To the father of the child, Mr., McCoy Lee Moretz, I thank you for being present. To the mother of said child, Ms. Teri Duke-Moretz, your appearance is likewise appreciated. We need to talk about Chloe.
To you, she is your joy. She is your youngest child and only daughter. She is undoubtedly still looking up to her four older brothers: Brandon, Trevor, Colin, and Ethan. She has a great smile. And she has credited you with providing her a “very Christian” upbringing.
But to the world, she is someone else. She is someone who appeared in two very violent films in the year 2010. She was only thirteen years old at the time. She is someone else who will appear in two more films that promise to be even more violent than their predecessors in 2013. By the time the last giddy, name-plated, high school sophomore swipes a gift card at the cash register for admittance into these films, she will be all of sixteen years of age. To the world, she is Chloe Grace Moretz, child actress. Or, if we distinguish her in the more simplified terms of recognition and acceptance, she is “Hit Girl” from the movie “Kick Ass”.
The late Chicago film critic Roger Ebert brought up two observant gripes with your daughter’s participation with the insanely popular (it grossed $66 million dollars above its $30 million dollar budget) “Kick Ass” film that put your daughter on the map. The first being that her father, portrayed as “Big Daddy” by Nicholas Gage, trained Hitgirl to kill viciously, and accompanied her on excursions to kill those who had wronged him in the past. In any other world, this rates as child-abuse/neglect of the highest order. In dark theaters across the United States of America? It rates as cheer and laugh fodder. The second point that Mr. Ebert illuminated, was that there was a scene towards the end of the film where the antagonist, Frank D’Amico, beats this child to within an inch of her life as payback for all of his many henchman who gruesomely lost their lives to her. And none of us find it the lest bit unsettling. I do, Mr. and Mrs. Moretz. Because I have witnessed a darker progression for Chloe with her next film.
That same year, your daughter Chloe became a vampire. Not a “tall, pale-faced male with a Romanian accent and a cape vampire”….but an “isolated, homeless, barefooted, waiting to lure grown men by crying for help and then dismembering them vampire”. Although the film “Let Me In” received far less criticism for her portrayal than “Kick Ass” did, I started to become concerned with her psyche. Jack Nicholson spoke prophetically when he raised concerns about Academy Award Winner Heath Ledger’s portrayal of The Joker in the film “The Dark Knight” before his untimely passing. Nicholson stated that he was very concerned when Ledger told him he was “method acting” to get into character by refusing to sleep for days on end. Ledger told Nicholson that liked feeling “off-balance and unpredictable” in the same fashion that The Joker is against his nemesis, Batman. Jack Nicholson stated that he had issues with “removing” himself from the character of The Joker, and warned Ledger that method acting the role of a psychopath could lead to serious personal difficulties. Ledger died of an overdose on sleeping pills shortly after in a failed attempt to recoup some of his lost rest during filming.
When your daughter describes her process to getting into character for a film, I feel that it comes from the same place as a method actor. She attempts to relive it. “I always try to find something in my own life that connects me to the character. The more I live, the more I find things that I can use in my acting”, she states. Chloe is set to star in “Kick Ass 2″ this summer. She will tackle the role of “Carrie” in the remake of the Stephen King novel and film this Halloween. And sadly, she has been offered and has happily accepted the role of a sixteen year old prostitute in the film adaptation of the television series “The Equalizer” which will feature Denzil Washington. Your daughter before the age of eighteen, may have tried to “connect” to and “live” the realities of: a bloodthirsty, vigilante murderer that spews profanity with no regard to her age; a bloodthirsty vampire who enlists the help of another child to help her feed; an abused teenager who uses telekinesis to murder other teenagers for revenge; and an underage prostitute. What can only be left to our collective imaginations, is what does a young professional actress actually do to prepare for roles that are so negative? And more importantly, how does that impact her mentally for the foreseeable future?
My plea to you, Mr. and Mrs. Moretz, is that you encourage your youngest child to step outside of the current roles that she is enjoying. Start looking for at least “one” script that might be uplifting to young people of her age range. Maybe a film that speaks out against bullying and the rapid teenage suicide rate that follows it. She once shared that she likes to play dark, troubled roles because her upbringing was so good that it is more challenging to step into a world that she never lived in personally. I applaud her effort and her desire to become one of the finest young actresses of her generation. But Chloe, your daughter, has to diversify the type of roles that she reads for. Because as the grim photo that this open letter leads with at the top (she certainly appears to relish the power of pointing the gun at someone), she may “enjoy the roles” of dark, troubled spirits in her movies….but the question becomes eventually, are the roles really “enjoying her”.