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BUCKINGHAMSHIRE - Chloe Grace Moretz is once again clad in purple and black leathers, just like the first time we met, but this time around, she seems far more confident and controlled.
On the set of the original "Kick-Ass," I was one of the very first interviews Moretz ever did, and part of what was evident on that set was how protective everyone was of her. Her mother, her brother, director Matthew Vaughn, screenwriter Jane Goldman… everyone was in that same mode, and for good reason. As we watch Amanda Bynes melt down in real time on Twitter these days, it is a potent reminder of just how much damage can be done to a young person when Hollywood gets hold of them, and no one wants to see that happen to Moretz.
Thankfully, it doesn't seem to be the case. Chloe seems level-headed and normal in every way, except perhaps for her obvious talents as a performer. She spends her time these days working with filmmakers like Martin Scorsese and Tim Burton, and it seems like she's being careful in terms of what projects she'll sign on to do. I have a feeling we're going to be talking about her work for a long time, so these interviews end up just being signposts along the way. Chloe at 12. Chloe at 16. Each time with a little more experience and a greater sense of self.
Part of what keeps her grounded is having her mother and her brother Trevor with her when she works. They're obviously enjoying the experiences they've been having over the last few years, and they seem to never be terribly far from her side.
When we sat down, she had just finished her last shot of the film, and she seemed exhilarated to be done, ready to go take a break after shooting several films back to back to back. In those moments, when she's at her happiest and cutting loose, she seems like she's her actual age, but then as soon as the conversation starts, the maturity that makes her so unusual is on full display again.
Sequels being a new experience for this cast, I asked her how it's been to step back into this character. "It's been so fun being back as Hit-Girl again. Aesthetically, it's been fun getting back in the suit and being back in the purple and the whole thing, but otherwise it's been great getting back in the character for emotional reasons and the fact that I'm able to show an older, more dynamic… 'cause obviously I have had much more acting experience since then. So I'm able to show this more dynamic, personal character than obviously I could in the beginning."
I talked to her about how the script addresses the aging of the characters in a fairly smart and realistic manner, and how many of the changes they've gone through in real life are folded into the script. I also brought up the way the new film shows a vulnerable side to Mindy that we didn't see in the first film. "You know, if it had been basically the same script again it would definitely not be as fun and not be a movie that I would want to be doing because I'd be like we already did that. But coming back to a movie which is different and more advanced and more dynamic than the first one, it's much deeper, I think. You see more Mindy than you ever saw of Hit-Girl and, you know, you just get more involved in her life and you see her struggle and her kind of slip away from figuring out who she is."
So much of the first film was about the relationship between Hit Girl and Big Daddy, played by Nicolas Cage, and I asked her if she's missed Nic this time around. "It was a huge part of the character but I feel like we killed that character. That character died in my arms that day. I put the cape over him. So there's a kind of finality to it, you know, which was really nice to have that there. Once I got back into the suit I was like, 'Oh, my god, this is kind of sad." I was like, 'I'm not going to go on set and see Nic there.' It's just Hit-Girl. She has herself and her suit."
I asked her how doing "Carrie" just prior to this informed her work as Mindy as she finds herself dealing with the cliques of high school and mean girls who don't care about her superhero life. "'Carrie' was go, go, go, go. The whole time, always on, every day it was something amazingly emotional and it really pushed me farther than any other acting or any other movie's ever done with me. I got so used to that, and then with this, it's not as crazy and not as deep but in a different way, it's physically hard and it's also emotionally hard in this movie. So it's a lot like 'Carrie,' but a lot different than 'Carrie' in the fact that obviously she's not telekinetic or anything like that. It's all very realistic. So it was anticlimactic, but it was fun to kind of go from one to the other."