The 'Kickass' star opened up about her experience of working with older men as a child actor and said she her ideas were repeatedly 'shot down.'
Chloë Grace Moretz, now 25, has been acting professionally since she was just four years old. Despite the fact she had been acting for nearly a decade by the time she was 12 and on the set of Kickass as the ruthless Hit-Girl, Moretz said she felt infantilized on sets by older men and that her ideas were frequently “shot down.”
“It was always odd from my first leading role when I was 14 in Carrie… it was always really interesting to see who would be really unhappy with a young woman,” Moretz explained on an episode of the Reign with Josh Smith podcast.
“At that point, I had already worked for so many years — almost 10 years — and as I continued through having more important roles on set as I grew up, it was always very interesting to see the pushback that I would get from a lot of people.”
And by “a lot of people” she means “men.” The Suspiria star continued: “The majority of it was older men for sure who would infantilize me. If I had real things to bring to the table, a lot of the time it would get shot down.” She went on to explain that there was often a “power struggle” on set even when she was the lead actor.
“I felt like I was always really fighting against trying to figure out how to conduct myself in a way that I'll be respected, so I can be respected on set and given the credit that I felt that I deserved,” she said.
And, as a teen at the time, it was wild to Moretz that she was put in a position where she was her only advocate. “Having to even advocate to an older man on behalf of your 14, 15, 16-year-old self is a really, really crazy kind of mind f—k,” she noted.
Like many girls and young women, Moretz learned to be “very sweet” and “back-footed” while approaching men with her creative input.
“It taught me how to propose questions and in a way to make the ideas their ideas, so then it would come back around and be like, ‘Oh my god, what a novel idea that you have on behalf of my character that I totally did not propose to you in no special way,’” she said. Moretz went on to explain that her new skill of people-pleasing leaked into other areas of her life and that it lead to “anxiety and guilt.”
“I always operated for a long time under this guise of what I wanted to achieve outwardly. … Even just in my small groups in my life and people around me, I was just people-pleasing.”
Moretz’s comments go to show that no matter how successful or famous you might be at a young age, you are still just that — young. The sexist and ageist B.S. Moretz had to go through as a child actor is unfortunately not surprising. Thankfully, it does seem like Moretz has been able to learn and grow from it, and hopefully, by sharing her story, help prevent other girls with creative and powerful ideas from feeling like they have to make themselves small to be heard.