When a passion for the form is at the core of your directorial philosophy, as is the case with Martin Scorsese, watching is just as important as creating. It’s something Chloë Grace Moretz learned when she was just a tween, starring in Scorsese’s 2011 film Hugo. In an exclusive interview with The A.V. Club’s own Jack Smart, The Peripheral star recalls Hugo’s road to fruition, which she says began with a movie ultramarathon courtesy of Scorsese.
“He is such a cinephile, and he really imparted that knowledge to me, just in the time that I got to spend with him,” Moretz explains. “One of the first things he did when I showed up to start preproduction is he had a big box dropped off, and it had probably 25, 30 movies in it. And he was like, ‘Before we start production, you have to watch all of these.’”
Moretz continues on to share that her co-star Asa Butterfield also received a box of films, although Scorsese chose different films for Butterfield than he did for Moretz. After the duo studied up, Moretz says Scorsese would “basically pop quiz” them on it.
“He’d be like, ‘So, what do you think about this? What do you think about that?’ He really got our muscles flexing,” Moretz reveals.
According to Moretz, working with someone as genuine as Scorsese was an enormous treat as a tween. They even sang karaoke together during filming, sitting on the floor together for an impromptu Christmas dinner. In her own words, the director is “just so cool.”
“[He has] more pep in his step than any other director I’ve worked with,” Moretz gushes. “He was gung-ho every day—more so than, like, us as kids. And at the age of 11, 12 years old, that is an absolute dream—with someone who, to me, was so much so an adult and had been around for so long, talking to children.”
“He treated us as equals, and he really allowed us to have a conversation and cared about our opinions on the projects that he showed us,” Moretz concludes.
You can check out Moretz’s entire Random Roles interview here.