‘Emily the Strange’ creator ‘blown away’ by Hit-Girl Chloe Moretz

Sept. 24, 2010 | 6:00 p.m.

Chloe Moretz (Brian van der Brug/Los Angeles Times)

Expect to see a whole lot more of  that already ubiquitous raven haired teen with the trademark bangs. News broke Thursday that Chloe Moretz, the 13-year-old actress best known for playing the foul-mouthed, gun-wielding Hit-Girl in “Kick-Ass,” will bring another comic-book odd girl to the screen — Universal Pictures has acquired the rights to the Dark Horse series “Emily the Strange,” about a black-haired, 13-year-old girl with an entourage of dark kitties and a penchant for the peculiar.

But Emily will be brought to life on stage as well as on screen; the Universal announcement comes as Emily’s creative managers at Cosmic Debris are teaming up with Virgin Records to give the music-loving rebel child a voice of her own in a multi-platform music project that will likely include an album, online music videos and even live performances.

Emily, who came into the world as a skateboard design before evolving into a comic book character, already has her own Dark Horse series, a slate of teen novels published by HarperCollins, a Nintendo DS game coming out this Christmas and an array of merchandise sold online and at the likes of Hot Topic.

“I feel more and more everyday that this vision of mine that’s been strictly two-dimensional and imaginary in terms of prose and words is coming to life, in terms of music videos and in picturing an actor embodying the part of Emily,” said Rob Reger, Emily’s creator. “All parts are equally exciting to me, but knowing someone who can play the part of Emily is just another really amazing part, to me, of bringing her character to life.”

Kodi Smit-McPhee, left, and Chloe Grace Moretz are shown in a scene from "Let Me In." (Saeed Adyani / Overture Films)

Moretz is no stranger to eerie and quirky roles; she next plays a vampire child in the upcoming “Let Me In.” Emily’s a loner girl who attends Rock ‘n’ Roll High, invents cloning machines and invites dead geniuses over for tea.

“[Moretz] is awesome,” Reger said. “From the moment I met her, I could tell she’s very genuine. Her enthusiasm for Emily and the project was contagious. Her family and everyone around her were very enthusiastic about it. From her films and from hanging out with her, it’s clear that she can play a very cool and sneaky character. She’s very adventurous.”

Reger and Moretz met at San Diego’s Comic-Con International, where Moretz was tramping the aisles, wearing a cat mask.

“Some people would recognize her but they weren’t sure,” Reger said. “It was fun. It was quirky. She gets it. She’s still a kid like Emily and having fun and clearly enjoying her opportunities and jobs.”

Reger will serve as executive producer of the film, alongside Keith Goldberg of Dark Horse Entertainment. DHE president and founder Mike Richardson will produce.

Reger said he hoped filming would begin soon.

Chloe Moretz as Hit-Girl. (Lionsgate)

“I think Chloe’s just the right age right now, and perfect for the part right now,” he said. “We found our Emily. She’s completely psyched. She can’t wait to get on this.”

Meanwhile, Reger has his hands full working with Virgin Records on a separate project that would give music-loving Emily a microphone. Emily makes her own instruments and blogs about what vinyl she’s listening to. Her comics feature nods to music idols and interviews with real-life artists, like Marilyn Manson, Karen O and Gerard Way.

“Music in general has always been a huge part of Emily’s world,” Reger said. “We were brainstorming one day, and somebody said, ‘Why don’t we take her and actually do a recording with her being the singer?’… This is the coolest next step, actually doing it rather than commenting on it or talking about it.”

Reger and Virgin Records president Rob Stevenson were tight-lipped about the specifics, but said Emily’s musical debut will likely straddle several mediums: teasers on HearStrangeMusic.com, an album accompanied by a comic book and, eventually, live performances.

Virgin has some experience coupling fictional characters with real music; the label has enjoyed great success with The Gorillaz — a music project created by Damon Albarn featuring four animated band members.

And Emily is certainly not the first musically-inclined comic book character to be brought to life; Archie spin-offs Josie and the Pussycats hit the big screen and music store shelves in 2001. More recently, “Sex Bob-Omb” and “The Clash at Demonhead” – bands from Bryan Lee O’Malley’s “Scott Pilgrim” series — made their big-screen debuts this summer.

But while the Scott Pilgrim bunch were voiced by successful artists (Beck and Metric) with distinctive, recognizable sounds, Emily’s voice won’t be tied to any particular artist, Reger said.

