“I push myself very hard but I still can’t accomplish everything I want!” Chloë Grace Moretz is full of restless energy, despite the mid-afternoon lull at this sleepy Beverly Hills restaurant. She arrived in short shorts and an overcoat: “Pilates,” she explains, picking up a menu and then putting it down. She shrugs. “There’s not enough time in the day!”
Many of us would agree with that, but 19-year-old Moretz is a special case. In the last year, the actress has taken a road trip across America, stumped for Hillary Clinton (“The first time I met her I cried. She’s such a powerful, impressive woman. I said, I turn 18 on my next birthday and I want my first vote to be for you”), completed her 41st movie, launched a production company, Treetop Productions, and found the time to buy a huge house in Laurel Canyon, where she’ll soon be moving in with her mother, Teri, and brother, Trevor, both of whom she officially employs. If she’s not getting enough done, there’s no hope for the rest of us.
“My mom says, ‘You’re young, don’t ride yourself that hard.’ She wants me to make less movies,” says Moretz, grinning, “but I’ve averaged three to four a year for the last six years now, and I get bored otherwise.”
Tomorrow, the actress is off to New York to be a judge at the Tribeca Film Festival, then she’s back in Los Angeles to promote her latest film, Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising, co-starring Seth Rogen and Zac Efron, followed by a few months in London filming the live-action version of The Little Mermaid, out next year. “There’s a shoot for Coach in there, too,” she says of the fashion campaign she has fronted for the past year. Yet still, she says: “I’m never satisfied with myself.”
Child stars are known for that slightly terrifying quality of being both too young and too old at the same time. Moretz is a perfect example. Self-assured and unflappable, she returns every question with a confident, intelligent response and not a moment’s hesitation. If she said she was running for Congress I would believe her, and she’s only been an adult for a year.
“My mom wants me to make less movies but I’ve averaged three to four a year for six years now, and I get bored otherwise”
“I love adulthood so far,” says the actress, beaming. The first thing she did was get her driving licence and journey 4,419 miles across the country, picking up a ‘4419’ tattoo on the way. It was just her and her brother Trevor’s boyfriend, for two weeks in all. “And by the way – the sickest car,” she enthuses. “I have this deal with Mercedes so they gave me a GLE 450. There’s a massage button for the seats!”
The Benz costs about $80,000, so eminently affordable for Moretz, but she’s not one to spend that kind of money on a car; she’s far too frugal. “I think it’s silly. Unless it’s a vintage piece – then I get it. I’m more of a doorless Jeep girl.” College is also too expensive. “I’d love to do abnormal psychology or something, but I’d resent the fees. We need to do something about tuition costs in the US.”
Such strongly held values come from a staunch and tight-knit upbringing in a Baptist family in Atlanta, Georgia. Moretz is the youngest of five children and the only female, which had its pluses. “I understood life on a deeper level, because I watched my brothers make all their mistakes first,” she says. It also made her “super competitive”, and “a feminist”, since she was treated just like her siblings. And the best part? “When boys come over!” she laughs. “My brothers answer the door and they’re like, ‘Yo’. All four of them. And they’re big dudes – all over six foot. It’s like, ‘You mess with Chloë and we will kill you.’ I love that!”
“I understood life on a deeper level, because I watched my brothers make all their mistakes first”
It was her brother Trevor who got her into acting. He wanted to try it himself, so their mother took him to New York, with little Chloë on her hip, and so she submitted for auditions too. The offers came in and by the time Moretz was six, the family had moved to Los Angeles for her career. Today, her mother and Trevor manage Moretz’s career and are partners in her new production company (shooting two projects this year, by all accounts). So does that make Chloë, the baby of the family, also the boss? “As an actor, I suppose, but we’re on the same level on the producing side. I’m never bossy, though; it’s so unconducive to creativity. And anyway, it would never work out because I’m a girl. Girls can’t act that way in this business,” she says wryly.
