Have you read the amazing book by Brian Selznick, The Invention of Hugo Cabret? If not, you totally should especially since the movie version (Hugo, rated PG) is out now. It is the story of a wily and resourceful boy named Hugo whose quest to unlock a secret automaton leads him on a wild adventure. For more about the movie, also check out the Hugo Movie Companion book also by Brian Selznick.
Chloe Moretz plays Isabelle, Hugo’s partner in crime in his adventure. You may recognize her from The Diary of a Wimpy Kid movie. Here she is to answer some of our questions. . . .
Q: Can you describe your character?
Chloe: I play a young girl named Isabelle who’s this French, Parisian, Audrey Hepburn-type, fun-loving, sweet girl who loves adventure and reading books, and she loves being smart and intelligent, and she loves big words.
Q: Are you like that too?
Chloe: Yea. I love reading. My favorite book is Wuthering Heights. I like being intelligent. I like being smart and well-spoken.
Q: Did you read The Invention of Hugo Cabret before doing the movie?
Chloe: I read it actually during filming and it’s very much like the book the way we did it. Marty (director, Martin Scorsese) definitely went heavier into the history of silent film and that whole thing to make it more like an homage to filmmaking. But yea, it’s very beautiful.
Q: Did you have to learn a special French accent to play Isabelle?
Chloe: Everyone was Parisian, but they actually chose a British accent for everyone to do because that’s like the universal continental European kind of language type thing. I had never done the British accent before then, and actually my brother, Trevor, is my acting coach. So he did the accent with me.
Q: Is it hard to memorize your lines?
Chloe: If it’s a really, really big chunk, I guess it’s not very easy, but you just have to break it up into pieces. So you learn one chunk at a time. Break it into three pieces. You learn the first chunk, the second chunk, and the third chunk, and by the time you’re done with the third chunk, you know the whole thing. I’m pretty good at memorizing lines and stuff. I’m not bad with that.
Q: Do you know how many movies you’ve been in?
Chloe: Um, probably like twenty-something. Yea, like 25 or something like that.
Q: Do you go to a regular school or do you do special schooling on set?
Chloe: I am homeschooled, but I go through an actual school. So I’m part of like an actual classroom. I have the same textbooks as my friends and stuff. Well basically, I just go through a school that is, you know, it’s just virtual. So I take the classroom to me. I do some programs on the computer and then I have textbook programs too. So like my French is a textbook and then math is a textbook, and some of the other stuff is online. But I have a tutor.
Q: Are your friends people that you’ve met through school?
Chloe: I used to go to a quote “regular” school. So that’s how I know all of them because, you know, they’ve been my friends way before I even started acting. I don’t really bring my acting career into my regular life. So it’s like I have acting Chloe and Chloe who’s just a normal 14-year-old girl. I don’t really talk about the business with my friends really because it’s a separate thing.
Q: Do you ever feel like you’re missing out on things that teens do in a “regular” school?
Chloe: I think I’m missing out on drama. So I’m actually really glad I’m not in a quote “normal” school because I get to have the best of both worlds. I’m able to travel around the world and learn things that not a lot of girls get to learn, and at the same time, I’m able to see my friends and not have to deal with the drama and the bullying at school. So it’s definitely good.
Q: What’s a typical thing you like to do with your friends when you’re home in California?
Chloe: I usually like to go shopping and, I don’t know, I go to the movies, I have sleepovers, go to parties, like birthday parties and stuff and pretty typical things. I’m pretty normal.
Q: When did you first know that you wanted to be an actress?
Chloe: Well, through my brother Trevor because he used to go to Professional Performing Arts High School in New York, and I used to hear him around the house practicing his lines. So I started memorizing his monologues in my head, and I would just start speaking them all the time to myself in my room and at school. I was like, “Mommy, this is fun. I like this. Can I do what Trev is doing?” And she was pretty hesitant at first but eventually she was like, “You know what, why not? We’ll go on a couple things. We’ll just see what happens,” and then here I am acting still.
Q: How old were you at the time?
Chloe: I was seven, or I was six. I guess she was hesitant because this business is work, and it’s not really a business made for a kid. It’s a lot of work and effort. It’s an extracurricular. You know, it’s no different than me doing tennis. It’s no different than me doing gymnastics and ballet which I also did alongside my acting.
Q: What about when you really want a part and someone else gets it?
Chloe: You just move on, you know? You get over it. You make a new start, and you go, “You know what? If God wanted me to have that role, I would have had it.” And with me it’s just always been like one door closes, and another one even better opens. It’s the way things work.
Q: Are you planning to continue acting in the future?
Chloe: I hope to make acting my career for the rest of my life, but you never know. I hope that I keep on the same path, and if I stay a well-rounded, young girl then I’ll be able to keep acting. Otherwise, my mom won’t allow me if I’m not. [Laughter.]
Interview by Sarah Brian
Images courtesy of Paramount Pictures