Emily the Strange rocks out.

“It can’t be somebody else’s. It has to be hers,” Stevenson said. “We’re not really looking for someone who’s already established as an artist themselves for that very reason. I personally would not want anyone listening to Emily the Strange and thinking, oh, that’s Karen O.”

Though Reger and Stevenson said they’re not ready to divulge how Emily’s voice will sound, they said her lyrical philosophy will echo themes from her books.

“She’s a very sarcastic, dry-witted, intelligent girl, so that is a part of the essence of her voice,” Reger said. “I hope to create music that will not only entertain and stoke out the current Emily fans, be it the goth ones or the emo ones or whatever, but at the same time, really create something that is bigger than a genre, create something that’s more in line with what Emily is. … Her explorations are probably more in line with science and the likes of our top world geniuses than they are with rock ‘n’ roll stars.”

And though influenced by some of her favorite rock ‘n’ roll, punk, riot grrrl and jazz artists, Emily’s brand of music will lean a little more to the bizarre.

“Scraping of rocks on the ground and putting a microphone on a horse’s tail and all that fun stuff,” Reger said. “I don’t think that you know what to expect. It’s going to be fun. There will be some upbeat stuff in there. There’s going to definitely be nods to all those genres that we know Emily loves and that Emily’s fans love, and there will be an element of strange. I don’t think we’re going to get away without having some theremin or something in some of these songs.”

Eerie though some of it may be, Emily’s music has the potential to appeal to the masses as well as the fringe, Stevenson said.

“Everything I’ve seen from Emily is that she’s very inclusive and not exclusive,” he said. “That, to me, is sort of the definition of a really great pop song. It’s very inclusive. It’s not a joke or a secret that not everyone can get. If you’re open to listening, you get it. And I think that’s the goal of the music.”

In the back story Reger is developing to chronicle Emily’s journey to the stage, Emily hires musicians to learn songs she’s composed and wants to perform live. A loner at heart, she struggles with adjusting to being in a band.

“But at the same time, she has a kind of epiphany that other people can do stuff that she can’t,” Reger said. “But at the end of the day, I also imagine she’s running it through all of her equipment and mixing it and fine-tuning it herself, in the isolation of herself and maybe her kitties.”

The cats – Sabbath, Miles, Mystery and NeeChee – help Emily make music in the comics, but Reger hinted they won’t make the band.

Who is Emily the Strange? (EmilyStrange.com)

“I don’t want to give away too much of the story, but the kitties are definitely involved,” he said. “But I got to say, they’re a bit lazy when it comes to sticking with the band. You know cats. They can’t hang too long. They fall asleep and take naps and stuff. And for a band, that’s not cool.”

Reger said he’s careful to make sure all the Emily stories from the comics, novels, music project and movie fit cohesively.

“I think as long as we stick to the ethos of Emily, the be yourself, think for yourself ethos, it will work,” he said. “If we let the overarching ideology of Emily lead the way, her iconic things people know, I think everything will land right. If everything is Emily, it will be Emily.”

Now that she’s starring in a movie and signed with a major label, is Emily the Strange selling out?

“Hell no,” Reger said. “That’s always a very interesting line to ride. I mean, here’s this girl who hates people. Why would she want to go on stage in front of millions of them? I think it’s because she’s got something new to say, new to do. It’s a whole new phase of life, and I think part of it’s being fed up with what’s out there now. … It’s unfair to compare the core essence of this loner girl to the world at large that likes her. To put ‘em next to each other and say, ‘Why?’ is kind of difficult. I think it’s more of challenge to take down Barbie and let people know there’s Emily.”

– Noelene Clark

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Comments


35 Responses to ‘Emily the Strange’ creator ‘blown away’ by Hit-Girl Chloe Moretz

  1. emily fan says:

    Emily the Strange is awesome!!

    Hope that this becomes a huge franchise – girls today need more Emily characters and less Barbies, Bratz and other bimbos.

    • mystery13 says:

      emily is for 13 yr olds and older i think and i hope this doesnt change what she represents.

      • Emily_Rulez says:

        well i liked emily at the age of 10 and im 14 now i dont think it matters what age you are(if your over 8) to like her and i dont think think Emily is right for 5 and 6 year olds

  2. Gill Avila says:

    Good idea! If Chloe can sing that would be even better for the franchise.

  3. Kathleen bischak says:

    Looks good for Emily…can't wait to see the movie, and hear the band..

  4. Gibson says:

    so excited!

