article. It’s reading an essay. It’s hearing a podcast and going, that’s an interesting story, why don’t we tell that story? If I’m interested in it, I promise that there’s other people that are and let’s champion that. Let’s fight for that and let’s build a story off of that and let’s get a cool director in here that isn’t maybe getting the offers that they deserve. Let’s create and harbor a community to make stories for the people that the masses genuinely do want to see. And 100 percent that’s going to parlay itself into directing. That’s something that’s in the not too far future for Trevor and I. We’re going to be co-directing together.
JM: It’s frustrating to see the things that don’t get made or don’t get supported these days. Like, would “Jerry Maguire” even get made today?
CGM: It’d be hamstrung. That’s the thing, they do seemingly make some movies nowadays that people want to see but they don’t give it the backing for it to actually be seen enough.
JM: There seem to be only a few types of movies that get made. There’s the giant one…
CGM: And the itty bitty babies!
JM: It used to be what people saw were mid-level movies too. That’s what movie stars used to be in.
CGM: That’s what made movie stars were these movies that became beloved to you. These people that became beloved to you. That they were character stories.
JM: There used to be upward progression for actors and filmmakers. There doesn’t seem to be that anymore, does it?
CGM: It’s a strange reality that we’re living in. I think there are some people championing that mid-level range and I think it is coming back in some ways, but it takes people like me, it takes producers, it takes certain people to not turn a blind eye.
JM: As we wrap up, what do you want someone to take from this movie? And also, now that you’re recharged, what would you like to do next?
CGM: I would say that what I’d like people to take from the movie, I just hope that they see something that they haven’t before. I hope that they walk in and they see the unexpected. I hope that it teaches them something they haven’t heard about before and gets them to even just Google what it is, but I hope that it also makes them laugh. And it shows that it’s a story made by a great director. This is a story told from a different perspective and I hope that leaps off the screen in their face and you see that this is a movie that wasn’t supposed to be made for all intents and purposes and it did get made. Feel the difference in the filmmaking and feel the difference in the actors. Champion movies like this and know that buying a ticket is casting a ballot in the direction of telling the higher-ups that these are movies and stories that want to be seen and told.
This next step in my career and this next iteration in what I want to do is I want to keep fighting for the people and the things that go unseen. I want to speak of the things that go mainly unheard and I want to ruffle some feathers. I’m not afraid of that. And I don’t want to feel comfortable. I want to feel uncomfortable and I want to be afraid of the decision and to jump in headfirst!