Although Chloe Grace Moretz had appeared in plenty of movies before 2010 – the remake of The Amityville Horror, Big Momma’s House 2 – it was arguably her role as Hit-Girl in Kick-Ass that got everyone’s attention. As the tough, foul-mouthed 11-year-old assassin, Moretz’s performance earned acclaim and no small amount of controversy.
Three years on, and she’s back in the purple wig as Mindy Macready and her murderous alter-ego – a few years older, and no less deadly. During our Kick-Ass 2 set visit late last year, Moretz spared a few minutes between takes to sit and take part in a pleasant round-table interview – still in her Hit-Girl outfit, curiously – to talk about returning to the role, and the strange ways fans have reacted to her performance.
How’s it been seeing those [Kick-Ass] guys after four years?
Oh, it’s been so fun. I’ve been seeing bits of everyone at different times in the movie. I saw Matthew [Vaughn] at one point, I saw Aaron [Taylor Johnson]. I think I’ve seen all of them in their different times. It’s fun to be back on set and back in the costumes. It’s completely surreal, but it’s amazing to be back with such an amazing story as well.
How has your character grown since the last movie?
My character’s taken a considerable arc. In the first film, you saw a lot more Hit-Girl than you saw Mindy. I think you only saw Mindy two times in the whole story. But in this movie, you see way more of Mindy than you do of Hit-Girl. You see this young woman who’s struggling with who she is and what is right. When she was young, was she brainwashed by her father? Now she’s older, is she still brainwashed, or does she truly want to be a vigilante?
So she’s trying to figure out what it means to be who she is. Then you get the really cool fight sequences and everything that comes along with it. You get to see who Hit-Girl is without the mask and the hair.
How much of a fan reaction have you had over the years?
It’s funny. They’ve kind of grown up with me, too. When I did the first film I was 11. Now I’m 15, almost 16, but people still come up to me and say, “Oh my God! Wait, no! No way! That’s crazy!” I’ve got an amazing fan group from it, and they’re really loyal. They freak out. They say, “Can you hit me or something?”
That’s what someone said. “Can you punch me in the face?” And I’m like, “What? No.”
Will there be any additions to Hit-Girl’s vocabulary?
She gets a few new words. I guess she’s just a bit more creative. [Laughs]
I read in an interview that when you were younger, you had some problems using those words when you were talking about the movie. Wasn’t “Kick-Butt” something you used sometimes?
No, no. I never said Kick-Butt. That’d sound a little silly.
Are you more comfortable with those words now, though?
I don’t cuss in my own time. It’s not a thing that I do. I was talking to my brother about it, and I said that it’s affecting me so much more now than when I was younger. Now it’s like, ugh, getting into my head as a normal thing to do. But my mom, she’s not cool with that!
Were you surprised at the reaction to that moment in the first film, and is there a moment in this one that compares?
Yeah. You definitely get that reaction. In the last film, I counted – I only cussed six times in the whole movie. But each time was really pivotal, and really meant something. This one’s the same: it’s not like she’s just dropping swears all the time just for the sake of it. She only uses those words when she’s Hit-Girl. She doesn’t use them when she’s Mindy. She may use a couple of different words, but nothing like the C-bomb or anything like that. But each time she says it, it’s like “Yes! So cool!”
How have you prepared for your fight with Mother Russia?
God, I’m still preparing. We’re midway through filming and I’m still freaking out about it. No, it was interesting, because in the first film there was a lot more gunplay and knife control and things like that. In this one, there’s more Muay Thai and hand to hand combat. Kicking people down. It was cool to learn a whole new skill set, and work different muscles. It’s really different, and this fight scene is so cool because you have all these kung fu punches and all this military stuff. It’s two really skilled fighters.
How’s working with Jeff [Wadlow] different from working with Matthew [Vaughn]?
They’re both amazing directors. They have the same passion for the comic book, and the same passion for bringing to life what Mark Millar and John Romita Jr put on the page. There’s this thing where they’re like, “It’s got to be better than the first one. It’s got to be equal but it’s got to be better”.
I think, you don’t have to try to be better – just do what you did before, and it’ll just naturally happen, you know? So it’s really cool, because we all know our characters so well, but it’s good to have a new voice inside with new ideas. It’s nice to have someone who’s so enthusiastic about it, because you hear when “cut”, he’s like, “Yeah, that’s awesome!”
