We’re not going to presume that we can pinpoint the exact moment at which a promising young actress is suddenly considered “mainstream”: In the case of 15-year-old Chloe Moretz, she appeared on different people’s radars at different times. However, the news that she and Rupert Grint have been cast in the music biopic The Drummer only further supports the fact that this year Chloe is finally getting the attention she deserves.
The Drummer follows Beach Boys drummer Dennis Wilson in the final years of his life before his death in 1983. Chloe will play Wilson’s (Aaron Eckhart) eldest daughter Jennifer; previously announced is Vera Farmiga as Wilson’s girlfriend. She ultimately left him because she couldn’t handle his alcohol addiction; it was his alcoholism that contributed to his death, as he drowned in a marina while trying to retrieve lost items from his yacht.
Rupert Grint plays William Morris mail room intern Stan Shapiro, who befriended Wilson in the final years of his life. It sounds like this film will attempt to be uplifting, with a young kid showing the older, depressed former star how to appreciate the small things.
Most of us first met Chloe when she played the filthy-mouthed, pint-size superhero Hit-Girl in 2010′s gory, insanely funny Kick-Ass. In the intervening years, she appeared in comedy shorts, TV cameos, and other movies in that same mold: A sweet-seeming girl who’s as shrewd and sassy as any adult she goes up against.
In fact, her recent return to 30 Rock encapsulates this kind of character. As Jack Donaghy’s “nemesis” Kaylie Hooper, she manipulates Alec Baldwin into getting distracted by the minutiae of her New York City teenager life, while plotting against him. This is the best video I could find, but even as just a one-liner it’s fantastic:
However, there’s a difference between those roles and the ones she has now. Audiences are coming to regard her not as a punchline but as a young actress who brings pathos and humor to roles. Her upcoming projects have her playing a plucky kid who survives in the woods and a wisecracking girl who helps a grieving architect heal. Plus a few comedic roles in Dark Shadows and Movie 43 because she shouldn’t disregard her strengths.
Chloe has kindred spirits in Dakota Fanning and Mad Men‘s Kiernan Shipka: All three are emerging actresses who got their start in supporting roles on shows that starred adults. We can’t help but draw comparisons to the Disney and Nickelodeon crowd, who — excepting talented folks like Miranda Cosgrove – started their careers with mediocre starring roles on shows where the adults are doofuses. It seems like the former formula is the one that’s more effective.
Plus, we were right about Rupert, weren’t we, when we named him one of our up-and-coming Crushable 25 men? We said that he’d have to line up some exciting post-Harry Potter projects, and he’s proven that he has a plan beyond the wizard franchise.