LOS ANGELES Chloë Grace Moretz has 48 acting credits, a remarkable number considering the Atlanta native is only 16 years old.
Her latest addition to the ever-growing résumé is the remake of the 1976 horror classic "Carrie," where Moretz takes on the role of the bloody prom queen.
Being so busy has meant Moretz is home-schooled. But she hasn't had to walk the halls to understand the message of bullying that's at the heart of the Stephen King tale.
"This is extreme, but I have seen it where anyone who has a different kind of lifestyle can get bullied," Moretz says. "Because I don't go to a regular school, I haven't had to deal with the hate and the ostracizing that happens as a teenager. It's terrifying. I have had to deal with it being an actor when kids don't understand me and become jealous of what I do. I think that everyone in their life has dealt with that. I think it would be silly for them to say they haven't."
Moretz is a mass of confidence. She shakes hands like a billionaire who's just closed the biggest deal of his life, talks with the enthusiasm of a carnival barker and has the energy of a Red Bull taste tester.
Her confident nature almost got in the way of her landing the role of Carrie. Director Kimberly Peirce was concerned about whether Moretz could show the lack of confidence, uncertainty and insecurity needed to play the social outcast.
It took weeks of work by the director and the actor that included trips to homeless shelters and late-night Skype conversations for Moretz to finally find the right emotional tone.
"Within the first 30 minutes of our first meeting, I was crying and she was directing my emotions," Moretz says. "I had been through a lot in my life but there were a lot of emotions in my life I hadn't dealt with. I put them in a little box and put them away. She unlocked this Pandora's Box of emotions. By the end of the movie, I became such an adult, because I dealt with every vulnerability I had ever had in such an upfront matter."
Once she got on set, there was more help. Almost every actor playing a high school senior was older than he or she was playing. That meant Moretz didn't have much in common with them, which helped her feel the disconnect with the group that Carrie feels in high school.
"Every single day, Carrie never had a day off. Carrie never had a moment where she wasn't feeling something that was incredibly emotional," Moretz says. "She was going through this emotional span, and I had to be there for her."
In one way, Moretz could relate to Carrie. As an actress, she has to put herself out there, knowing she could fail. The difference, says Moretz, is that she's far less timid than Carrie, and that means she's willing to take a chance.
"As an actor, if you aren't willing to take on a role, you're never going to be confident enough to do it. So, they should give it to the next person," Moretz says. "If you don't feel comfortable and confident in your character, you are never going to do it justice."
TV and movie critic Rick Bentley can be reached at (559) 441-6355, firstname.lastname@example.org or @RickBentley1 on Twitter. Read his blog at fresnobeehive.com.