The adage about not mixing business and family works in reverse here, in part because her parents divorced when she was a child. Her mom raised her and her brothers as a single parent, and they all grew very close. Moretz’s father is very much out of the picture. “LA can be a hard place,” she says cryptically. “There are a lot of temptations, which can take people down.”
It was a pivotal period in her life. First came the divorce, then her mother’s cancer battle when Moretz was 10, then two of her brothers came out as homosexual – their negative experiences turned Moretz into an LGBT campaigner. All the while, her career was moving quickly. The 2010 superhero comedy Kick-Ass, and all its surrounding controversy, made her a star – the film was criticized for glorifying violence and its use of the ‘C’ word in a line uttered by Moretz aged 11 years old. The following year, she starred in Dark Shadows, with Johnny Depp (“He’s the best-smelling man ever. He has his own scent. The rumor is he puts his blood in it”). Making Hugo, in 2011 she found Martin Scorsese “more energetic than most young directors I’ve worked with”. And on Carrie 2013, she bonded with on-screen mother Julianne Moore, whom she talks to every couple of weeks: “She advises about family and business. I have the best role models.”
“I’m never bossy; it’s so unconducive to creativity. And anyway, girls can’t act that way in this business”
Somewhere along the way, Moretz graduated from high school. She was home-schooled throughout. Her teacher – whom she shares with her friend, Hayden Panettiere – would travel with her from one movie set to the next. “It was a lot of pressure, especially on Carrie where I was crying on set and then learning calculus!”
Had Moretz gone to high school, she’d be a dork, she says. Not a cheerleader, not a mean girl, but a music nerd. She goes to gigs most days of the week and reels off her favorite bands – Goldlink, Banks and Moxie. She recently watched her friend Georgia Nott, the lead singer of New Zealand band Broods, open for Ellie Goulding. “I’m so proud of her,” says Moretz. “She’s only 21.” So – not a Beleiber then? She laughs. “Noooo!” She loves to let loose though, and says her favorite thing to do is “dancing at the 18-and-over gay clubs with my brothers.”
If there’s a price tag to such an accomplished life, it’s social. Moving around made it hard to make friends. Today, she says, “I’ve only got one real friend that I trust. But I’m cool with that. She’s totally normal, goes to college.” And dating is a minefield. “They’ve seen you in sex scenes in movies, they know what you look like crying,” she says. “And they can read your interviews and know your favorite bands so it feels like they have all this in common with you… Happens a lot. I’ll think, ‘How are we vibing so hard right now?’ Then I realize, and I don’t care anymore, I just go back to work.”
“Potential boyfriends read your interviews. I’ll think, ‘How are we vibing so hard right now?’ Then I realize, and I just go back to work”
But perhaps, at last, that disappointment has come to an end: Moretz has been seen with Brooklyn Beckham a great deal of late. “We’re just good friends,” she says. “The Beckhams are a great family. They don’t tout their money either.”
In the days following our interview, Moretz’s relationship status becomes the subject of heightened debate. Beckham posts a series of undeniably intimate snaps on his Instagram account, swinging the pendulum from the ‘good friends’ to the ‘so much more’ camp. And eventually, Moretz cracks, confirming on US TV that, “Yes, we’re in a relationship.”
It’s an admission that adds an extra dimension to her earlier comment to me, where she voiced her suspicions that she would be happier dating someone with the strand of celebrity the Beckhams have: “They’d understand the travel, the sex scenes with random people, the crazy schedules…”
Wait, what about her mother’s advice to calm things down a little? “I work out a lot, does that count? Like, twice a day. I just love the endorphins.” Not really; I’m talking about slowing down, relaxing. “I’m trying. I took my family to Mexico for two weeks for my birthday and we hung out on the beach. So I’m learning.” It sounds lovely. She grins, her nose twitching. “Well… There were lots of activities. Horseback riding, canoeing, tennis. I mean, you can’t just lie there.”
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