CATEGORIES Hot Topic

Throughout the history of provocative kid actor performances -- see Jodie Foster in 'Taxi Driver' or Natalie Portman in 'The Professional' -- no matter how high the praise or raucous the audience applause, there are always a few easily-offended types making noise about protests, appropriateness, etc.

The latest incendiary is young actress Chloë Moretz's scene-stealing portrayal of child vigilante/superhero Hit Girl in the violent, twisted and hilarious 'Kick-Ass.'

Throughout the history of provocative kid actor performances -- see Jodie Foster in 'Taxi Driver' or Natalie Portman in 'The Professional' -- no matter how high the praise or raucous the audience applause, there are always a few easily-offended types making noise about protests, appropriateness, etc.

The latest incendiary is young actress Chloë Moretz's scene-stealing portrayal of child vigilante/superhero Hit Girl in the violent, twisted and hilarious 'Kick-Ass.'

The film, which is based on the comic of the same name, revolves around Average Joe high-schooler Dave Lizewski (Aaron Johnson), a fanboy who decides to become a superhero on his own. He suits up and conjures up the catchy moniker Kick-Ass, but soon realizes the petty crooks in NYC are not so petty, especially since he has no powers, training or skill. Enter highly-trained father-daughter crime-fighters Big Daddy (Nicolas Cage) and Hit Girl (Moretz), who not only save Kick-Ass from a violent end, but have been slowly taking out baddies in the local crime ring, led by Frank D'Amico (Mark Strong).

The buzz around 'Kick-Ass' has been building since footage debuted at last year's San Diego Comic Con, but the rumblings didn't get protest-y until the Red Band trailer and a certain "C-word" hit the Interwebs. The specific line in question -- uttered by Hit Girl after a fantastically grand/violent entrance in which she slices and dices her way through several torsos and other assorted body parts -- "Okay you c***s, let's see what you can do" -- has reportedly angered some parent groups, who are now threatening to protest the film.

"It's a disturbing step into the perverse, reveling in the corruption of an 11-year-old girl," Focus on the Family's Deb Sorensen told Australia's Herald Sun. "It's different from any other superhero film which focuses on good triumphing over evil." (While the film is rated "R" in the U.S., it's "MA-15" in Australia, meaning 16-year-olds can see it without parental accompaniment.)

Entertainment Weekly's Adam Markovitz isn't surprised about more potential parental group grumblings, which will likely increase after the film opens in theaters April 16. "Some people have very strong beliefs about what kids should and shouldn't be asked to do," he says. "Even within the context of a movie ... It's a little girl swearing and stabbing through the head and that's bound to create controversy."

Moretz, now 13, says both she and her parents -- who read scripts and make decisions on roles together -- knew exactly what they were getting into with Hit Girl, described in the comic as "John Rambo meets Polly Pocket" and "Dakota Fanning crossed with Death Wish 4."

"Basically everything that's in the movie was in the script," she told Moviefone last weekend at WonderCon in San Francisco. "I probably didn't ad-lib anything. It was all very methodical. It was a lot of fun."


The young star, who has been in other non-violent, family-friendly films ('500 Days of Summer,' 'Diary of a Wimpy Kid'), is almost indifferent about all the talk of violence and bad language. She considers the character and the film more "action" than inappropriate, anyway. "I've definitely done a bunch of different edgy stuff," she says. "But I've never been in an action film before. It's my first action film."

Moviefone asked Moretz if she'd be allowed to see this movie if she weren't in it. "No," Moretz says. "I'm only allowed PG-13. And only cause I just turned 13. Whole new realm of movies for me."

Regarding the effects the controversy and possible parental protests might have on box office numbers, Markovitz thinks it's a non-issue. "The people who are going to be offended by Hit Girl's character are not the type of people who would want to see it anyway," he says, adding that director Matthew Vaughn has relayed a similar message. "It's not just that Hit Girl is violent, the whole movie is incredibly violent and filled with bad language. If you're offended by that, this is not going to be your piece of cake, period. It's not like they're slipping that character into a Disney movie."

Co-screenwriter (and mother) Jane Goldman recently told the UK's Guardian that she finds the buzz about the "C-word" baffling, and that Chloe is very aware/able to differentiate between the character of Hit Girl and how she'd behave in real life. "She's said before, she'd be 'grounded forever' if she spoke like that, it's Hit Girl's character. She's an actress, she's a professional young woman ... Personally I would have had more issue with the violence than the language. It's only words, isn't it?"