NEW YORK – The story of Chloë Grace Moretz, who went from being an ordinary little girl in Georgia to a rising film star, could very well be the subject of a Disney Channel series.
In an era when teenage icons are regular tabloid fodder, Moretz’s determined work ethic and air of innocence make her the kind of role model parents crave.
The 14-year-old is currently starring with Ben Kingsley in Martin Scorsese’s “Hugo,’’ which opened Wednesday. The film, based on Brian Selznick’s Caldecott Medal-winning book, “The Invention of Hugo Cabret,’’ tells the story of Hugo (Asa Butterfield), an orphan who lives in a Paris train station, where he dodges a child-hunting station agent (Sacha Baron Cohen). In his quest to unlock a secret left to him by his father (Jude Law), Hugo encounters Georges (Kingsley), a bitter old man who runs a toy booth at the station. As Hugo doggedly works toward solving his own mystery, he befriends Georges’s goddaughter, Isabelle (Moretz), who is also an orphan. The two find Hugo’s secret is linked to something deeply buried in the life story of Georges.
Moretz says she was determined to win the part of Isabelle as soon as she read the script.
“She was an inspirational character – she’s like me in a way,’’ says Moretz, curled up, shoeless, in an easy chair in a New York hotel room on a recent Sunday afternoon. “She is very strong and adventurous and she loves to dream – she has a huge imagination. That’s what the movie is about: having a dream and being driven, like me.’’
This breezy confidence is disarming, particularly from an adolescent. Moretz, dressed in a soft yellow skirt and charcoal gray top, seems devoid of the angst and preoccupation that often consumes teenagers. Perhaps it’s because, ever since she got into acting, things have been breaking her way.
Moretz’s ascent to fame began when she was 5 and moved from Atlanta to New York with her mother and two of her four older brothers. Her brother Trevor, who is now her acting coach, was studying acting and enrolled in the Professional Children’s School in Manhattan.