NEW YORK • Chloe Grace Moretz was 13 when she hit pay dirt at the box office, with her memorable portrayal of vigilante Hit-Girl in the 2010 black comedy Kick-Ass.
Now, she is 21 years old and prefers to aim kicks at more serious issues on screen.
She was in Washington recently to promote her new movie, The Miseducation Of Cameron Post, which is just the kind of film that the 2.0 version of Moretz wants to tackle - the story of a teen sent to a gay-conversion camp by parents horrified when they find her making out with another girl.
It has everything she is looking for: a complicated female lead and a female director in Desiree Akhavan.
Here are excerpts from the conversation.
How was it different being directed by a woman?
It was subjective instead of objective. Everything was. And specifically when I say that, I mean the sex scenes. In the movie, I would say particularly those scenes struck me as some of the most beautiful, because they progressed the character.
Without them, you would not understand Cameron in the same way - and I don't think that goes for all sex scenes in all movies.
What research did you do to prepare?
We had only 23 days to shoot the film, but it was incredibly pertinent to me to meet survivors.
I knew I needed to hear from them what it was like to stand in front of the conversion therapy centre before you walk in for the first time and what that meant. You have been acting for most of your life - are there actresses whose careers you admire? When I was younger especially, Natalie Portman was someone I really looked up to. She had a big platform with Leon: The Professional (1994), the same way I had with Kick-Ass.
So I saw a lot of parallels there. But at the same time, she did some politically and societally shocking movies. And she was a really smart, eloquently spoken, educated young woman. She carried herself well as a teenager and then, into her early 20s, she made that eloquent shift.
It was not dramatic. She did not do anything crazy. And I always connected to that.
Someone I looked up to more as a mentor was Julianne Moore, whom I worked with on Carrie (2013).
She helped shape me, teaching me what it means to have a voice and use that voice. And to not back down from what you believe in, for your project and your character.
What is your dream project?
There is never one specific project. I think what is important to me is choosing to work with people who have not had their voice out there yet. And being able to take the reins of a narrative that I think for so many years has been driven by other people, which is the female narrative.
The next phase is going into film-making myself and directing.
You seem like a pretty serious person - what is fun for you?
I love music, I love going to concerts. I am definitely serious at a young age.
One of the most fun things I do every morning is read my newspaper... I am a total nerd. I find things exciting that most people would not find exciting.
I love going to museums. I love listening to podcasts in my car.
There is a lot of 1990s music in Cameron Post. Did you discover anything to add to your library?
One of the first things Desi (Akhavan) did for me when I signed on was send me these two playlists full of so much 1990s brilliance.
I grew up with four older brothers and the oldest brother is 15 years older than me.
People my age usually do not know a lot of music outside of The Cranberries, but I was lucky to grow up immersed in real, true 1990s content. So I connected with a lot of the music in the movie fairly well.