Teen actress flexes muscles in "Kick-Ass"

Mon Apr 19, 2010 8:22pm EDT
 
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By Jenelle Riley

LOS ANGELES (Backstage) - As far as entrances go, it ranks up there with Barbra Streisand's as Fanny Brice purring "Hello, Gorgeous!"

Hit Girl, the 12-year-old masked vigilante in a purple Clara Bow wig and leather jumpsuit crashes into the villain's hideout, strikes a menacing pose, and utters the line, "Okay, you guys ... let's see what you can do now."

Only she doesn't say "guys" -- she uses one of the most offensive words in the English language, before proceeding to unleash bloody vengeance upon the bad guys. This is how "Kick-Ass," the new action-comedy about ordinary people striving to be superheroes, introduces Hit Girl, played by Chloe Grace Moretz. Up to this point, the film's audience has seen her only as her alter ego, hyper-intelligent but sweet Mindy Macready, and has no idea of just what she is capable.

Hollywood, however, seems to be well aware of just how much the 13-year-old Moretz can handle. Though it's a cliche to talk about child actors as wise beyond their years, Moretz is quickly making a name as the go-to young performer for heady material. After counseling Joseph Gordon-Levitt on love in last year's "(500) Days of Summer," she played a world-weary student in the recent "Diary of a Wimpy Kid."

"Kick-Ass," which opened at No. 1 at the weekend box office with a disappointing $19.8 million, will find her performing stunts and spouting dialogue actors twice her age would blush at. And in the fall, she'll appear as a hundreds-year-old vampire trapped in the body of a 12-year-old girl in "Let Me In," the American remake of the Swedish drama "Let the Right One In." And she recently signed on to star for Martin Scorsese in his historical drama "The Invention of Hugo Cabret."

Moretz already has big fans in her directors and co-stars -- including Nicolas Cage, who plays Hit Girl's warped but loving father, Big Daddy. "I knew she was going to be an enormous star because of how well she performed," Cage says, adding he gave Moretz a silver starfish necklace when the film wrapped "because real stars are nice people, and that's what she is."

SUMMER DAYS

Moretz has always been a bit of a performer; the Georgia native can recall at age 4 how her elder brother Trevor would dress her up in various outfits and film her -- most memorably as Princess Leia floating in the pool while being attacked by a sea monster, played by the cleaning tube. She began begging her mother to let her go on auditions. "She would say, 'I don't know, Chloe; it's not a business for kids,'" Moretz admits. "She kept asking, 'Is this really something you want with your heart and soul?' and I would say yes. I love it."   Continued...

 
<p>Actress Chloe Grace Moretz poses at the red carpet during the premiere of the film "The Eye" in Los Angeles, California January 31, 2008. REUTERS / Hector Mata</p>