As with any indelible horror story, the characters in Columbia Pictures' “Carrie” are three-dimensional. That meant casting “Carrie” gave the filmmakers the opportunity to balance the supernatural elements of the movie with performances grounded in humanity. When it came to casting the title role, one of the more turbulent teenagers in the history of pop culture, that decision in particular was crucial – which is why everyone was excited at the prospect of talented leading lady Chloë Grace Moretz embodying suthor Stephen King’s creation.
The filmmakers admired Moretz’s abilities and offered her the role based on her auditions and striking body of work. “Chloë is very much ahead of her time and Carrie is very much behind the time, so the nexus of those two realities made for a very, very unique Carrie,” says producer Kevin Misher.
And yet, unlike Sissy Spacek, who was in her late 20s when she took on the role in the 1976 original feature, Moretz is a bonafide teenager, which allowed her to readily identify with the world Carrie is maneuvering. “I’ve gone through a lot of different stuff,” says Moretz. “I’m actually living it and I remember it all, and I’m here in it while portraying her, so it was really close to home. That’s why it’s so beautiful for me to do it. I felt an attraction to the role.” Casting an age appropriate teenager was also an instinct in contemporizing the movie; audiences today may not accept a Carrie that is, in real life, 26 or over.
Director Kimberly Peirce says it couldn’t have been more helpful having Moretz going through some of the same experiences Carrie did. “When I talked to Chloë, she was being asked out to the prom, literally at the same time that we were shooting our movie,” says Peirce. “Chloe, a confident and successful young actress with a loving family, is naturally very far from our character Carrie White, an underprivileged girl who is mocked at school and repressed at home. We worked to help Chloe understand and inhabit the more difficult sides of life. We were lucky that Chloe was just starting to go through many of the experiences that Carrie was going through. That youthful innocence and sweetness, and the beginning of her teenage rebellion, forms the spine of Carrie’s character. I am very proud of Chloë’s transformation. You’re going to see Chloë grow up before your eyes on screen.”
Moretz is a big fan of King’s novel, which she calls “beautifully written,” so it was imperative in her mind to make it as emotional as possible. “It is probably the most vulnerable I’ve ever been as an actor,” says Moretz. “So in some ways, it’s kind of terrifying for it to come out, but at the same time, it’ll be kind of an awakening for me because I’ve never been able to show that level of my personal emotions on screen before.”
Peirce has nothing but praise for her leading lady’s work ethic, too: “Chloë’s phenomenal! Not only is she a real pro who knows her craft, she’s a really hard worker. Chloë had a lot of work to do on the ‘wire’ [a harness in which the actor is hoisted above ground] when she’s levitating. Typically, an actor on a wire can stay in character about half as long as usual because it’s so physically exhausting, but Chloë stayed up there, in the harness and acted it perfectly.” She adds, “The other thing about Chloë is that the camera loves her. She has an inherent charisma and energy on screen. And she knows the lens, knows where to look, and knows how to hold herself, because she knows what the camera is seeing. When I give Chloë a direction, she knows what I want, and she nails it take after take after take.”
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Now showing across the Philippines, “Carrie” is distributed by Columbia Pictures, local office of Sony Pictures Releasing International.