Bloody Disgusting’s Lonmonster is on the scene at the New York Comic-Con taking the horror scene by storm. He’s now back with interviews with the cast of Sony Screen Gems’ Carrie, which stars Chloë Grace Moretz as the title character.
Following Saturday’s panel he sat down with director Kimberly Peirce along with producer Kevin Misher, and stars Chloe Moretz and Julianne Moore.
“A reimagining of the classic horror tale about Carrie White (Chloë Grace Moretz), a shy girl outcast by her peers and sheltered by her deeply religious mother (Julianne Moore), who unleashes telekinetic terror on her small town after being pushed too far at her senior prom.” Brian De Palma’s 1976 film version of Carrie earned Oscar nominations for stars Sissy Spacek and Piper Laurie.
“You will know her name.” The blood spills in theaters March 15, 2013.
When did you see the original?
“I saw it when I was 13 or 14, and I love it. It’s a very beautiful film, it’s very theatrical, a big movie. I hadn’t read the novel until I booked the part, and that’s when I really fell in love with it. Every day on set, for every scene I compared script to book and I wrote down all my notes for the character, and I would look at what Stephen King did. I melded the two together and created a collaboration between the two.”
You’ve worked in genre cinema, what attracts you to this kind of film?
“I don’t like playing really light characters, characters like me. I have a good life, a great family, a supportive mother, so that stuff is really boring for me. I want a role that will stretch me, that will make me express feelings I’ve never felt before. I want to be on the tip of my game. That’s really what makes me want to do something the most. It just happens to fall in the darker region.”
Carrie is almost a timeless tale, what struck you about the novel?
“I found it amazing, the dimensions that go along with Carrie. In the book she doesn’t just want to hurt people for the sake of it. She’s put down by everyone around her, and her mother is the person she loves the most. That’s the main person in her life that tells her no, the person who says you’ll never amount to anything. And you realize this all comes from her past, and why she had Carrie, and her guilt. In this film, we obviously don’t got to Maragret’s childhood but you get more a sense of what happened. In the scene where they are hugging and she tells Carrie all the stuff that happened to her, that’s when she stabs her. The script only tells you so much, and I wanted to read the book because it adds another layer to the character.”
In the original film Carrie is a victim, more so than in the book. Where does your character fall?
“In the middle. She’s not naïve to the point that she’s stupid, she understand everything that’s going on around her. She grows stronger and harder, then it breaks at the prom. Everything she’s kept contained, from her mother, her peers, her teachers, everyone around her, it all unfolds. The telekinesis takes whatever she is feeling and multiplies it by a thousand, and that’s what comes out.”
Did having a female director make a difference?
“Completely. Having a female director brought such a maternal aspect to the movie. Working with Kim, I was able to connect with her on a personal level on what she’s been through in her life. We created such an amazing bond, I felt so safe and comfortable to do whatever I had to do. She put me in a position where I have never felt so secure. Carrie is such an insecure character, so I had to take everything I’ve been given and my opportunities and I had to strip it away. I had to bring out my insecurities.”
In the promo, you’re covered in blood outside?
“There is the gymnasium, that happens, but then I have to go home. That still photo was taken outside the house, on the way home. With our film, it shows the arc of the full telekinetic powers. At the gymnasium it was just growing, then it escalates, then by the time she’s home it comes full circle. This girl who starts off not wanting to be in her mother’s arms, by the end of the movie all she wants to do is be in her mother’s arms. Being in the blood was also really fun and crazy.”
With the idea of a female director on this film, which was written by Stephen King, how did you perceive the story?
“Let’s just say as a director. My femaleness comes and goes, men and women all direct from the same place. You know the story of him working as a janitor and finding the bloody tampon. Then he wrote the story about that. But that really shows a lot of fear around a tampon. So that makes sense that a man would have that fear, and then he created a brilliant, archetypical story from that. So I can see why that would be scary, but given my experiences, I get that stuff. But then you have the relationship between mother and daughter. So, not saying only a woman can do this, because obviously a man can do it well.”
How did you choose to cast Carrie, was age a factor?
“I don’t think actors have to be limited by age, but there is something about youth that is hard to capture. Chloe has that – look at her – it’s undeniable. She’s a brilliant actor. The thing I look for is that the camera just eats them up, and that they understand the camera. The camera just loves that face. Her confidence was the biggest challenge to me doing this whole thing. I was like Carrie has no confidence; she’s beaten by her mother. I was like, you have to lose that confidence, the childishness, and we have to have a need for rebellion. You just get in there and take a sledgehammer and you say this is you, this is the character and you have to crack that. And that kid is a worker, she’ll do anything and that’s what great performance is born from, a love of the craft and relentless giving.
This is the first time you’ve done a straight horror film, what was it like to work within the genre?
“My other films are cousins of horror, but it was so fantastic. It begin the cousin, the structure is the same, I still want you to be terrified, I still want you to be affected, viscerally by everything, I still want you to dream, but there is a more obvious fun. When the mother is beating up the daughter I don’t want you to feel bad, I want you to say do that again! There’s a moment where Maragret hits Carrie with a bible and every time we show that everyone is like, “wow.” It’s about figuring out where the pleasure centers are and pushing them. When Carrie’s mother is coming out with a knife, you gotta go to a big angle with the knife at the top of the frame. Whenever I was able to embrace genre, the movie just loved it.”
The end of the original film is one of the most famous endings anywhere; did you feel the pressure to live up to it?
“Brian came up to me and was like so what are you going to do about that end scare? Of course it’s on my mind! You can’t try to duplicate something that is so unique and so brilliant and that revolutionized cinema. I think you do something different, you make sure your movie fires on all cylinders as much as it can.”
Who is your Maragret?
“Stephen King is very specific about her and her back story. What interested me about her was how isolated she was. When she got pregnant she thought she had cancer, and her husband had died. So here’s a woman who’s had several psychotic breaks, and has a man who dies, and then is left with this child. This is her only relationship. So starting there helped me put into context what she was.”
What were some of the challenges of playing such deep psychological issues?
“You have to make it entertaining too. It’s a beloved film and was seminal for me as an adolescent. We wanted to make it believable and scary and moving. The book was really most important to me. She’s so crazy, and she’s miserable. Kim kept asking if there was a place where she was happy, but not she’s not happy!”
There were some changes that had to be made to the character?
“In terms of the violence, there was random hitting and that doesn’t make sense. In the film, it’s integrated in a different way. There is more intentionality to it, it’s not random, it’s abusive, but not random.”
Did you have to ask Stephen King about it?
“We’re going to show the film to him. I think King takes a respectful, hands-off approach. I think he’s going to love it because we definitely were more adherent to the book than the original film was. The book was the bible.”
What rating are you aiming for?
“We’re an R-rating. There was a discussion about the rating, but when you consider the sub-theme, you say you have to deal with an R rating.
“We deal with the argument that it’s more profitable to do PG-13, I always think, Matrix did really well, it’s hard R. Paranormal Activity is R-rated and did very well for being an R-rated movie. A movie has to sit comfortably in the genre that it lives in, and if we tried to make this PG-13, everyone would cry bullshit. Does profitability factor into the discussion? Absolutely.
“We’re aspiring toward the higher end of the King movies, [like] Stand by Me and Shawshank Redemption. Personally, I had Silence of the Lambs in my mind that was sort of the aspiration and goal in terms of creating a movie with emotional weight and still being scary.”
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