Asa Butterfield and Chloe Grace Moretz in 'Hugo' (Photo: Jaap Buitendijk/Paramount Pictures)
Some actors wait their entire lives to work with Martin Scorsese. Chloe Grace Moretz, though, did not have to wait that long. After breakout performances in "Kick-Ass" and "Let Me In," the young actress scored one of the lead role in Scorsese's "Hugo." Moretz and fellow young actor Asa Butterfield headlined a cast that featured distinguished British actors Sir Ben Kingsley, Emily Mortimer and Sacha Baron Cohen, and the film took home five Academy Awards.
With "Hugo" now available on DVD and Blu-ray, I was able to speak to Moretz about getting cast in Scorsese's film, how she handled speaking with a British accent, and her next big challenge -- learning to drive.
Matt McDaniel: Congratulations on the five Oscar wins for "Hugo." How was the whole awards season for you? Was it tough?
Chloe Grace Moretz: It was interesting. It was my first award season, so it's basically just like doing a press tour, but it just multiplied with bigger and crazier people.
MM: And nicer clothes.
MM: When you're at these big award show events, do you still get starstruck by the people you meet?
CGM: Oh, yeah, of course! I mean, I met Clint Eastwood and Leonardo DiCaprio and some really cool people, and I was just like, "Oh my gosh, this is so awesome!"
MM: Was there any disappointment that out of all those nominations, "Hugo" didn't get any in the acting categories? Particularly for Ben Kingsley who was so fantastic
CGM: I think Ben did a phenomenal job and I definitely think he should have been nominated. But I'm really happy how everything turned out. We've got [five] awards and I'm very proud of that.
[Photos: Chloe Grace Moretz on the red carpet]
MM: Can you describe what your first meeting with Martin Scorsese was like?
CGM: First I sent in an audition. My brother and I taped an audition for him and we sent it in, and he called me back -- well, they called us back the next day and flew us into New York to chemistry read opposite Asa [Butterfield].
And so, we went in. We chemistry read off of Asa, and that's where I first met Asa and I first met Marty. So we walked into a big screening room, which is in his offices at the DGA. And it was a rainy day in New York. It was cold, and I was just like, "Oh my gosh, I'm terrified."
The minute I went in and the minute I met Marty, the first thing he said to me was, "Hey, call me Marty, kid." And immediately, right off the bat, he was a really, really nice guy. So, he immediately made us feel very welcomed and he was very inviting, so we did a really great performance and then that weekend, they called and gave us the role.
MM: Was the process of making "Hugo" different from your previous films you had worked on? Not just working with Scorsese, but being on such a huge set and filming with the 3D cameras?
CGM: In so many ways, this movie was different the biggest project I've ever done, and it's with a huge director and huge actors. It was incredibly exciting, but terrifying at the same time. Yet everyone on the set was so nice, and so sweet, and everyone was just happy to be there in working on such a great movie that we all got along perfectly and really well.
And so, we had a great time doing the movie and I got to work with Sir Ben Kingsley, Asa Butterfield, Bob Richardson and these amazing, amazing people. Actors, cinematographer, the director, everyone. And so, all went out a really fun experience.
MM: Can you tell me about working with Sacha Baron Cohen? He's such a wildcard. When he's out in public, you never know who he's going to be, so what is he like on the set?
CGM: He's such a gentleman, and he's such a normal, down-to-earth, very British man. So, it was really funny meeting him because I was like, "I wonder if he's anything like his characters?" But then when you meet him, you realize he's just another guy. He's just another actor.
[Video: 'Hugo' trailers and clips]
MM: In the film you're surrounded by a lot of British actors, and you do a British accent in the films. What was your training process like for the accent?
CGM: My brother Trevor and I created the accent together, and he's my acting coach and my dialect coach, and my brother -- and basically everything. [Laughs] So, he and I created the character and the accent together, so it was a pretty cool little thing we did.
MM: How long did that process take?
CGM: Well, we did the audition in the British accent, so it was not that hard because we had always fooled around with accents when we were playing for different characters and stuff. I pick up accents pretty well, and he's an amazing, amazing coach. So, it just happened really quickly and easily, and it just all went down really well.
MM: You worked with Asa Butterfield, who has been in some films, just not quite as many as you. What was your working relationship with him?
CGM: Asa is like my younger brother in a way. I mean, he is only a month younger than me, but I definitely always joke with him about how young he is compared to me, which is not that young. We're basically the same age. But he was an amazing actor and an amazing guy, and he just immediately took up everything on the set and soaked it up, and he was just amazing. And for doing a lead role in a Martin Scorsese movie, that's pretty hard.
MM: You recently had your birthday, didn't you?
CGM: I did, February 10th.
MM: Well, happy birthday! You're 15 now. Do you have Driver's Ed starting soon?
CGM: Yeah, in August, I get to try and get my permit, so pretty soon.
MM: Have you been practicing?
CGM: I have been practicing a little bit. I tried to drive my mom's stick a little while ago. That didn't really [go] well. I think I conked out the car four times.
MM: Was there a piece of direction that you've got from Scorsese that kind of stuck with you and you've taken with you on your subsequent films?
CGM: Yeah, I mean, of course. Working with Marty was a monumental thing in my career and it always will be. I went straight from Marty to do "Dark Shadows" with Tim Burton and it was pretty crazy to be able to say, "Yeah, I'm wrapping up 'Hugo' with Martin Scorsese and I'm about to go do 'Dark Shadows' with Tim Burton." It was a very surreal, surreal thing to be able to say that.
MM: Everybody's very curious about Dark Shadows certainly. Is there anything you can tell us about the character you play?
CGM: I can't say anything actually, but my character has a very interesting moment in the movie that I'm sure you'll all be very surprised.
MM: And how was Tim Burton's style unique and different from other directors?
CGM: Tim is so hands-on and straightforward, and he's so collaborative. He's one of the most collaborative directors I've ever worked with. If I had the chance, I would work with him in literally every movie I have to do, because he's just -- he's an amazing guy and an amazing director, and he just makes every day on set the best days, and you're so happy to be there with him.
MM: After Scorsese and Burton, who's left? Who's out there that you still want to work with?
CGM: There are so many people, Clint Eastwood and Spielberg and Darren Aronofsky. There are so many directors out there that I'd die to work with.
MM: "Hugo" in theater was such an incredible experience, especially how the 3D was so well used. Is there any worry that part of the experience of the movie will be lost by watching it on your own TV?
CGM: No, I mean, you'll still totally get the idea of the dreams, and the imaginative area of it will still be there. But of course, that 3D element is pretty amazing.
But with the discs, you have a three-disc set and I think there are three or four hours of behind-the-scenes footage. So, it's a really, really special DVD, and you'll get more than you saw on the screen. You'll get to meet us and see who we are.
"Hugo" is available on Blu-ray and DVD now. Watch an exclusive clip from the bonus features below.
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