At just 18 years old, Chloë Grace Moretz already has a long and impressive CV. She began her career aged seven and has worked with Hollywood greats including Denzel Washington, Julianne Moore and Martin Scorsese. In J. Blakeson’s The 5th Wave, she takes centre stage as Cassie Sullivan, who has been left orphaned during four waves of attacks by an alien force. She is forced to fend for herself as she tries to rescue her little brother from the clutches of the invaders. We talk to the rising star about the stunts she had to perform, her fans and the pressure of being a role model.
The 5th Wave is an adaptation of the novel by Rick Yancey. There’s been a flurry of adaptations in the young adult genre. Did you worry that we might be reaching peak?
One hundred percent, and that’s actually the reason I chose this project. I’ve been offered a few different roles in the franchises that we see now, and couldn’t see why those characters needed to be portrayed on screen and therefore I didn’t feel the need to do it. The big thing that I found about this was that it isn’t a young adult novel in the sense that it didn’t have the YA central theme of a dystopian world, a girl plucked out of obscurity to take over and fight for the rights of everyone. It didn’t involve a major love triangle. Those three things were not there, so it sparked my interest. It’s not what I’d already seen in the past, I don’t even know, five years now…
You’ve done a lot of your own stunts in the past. Did you do you do your own stunts in this movie, too?
Yes I did, but it was the opposite of what I’m used to. I usually train for the stunts, but in The 5th Wave they said, “We don’t want you to look trained, we want you to look like you’re fumbling around with the gun.” Well, that’s kind of hard because I know so much about weapons that I had to force myself to fumble with the gun. I had to keep being reminded to stumble and fall whenever I could and to not hold the gun in the right way.
Were you very aware of the film’s socio-political elements?
Definitely. There’s a very relevant societal and political undertone in the movie and I think environmentally, there’s a lot to be said about it in the sense that humanity is being decimated. But as you see in the scenes in the woods, it’s like the planet is thriving and that’s really what we wanted to show.
What did you learn from J. Blakeson?
It’s funny because he’s a young director, but he felt so tenured. He has such a breadth of knowledge about him and he’s such a film buff. I couldn’t imagine any other director taking on a movie like this. He added such depth and gravity to the project, which could have been airy, cheesy and teenie, but he kept it adult and realistic.
You were lined up for the role of Cassie soon after the book was published. How did you deal with the fans?
I felt really lucky because a lot of the time fans are so wild and obsessed that they tend to have a very specific idea of what their lead character is supposed to be like. I felt lucky and beloved by this fan base – the “wavers” – they welcomed me with open arms before they even knew what I was going to do.
Are you like Cassie in any way?
I’m like her in a lot of ways. We have a similar family dynamic. I have four older brothers and I’m obsessed with my family, so it was very easy for me to catch on to the story of Cassie and see her walk practically to the ends of the Earth just to find her brother again.
The character was created by a man, the director is a man. Is anything in the film missing from a female perspective?
It is incredibly insightful into the female psyche in some ways, except for some moments like how she [Cassie] feels about the boys – that felt a little bit like a man pretending to be a girl – but most of the time it felt very feminine. I’d been given real creative license, so when I wanted to add my perspective, I was supported.
Is it important for you to play strong female characters?
In the past few years it became very apparent that people are going to listen to what I say and see what I do, so I want to make an effort to be a good role model and put out projects that I’m proud of and that people can look at and not be regressed by.
The 5th Wave is out now in cinemas across Dubai.
More close encounters
War of the Worlds
Steven Spielberg’s take on H.G. Wells’ novel follows one family’s journey and struggle to survive as towering tripods emerge from the earth and begin their bloody onslaught of the planet. Luckily for the human race, the aliens’ immunity to flu is pretty low.
Directed by Roland Emmerich, and starring Will Smith and Jeff Goldblum, aliens plan an attack on Earth and a team of smart and plucky humans devise a plan to fight back and save the planet.
Close Encounters of the Third Kind
Starring Richard Dreyfuss, who two years earlier had made his debut working on Jaws, this film gave us possibly the most memorable five musical notes in film. Dreyfuss’ character becomes obsessed with alien abductions after an encounter with UFOs.