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Neighbors 2 star Chloe Grace Moretz on Friday urged her critics, including Twitter trolls, to stop misjudging her as a celebrity.
“Obviously I’m put on a pedestal and seen above all. But I think every person’s story is true to themselves,” Moretz told a press conference at the Toronto Film Festival for Brain on Fire, the adaptation of Susannah Cahalan’s best-selling memoir produced by Charlize Theron.
“It’s hard to have someone pick apart everything you say. That’s why this movie will hopefully crack people’s minds open and tell them to stop just judging and taking someone for something they’re not, when you don’t even know who they are,” Moretz added.
The indie has the Hollywood actress playing a New York Post journalist experiencing an autoimmune disorder that masquerades as madness. Recreating the real-life role was complicated by Cahalan’s memory of her mystery illness being largely erased.
“So I actually had to use the skills of a journalist, which I am by trade, to uncover a lot of that time, by relying on other people’s recollections,” Cahalan told reporters. For Moretz, playing a character whose body attacks her mind taught her the perils of incorrectly labeling people, especially when they are misdiagnosed as mentally ill.
“Not everything is at it looks. You can’t just point a finger at a person, you have to look deeply into who they are, the whole person,” she said. Moretz’s character faces an illness that starts with seizures and hearing voices, before turning into outright insanity.
That called for the actress to go beyond her emotional bounds during certain scenes shot by director Gerard Barrett (Glassland), including one where Cahalan’s character breaks down in the New York Post newsroom. “We would finish a take and look at each other, like what did we just do,” Moretz said of her collaboration with Barrett.
“It’s almost like a blackout. It’s as hysterical as it looks. You have to throw yourself into a state of psychosis. It’s kind of terrifying,” she recalled. Barrett said his indie, besides being about mislabeling, is also a call to reduce our dependence on medication to treat illness.
“A pill isn’t the answer for everything. And they like their pills in America,” the Irish director told reporters.
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