How do you handle your career these days? Just looking at what you’ve been doing – Let Me In, and Hugo and Dark Shadows and Carrie and this film – it’s one big project after another, but they’re all completely different characters that require a different head space. How do you do that when you’re going from one completely different film to the next?
That’s what I love doing. Once I do one character, I learn something new. I’m stretching my emotions and acting ability, and I’m always looking for something new that’s going to take me in another direction. So I go from Hugo to 30 Rock. Hugo‘s light and sweet, whereas 30 Rock’s this horrible girl who’s all snotty and stuff.
It’s just trying different things, and I get bored if I don’t. It’s definitely hard playing Carrie, this telekinetic prom queen, and then going to this character, which is this superhero. It’s hard, but it’s amazing, and it’s something I love doing, changing it up.
Does it help that you already knew Hit-Girl’s character?
It did. Me and my brother, who’s my acting coach, we tried to work out what we could bring that was new to this character, while still being the same girl I was. I mean, people wouldn’t mind if she was the same, but it’s more fun if she’s newer and a bit fresher.
How was working with Jim Carrey?
He was really cool. It sucks though, because in the last movie, Aaron was like, “I wish I was working with Nic Cage!” and in this movie, I’m “I wish I was working with Jim!” I had no scenes with him, but he’s a really cool guy. But I met him a couple of times, and what he’s done with his character is insane. He’s definitely going to be one of the coolest things in the movie.
Who would win in a fight, Hit-Girl or Carrie?
Oh, that’s hard. Carrie has a magical power. You can’t fight magic with logic. She’d probably lift me up in the air and take all the technology off me and snap my back. So Carrie would most likely win, yeah. She would totally win.
I hear Nicolas Cage is involved again, but his role is quite secretive. Do you have any flashback scenes together, or what?
Um… I can’t really say. [Consults publicist] No. [Note: since this interview was conducted, Nicolas Cage has steadfastly denied any involvement]
Have you been following the comic book series, and seeing what adventures might be coming for you next?
Um, yeah. I’ve read a bit, and it’s so ridiculous, it’s amazing. It’s pure Mark – he takes the character to a whole other realm. We did take some of the influences from that Hit-Girl to this one too. You can take things from both, because the comic book kind of follows its own story. We did take a little bit of that into this Hit-Girl, which is interesting.
Has there been any talk of you doing a Hit-Girl spin-off movie in the future?
Again, I’ve no idea. [Nervously consults publicist] Nope, no idea.
You must be getting so many great offers. How do you negotiate that and all your school work?
After I did Hugo and the Dark Shadows press tour, I took off seven months from work to put all my heart and soul into the press for the movies and everything, because over the years, I’ve never been able to fully do press. It’s been a day or a weekend there. That was really nice, because that was when the Carrie script came along, and I realised that that might be the next step.
I’m trying not to rush anything, read everything, and look to the future. I try not to make rash decisions like, “This is the biggest new studio film. I’ll do that one”, you know? I’m trying to balance it out between doing bigger films and indie films. In between Hugo and Dark Shadows, I’ve done a couple more smaller, independent films.
Is this your third or fourth film at Pinewood now?
Oh God. We did a lot of Kick-Ass here. Part of Hugo here. Dark Shadows here, which was crazy.
[There’s a power cut, which plunges the room into darkness. Someone jokes that the werewolf is standing close by.]
Eww! Don’t do that! [Laughs]
You got pretty close to being a werewolf [in Dark Shadows]. I saw a make-up test you did.
We did, for about two weeks. We did full process of the prosthetics for the movie. But then me and Tim [Burton] were talking about it, and Tim sketched some things for what he wanted the werewolf to look like, and he wanted something more feline and fox-like. A werewolf is a very masculine thing, and with all the hair and everything, the face comes off very square. He wanted a heart-shaped face, but with these fine strands of hair.
They said that wasn’t possible, so we went with all the dots on my face. I walked in with green legs, and green and blue dots on my face. My brother would feed me, because I had gloves on. That was payback for everything. [Laughs]
What’s the most physically challenging thing you’ve done on this movie?
Definitely the Mother Russia stuff, all the kicking. I’ve learned a lot more kicking than I did last time. It’s hard because of the suit – I can’t raise my leg above my hip. “Oh no, Hit-Girl’s going to attack my ankle…!”
Chloe Grace Moretz, thank you very much.
Kick-Ass 2 opens on the 14th August in the UK.
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