Director Matthew Vaughn and actor Chloë Moretz kick our interviewing ass.
Matthew Vaughn and Chloë Moretz make an entertaining comedic duo, even if it makes for a rather surreal interview. At 39, Vaughn’s a producer (Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, Snatch) turned director (Layer Cake, Stardust) with a penchant for sarcasm (“To watch a movie you have to do this thing called buying a ticket”). At 13, Moretz has an astonishingly long résumé (including, just this year, roles in Diary of a Wimpy Kid and Kick-Ass) and a 13-year-old’s all-over-the-place energy. Put them together on a hotel patio at the SXSW Film Festival to promote Kick-Ass, and it’s hard to get a straight answer—or any answer at all, as they amuse each other with banter. Moretz answers questions as though trying on the role of movie star, but always doing it half in jest. And Vaughn, perhaps happy for the relief from the usual interview grind, encourages her.
Here’s a typical exchange. Given that Moretz plays Hit Girl, an 11-year-old trained by her father (Nicolas Cage) to be a knife-wielding, gun-toting vigilante, we figure it’s worth asking her about the training:
TOC: Chloë, for you this role had a lot of physical demands and a lot of action. Was it fun or…
Matthew Vaughn [pointing to Moretz’s sunglasses] : We’ve got the same glasses!
Chloë Moretz: I know! I just realized that. We’re twins. [sarcastically] We purposely did this today.
MV: We’re not sponsored but we should be, but anyway, carry on.
CM: Ray-Ban. Love Ray-Ban…
Eventually, they settle down and Moretz answers the question. “I went to circus school, which was insane. They did crazy stuff with me, just flexibility and stuff that it hurt so bad. And I was working with knives and swords and guns and crazy stuff that, you know, I wouldn’t be able to work with every day.”
We praise a scene from the film in which she handles a knife with great aplomb, which offers Vaughn an opening. “That was a CGI hand…,” he tosses off dryly. “Thank you, Matthew,” she snaps in mock horror. “You’re going to make people think that I’m a fake when I’m real!” And they’re off again.
When we ask Moretz how she figured out a character who goes from perky schoolgirl to avenging angel, she gets a little more serious. “I took a bunch of different people into playing Hit Girl. I took Uma Thurman from Kill Bill a little bit, then I took a little bit of Kirsten Dunst…”
At which point, Vaughn can’t stop himself from jumping in: “Have you seen Kill Bill?” he asks her incredulously (which seems a bit ironic, given the extremely violent film in which he’s directed Moretz).
“I’ve seen parts of it,” she clarifies. “That’s interesting, keep going,” he urges. Moretz soldiers on, trying for once to keep the interview focused. “And then, you know, throw a little bit of Angelina Jolie in there and you kind of mix it together and you get Hit Girl.”
Perhaps the strangest thing is that, when we do get an uninterrupted answer to a question, it’s Vaughn praising Moretz’s work ethic. “Out of all the actors, she was the most professional. She knew how to hit her mark and say her lines. She raised everybody else’s game. It was astonishing to watch actors come on set and kind of mollycoddle her for the first five minutes and then suddenly look terrified when they realized if they didn’t get their act together they were going to lose scenes to her.” That’s heavy praise, given that Moretz shares the screen with Cage, an actor not noted for having scenes stolen from him. We know Moretz has almost stolen an interview from Vaughn. Or is it vice versa?
Kick-Ass opens Friday.