Originally posted Friday, February 22, 2019 by RODNEY HOemail@example.com on his AJC Radio & TV Talk blog
When the word “stalker” comes up, the image tends to be of a white male, of the “You” or “Dirty John” variety.
The thriller “Greta,” out Friday, March 1, upends such preconceptions.
The stalker is instead a 60-something female widow who lives in a quaint New York City home and speaks in a soft-spoken French accent. Acclaimed French actress Isabelle Hubbert, 65, plays Greta Hideg with equal parts empathy, loneliness and menace.
Atlanta native Chloë Grace Moretz, 22, plays Frances McMullen, a naive woman fresh out of college grieving her dead mom while living with her best friend Erica (Maika Monroe) in New York City.
She befriends Greta and at first, their relationship seems touching and relatable but quickly takes a turn into creepiness.
“I love how this film subverts the genre,” said Moretz in a recent phone interview.
The three primary leads are all women. There is nary a boyfriend or love interest in sight. (Bechdel test? Passed.) Male characters are ancillary at best.
“It’s exciting to take something that feels new but also feels like something you’ve grown up with and know quite well,” said Moretz, who has done her fair share of horror and thriller films over the years including remakes of “The Amityville Horror” (2005) and “Carrie.” (2013).
“Greta” isn’t quite so gory as those films but, as Moretz said, “at its core, it’s about heartbreak and loss and what happens if someone opens up for potential darkness. How dark will they go?”
Moretz grew up in metro Atlanta as a young child before moving to New York. (To this day, she still visits family in Rome.) At the time in the early 2000s, her older brother Trevor was in a performing arts school and she quickly showed off a skill for memorizing whatever scripted dialogue he had before she could even read. She quickly got into acting.
Over the past 14 years, she has had steady work in films such as “Kick-Ass,” “Dark Shadows” and “If I Stay.”
“Greta” is her first lead role in which she plays an adult and is part of a trifecta of films she did after taking a hiatus to reassess her life.
“I needed to take a step back,” Moretz said. “I read. I listened to things. I tried to glean inspiration from around me and get to what I was feeling in my own heart. I wasn’t really adequately giving myself the attention I needed. I needed to sit in uncomfortable silence and be comfortable with myself.”
While “Greta” opens like a quiet, indie film before it turns into a dark thriller, her other 2018 starring role was in an actual indie film: “The Miseducation of Cameron Post” where she played a teen placed in a gay conversion camp.
“‘Greta’ is the film that is the most mainstream,” she said, “the one that can really get the most people out to the cinema to see it. It’s a progressive story that pushes a modern narrative. While it’s a commercial thriller, I feel I was able to stay true to myself.”
Also getting to go toe to toe with Hubbert, an actress with more than 120 films to her name, was a treat, she said.
“It was exciting and inspiring,” she said. “We had a fun time doing our scenes. We never stopped laughing, even when it got pretty raucous.”
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