When I first heard about the casting for Kimberly Pierce’s “Carrie,” I thought she was making a mistake.
Don’t get me wrong. I think Chloe Grace Moretz is very talented. The problem seemed to me to be that Moretz is someone who projects a self-confidence and a natural strength that makes her a tough fit for Carrie White, who is so insecure she’s practically transparent. In the movie “Let Me In,” it is young Kodi Smit-McPhee who plays the weak one, and Moretz is the stronger friend who teaches him how to take some control over his life. As Hit Girl, Moretz is a deadly little whirling dervish, afraid of nothing.
When I was on the set of “Kick-Ass 2” in November of last year, Moretz had just come off of this experience, and she was still mulling over the experience. She is almost always accompanied by her brother Trevor, her acting coach, and her mother, and the two of them talked candidly with me about how hard a project “Carrie” turned out to be and what an emotional experience it was. They seemed to feel that it was a very difficult thing to get right, and that Kimberly Pierce had, at the very least, a clear idea of why she wanted to tell the story again and how that story might be relevant to kids dealing with a modern type of bullying.
In the end, “Carrie” is a power fantasy. It’s a story about someone who is ignored and mistreated until they can no longer hold in the anger and the pain, and considering what’s happened in our schools in the 40 or so years since the first film came out, these are definitely ideas that are still worth discussing. It is horrible and sad and inexcusable every time someone lashes out and uses violence to settle scores, but we can’t pretend that we don’t understand some of what it is that these marginalized and broken souls are lashing out over. And maybe seeing Moretz broken is exactly what we need to see if we’re going to believe the strength she finds in herself and the anger that consumes not only her, but everyone around her as well.
I am curious. A trailer can do no more than that.
“Carrie” arrives in theaters October 2013.