All one has to do is gaze at that moving If I Stay trailer and see that star Chloe Grace Moretz shares something in common with her character Mia. They both were drawn to the arts at an early age and both decided to spend their youthful days making it their lifelong passion. “I started acting when I was five years old,” Moretz told Movie Fanatic.
That is the exact age that Mia starts playing the cello in If I Stay. But, clearly for fans of the Gayle Forman book, things take a drastically different turn for the girl at the center of the wildly popular YA novel. A horrible car accident lands her in a coma and it is there that she has to decide whether to stay and fight to live, or to let go and die.
Moretz rose to immense fame as Hit Girl in the film you can see when you watch Kick-Ass online. But, she’s been at it -- as she said -- since much, much earlier.
“I found it randomly listening to my brother studying monologues. I started memorizing them for no reason. Eventually I begged my mother to let me do whatever that meant. I didn’t know how to put it into words what that meant, it just made me happy,” Moretz said.
“Then, when I was 11 years old, I realized what I was doing and I was like, ‘Can I make this something I do for the rest of my life?’ She was like, ‘Sure, if you want to.’ That was the moment I actually realized that I was doing more than just gymnastics or tennis or something.”
Although she headlines movies now, it was not always having her name on a marquee. “It’s been really hard. Even when I started doing it at five years old, everyone in my life looked at us and said, ‘You’re crazy. Take your kid out of the business and put them in school. You’re never going to succeed.’ That was my entire time being brought up,” Moretz said.
But, her mother saw something in her that went beyond talent. It was clearly something that made her daughter happy. “My mom was like, 'If you’ve having fun, and I know you’re having fun, do whatever you want -- whether that’s gymnastics, learning the guitar, acting or just being a normal kid.’ She knew I was going to do what made me happy,” Moretz recalled.
“That’s how I’ve lived my life. I’ve always followed my heart. Whatever project I’ve ever chosen, it’s been something that I feel that I couldn’t live without. I couldn’t spend another day of my life knowing that I didn’t do that role or give my all and emotions to that role. Yes, it’s been hard, but it’s been incredibly uplifting.”
In If I Stay, Mia finds the love of her life in Jamie Blackley’s Adam. He’s a fellow teenager and singer-songwriter who is on a rapid rise of success in the music world as well. They gel over a shared love of the art of music, even if her passion lies in classical and his in indie rock. It is an all-encompassing love, with which most teens can identify. But, through Forman’s prose you truly sense that this is the real thing -- regardless of their age.
To find their onscreen love, Moretz and Blackley started with becoming good friends. “We were able to create this love relationship by goofing around with each other and being silly and having a good time rapping to Kanye and being like kids and having fun on set,” she reported.
The actress also said it was an odd thing to even do the kissing scenes, yet inspiration came from the most surprising of places. “It’s always awkward when you are having to kiss someone and the director R.J. (Cutler) is like, ‘Turn your head to the right, please. Make it look like you actually like each other,’” Moretz said and laughed. “[We had] R.J. and John (de Borman the Director of Photography) -- two men -- telling these two kids how to make out!”
When she winds up in a coma after the accident, Mia has to wonder about Jamie and where their future lies. That is made complicated by the fact that his band is starting to tour and record an album and she might be heading to Juilliard to become a professional cellist.
After turns in Kick-Ass, Carrie and now If I Stay, one would think that Moretz has a thing for darker roles that require wells of emotion. That is not far off. “Why do I choose really dark roles?” she wondered and laughed.
“I think because I have quite the normal family. I’m kind of bored with how normal my family is! I want to mess stuff up a bit and I chose those characters because I think that acting is doing things and exploring emotions that you otherwise wouldn’t be.”