Selasa, 5 November 2013

The Star Online: Entertainment: Movies

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The Star Online: Entertainment: Movies

From Hit-Girl to tormented teen


Self-assured young actress Chloë Grace Moretz turns into a lost girl in Carrie.

It's conceivable that at some point in the near future, Chloë Grace Moretz could conquer the world.

Perched on a sofa at a West Hollywood hot spot in slim black pants and a gray cardigan, the 16-year-old displays the same sort of unbridled moxie that she channeled as the pint-sized, foul-mouthed superhero Hit-Girl in the Kick-Ass movies.

Her girlishness still comes through – Moretz laughs easily and has a fondness for the word "dude," but when talking about her career path, she's all business, articulating her professional goals with the conviction of a savvy strategist plotting a corporate takeover. When she speaks, she looks you in the eye.

Even her Twitter bio offers a message of empowerment, advising her more than 725,000 followers to "live life to the fullest and never back down."

That innate confidence, however, nearly proved a stumbling block to her landing the lead role in the Carrie remake, a new take on the Stephen King novel first brought to the screen in 1976.

The actress auditioned for nearly 11 hours before she was cast as Carrie, the bullied girl who unleashes her telekinetic powers after being drenched in pig's blood at the high school prom.

"I've lived a lot of life at a young age," Moretz said on a recent September afternoon. "I'm close to the age of the character but that doesn't mean I'm the vulnerability of the character or that I have the virgin quality that Carrie has. I had to prove my worth, basically."

Directed by Kimberly Peirce (Boys Don't Cry), the new Carrie contemporises King's tale for the age of CG effects and cyberbullying, and it arrives as a sort of commercial box office test for director and star.

It marks the first title role in a studio film for Moretz, though the actress has been steadily working to segue into more mature parts.

Her resume already includes supporting turns in Martin Scorsese's Hugo and Tim Burton's Dark Shadows, and such indie projects as Texas Killing Fields and (500) Days Of Summer.

Moretz said she was only 10 or 11 when she watched Brian DePalma's Carrie, which earned star Sissy Spacek her first Oscar nomination and ranks as one of the most thrilling movies in cinema history, according to the American Film Institute.

But the actress, who at the time was filming the moody vampire tale Let Me In, doesn't remember being especially unnerved by it.

"I was brought up in the era of Rob Zombie movies, which are terrifying," Moretz said, drawing out the syllables of "terr-i-fy-ing" to emphasise her point.

"DePalma movies are scary, but at the end of the day, it's slightly cheesy because they didn't quite have the money they have nowadays to make things look very realistic. I'm terrified of real psycho stories, not, like, I'm going to strangle you with my powers."

As in the original story, Carrie's powers in the new film arrive with the onset of menstruation.

The story opens with the shy teen – who is coping not only with a deranged single mother who routinely locks her in a prayer closet, but also the jeers of the popular crowd at school – getting her first period in the shower after gym class.

Rather than helping the sheltered girl, who has no idea what's happening to her, the other students pelt her with tampons.

Things devolve from there, leading to the prank at the prom that pushes Carrie to use her budding supernatural abilities for revenge.

To help Moretz tap into Carrie's fragile psyche, Peirce spoke to the actress for hours about her adolescent insecurities and even took her to women's shelters to talk with people who had experienced real-world hardship.

"I said to her, 'You've been working on red carpets, hanging out with Tim Burton and Martin Scorsese and that's great. You're wildly successful, but that is completely opposite of what we need,'" Peirce recalled. "'I don't want you to be the precocious girl. I want you to be the broken woman.'"

Peirce also scheduled a weeks-long intensive rehearsal period in Toronto last year just before filming began, during which time Moretz bonded with Julianne Moore, who plays Carrie's disturbed, deeply religious mother, Margaret.

"I look up to (Moore) like crazy," Moretz said. "She's a mentor to me now. There were moments where we'd just start laughing because we were doing the weirdest stuff we've ever done. We would have crazy conversations and then we'd be crying and killing each other."

Apart from Moore and actress Judy Greer, who plays Carrie's sympathetic gym teacher Miss Desjardin, the supporting cast is filled with relative newcomers including Portia Doubleday as chief mean girl Chris, British model Gabriella Wilde as the more kind-hearted Sue Snell and Ansel Elgort as her boyfriend, Tommy (Elgort already has roles booked in two anticipated adaptations of young adult novels, Divergent and The Fault In Our Stars, both set for release in 2014).

Though Moretz ranked as a veteran among the cast, she described the experience of shooting the movie as grueling and credits the presence of her mother and one of her four older brothers with helping her through the production.

"I would come home from the set just drained," Moretz said. "I would have to stay for 18 hours and just be in that mind-set of Carrie, which is the darkest, most suicidal area that you could be in. It's hard to stay there your entire day. I would look in the mirror and be, like, I don't know who I am right now."

"What was amazing to me was how much Chloë grew up," Peirce said. "I think that was extraordinary because that was my concern. I needed her to grow up, and I needed her to grow up on screen, and she just came to life."

Moretz has a theory on why she is attracted to characters who are out of the ordinary.

"I think the reason I do a lot of dark roles and I'm OK with getting to this dark stuff is because I don't have a dark life," Moretz said. "I have an incredibly normal life. I have a family that loves me. I've had an amazing childhood." – Los Angeles Times/McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.

> Carrie opens in cinemas nationwide on Nov 7.

New 'Desolation Of Smaug' visuals


Filmmaker Peter Jackson reveals seven movie character posters on social media.

AS a run-up to the highly anticipated The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug "global fan event" happening later today, New Zealand filmmaker Peter Jackson revealed seven new character posters from the movie this morning.

The posters are of Thranduil, Thorin, Gandalf, Legolas, Bilbo, Tauriel and Bard and can be seen on Jackson's Facebook page

Comments from fans prove that the visuals are pretty well received, save for a few grouses. One of the biggest complaints is that Bilbo's face has been overly "photoshopped" .

"Everyone looks great but Bilbo ... such is his life!" said one fan. "Will Ferrell, is that you?" said another, suggesting that the image resembles that of the American comedian.

New Posters from The Hobbit

The collection of seven new character posters on Peter Jackson's Facebook page.

Jackson has not responded to any of the comments, most probably because he and his team are busy preparing for the live presentation, which is happening sometime on Nov 4 – the director has yet to reveal the times – in London, New York and Los Angeles (Nov 5 in Wellington, New Zealand).

"This is how it's going to work: The 4 host cinemas will all have members of the Desolation Of Smaug cast on stage, and we'll all be satellite-linked to allow everyone to participate in a simultaneous Q&A ... as well as present a few special surprises. Additional cinemas will be set up in select locations worldwide where fans can gather and watch the events unfold live. If you can't be there in person the event will also be streamed live on the Internet," said Jackson on his Facebook page.

The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug opens in cinemas nationwide next month. — Melody L. Goh


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