Texas Killing Fields - Chloe Grace Moretz
Texas Killing Fields - Anne (Chloe Grace Moretz, aged 14) © 2011 Anchor Bay Films, photo by Gusmano Cesaretti

Only 14-years-old, Chloe Grace Moretz has already had a fulfilling movie career with roles in The Amityville Horror, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Let Me In, (500) Days of Summer and Kick-Ass. Next year she will appear alongside of Johnny Depp in Tim Burton’s Dark Shadows and with Sir Ben Kingsley in Martin Scorses’s The Invention of Hugo Cabret.

Her new movie Texas Killing Fields is inspired by true events, and follows Detective Mike Souder (Sam Worthington) and Detective Brian Heigh (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) as they attempt to track down a sadistic serial killer who is dumping his victims’ bodies in a nearby marsh. Chloe portrays Anne, a troubled local teen who is kidnapped, that Souder and Heigh must find before it’s too late.

Did you know anything about the history of this event?

Texas Killing Fields - Chloe Grace Moretz
Anne (Chloe? Grace Moretz) © 2011 Anchor Bay Films

Yeah, I researched it. I was actually very scared and surprised to realize that it was real. It was a little too close for comfort. I did a lot research for the role and I went to this safe house in the middle of Louisiana and I met all these people who are now women, who when they were girls as presents their families would give them meth and pills as a reward when they were doing something good. It just hit me so hard, that day grew me up a lot.

Did you base your character on any of the people that you met there?

Yeah, definitely. I pulled from a lot of different people; I built it off of their mannerisms. They put on this front, but when you break it down they’re really like a young child on the inside, because they never had that childhood, so it’s almost like their brain is continually at that age.

The material that you’ve been in has had darker edges, does that fit with your sensibility or is it just a weird coincidence?

I think the best roles are in dark movies. They’re roles that aren’t you. If I’m playing Chloe all the time it would be like every day life and that’s boring for me. It’s fun playing someone that’s not me, because if I’m playing me all the time then it’s not acting.

Who is Chloe?

Good question. Chloe is an average 14-year-old, I guess. I’m seeing my friends this weekend and I go to school and I’m going to Knots Berry Farm soon. I love music and in school I like history and English.

When you work with adults do they treat you like another actor?

When I’m in work mode, I don’t act like a little kid, because it’s not a business where you can act [like a child]. People expect you to be more well-rounded and able to discuss things on a serious basis. If you’re always joking around you can’t get to the point and get it done. It’s your job at the end of the day, so you do your job. What I give off is a more adult personality, so they feel fine to treat me like I’m just another actor, which I love. I hate when people treat me like a little kid.

Was there anyone in the cast who inspired you, that you learned from?

Texas Killing Fields - Jessica Chastain
Detective Pam (Jessica Chastain) © 2011 Anchor Bay Films

I loved Jessica Chastain (who played Detective Pam). I think she’s a phenomenal actress. The role that she’s doing in the movie, she’s actually basing that character after a real person. She went and met this sheriff that it’s based after. She wears the same boots, the same buckle, the same hat – it’s the exact same accent. That’s why she’s the new thing right now. She deserves everything she gets.

You’ve worked with many directors – who has been your favorite?

I’d say after the film I just did, Dark Shadow, with Tim Burton, I love him because he’s so hands on with his actors. He takes into account what other people say. He goes to his actors and goes, ‘If you don’t like this you don’t have to [do it]. You tell me and I will rewrite it and do whatever you need to make this comfortable for you, because I need you to be in your best shape and form and feeling to be able to give me what I need for my movie.’ He’s so collaborative, and Martin Scorsese too. They’re such amazing directors, they know how to say something to you as the actor and you’re able to give it.

What was it like working with Johnny Depp on that movie?

Johhny’s amazing and he’s really cute. Other than that, he’s a really sweet guy and an amazing actor and again he’s one of the people who can just think of something crazy in his head and somehow he’s able to portray it in the most natural sense, which is so weird. You don’t know why when you’re watching the movie why you’re crying for this weird character, but you’re like, ‘I love you Edward Scissorhands. I want to marry you.’

How was it to step into the Burton/Depp universe?

It was interesting. I’m a weird bird, I love weird stuff, I love Tim Burton, my dream was to work with him and when I did I was like, ‘I’m working in a movie with Helena Bonham Carter, Johnny Depp, Michelle Pfeiffer and Tim Burton, all in the same movie together. Is this really happening to me or have I died and gone to heaven?’ It was special because they welcomed me with open arms.

Judy Sloane

Judy is Film Review Online's regular Los Angeles based reporter.