  5. aRISU says:

    *hours of screaming later* OMMYGODOHMYGODOHMYGOD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! WHEN DOES THIS COME OUT I HAVE 2 SEE IT AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Emily says:

      i luv emily my name is emily and im emo and im getting the ds game AND I CANT WAIT OMG! O MY GOTH! I LUV EMILY YH

  6. emily keeper says:

    OH MY GOD OH MY GOD IM SO HAPPY I CANT BELIVE IT I LOVE EMILY NOW SHES IN A MOVIE AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!! EEP CANT WAIT AND ps im getting the ds game keep strange

  7. breathula bloodski says:

    kitty girl on film..I can"t wait.. I saw a bit on this and was really excited. Smitten with the kitten !! I love this stuff. It keeps lifes mind in the creative mode.

  8. R i C H says:

    something strange this way comes…

  9. emilyfan13 says:

    YAY!! i can't wait for the emily the strange movie and album. There gonna be awesome!!!

  10. athena says:

    not too happy about giving emily's role to some blond girl. :< emily should not be brought to the big screen. i liked her because only not many knew about her, and those that did were cool. emily is supposed to be low key.

    • Neko Knight says:

      Yeah, I agree.
      I hope to God that they movie is good, otherwise that'll be an insult to the franchise.

      PLUS! I don't want Emily the Strange to be popular like a Barbie doll. The reason she was so cool and different was because she was a low-key, anti-culture londer girl.
      That's why we love her! Not because she has her own music brand and movie.

    • NOT YOU says:

      Chloe’s probably going to be wearing a wig, you know that, right?

  11. hihihihi says:

    a bit disapointed that a girl who doesn't look like emily would play her. Can't wait to see it but still………

  12. InvaderZim! says:

    squeezy cheese! this chloe-whatever better do good at bein STRANGE…..this hopefully will turn out good, same with the band….. *crossin my damn fingers* we'll just have to wait and see, i guess…

  13. eve says:

    oh wow, i love both emily and chloe moretz! i really want to see this movie :) and also the music! i know this is gonna be good

  14. mystery13 says:

    wow i cant wait to see the movie! chloe moretz is good although not who i would pick 4 emily, but shes better than most. when does the trailer come out?

  15. star_mystery13 says:

    ok all of us r hopign that the movie and band are goin to amazing just keep our finger cross and hope for the best

  16. catsrule13 says:

    The mvie is gonna be lost in a strange crowd…Strangeley Strange it will be!I can't wait!Maybe Chole Moretz doesn't look like emily(outside&inside),but she acts(inside) and a makeover will do the trick(outside)!!!Strange love for the movie already!!

  17. roger m. kinsella says:

    Hullo All.
    i am a fan of emily's & a member of the S.O.S. I am looking forward to the album, movie & perhaps there will be a broadway show. The "addam's family" seems popular in new york right now so who knows? Good luck to everyone involved in the various emily projects.

  18. Rishy says:

    I didn't really want Chloe to play Emily, but …. I still love EMily the STrange and I can't wait for the movie!!!!

  19. lauren says:

    omg not fair i wish i could be emiley the strange all my friends think im like her coz i play guitar and stuff and have dark brown hair but i carnt wait till it comes out yay

  20. Kiku says:

    That movie will be no good . -.- you got the wrong Emily guys. She will be bad . she can`t do it. -.-

  21. Stella says:

    I think Chloe Moretz is gonna be just awesome in this role. she's the one for this role. emily the strange movie is definitely gonna be popular:)

  22. Allison B. says:

    As long as they srick to wat us truely Emily,and don't change 3/4ths of the stuff like what happened in "Percy Jackson and the Olimpians", I think it will be awesome!

  23. jessica A. says:

    i wish they made like a contest to be Emily sry Cloe BUT IT WOULD BE SO COOL TO BE HER IN A MOVIE THEY should make a hunt to find the girl to be Emily i mean what girl wouldn't want to be her in a movie

  24. Jess says:

    She better be a good actress because she definately doesn't look the part. Hope this movie won't bring Emily to shame. =.=

  25. hayden says:

    i am so excited she is so awsome and the music will be big i want it to come out already

  26. strange-moon13 says:

    im excited bout da movie but i just hope dat chloe mortez will do a good jog cuz she looks notin like Emily, still wish her good luck tho =)

  27. J.D says:

    I was so pumped for the movie…until I read that it’s not going to be a direct representation of the story. WTF?! I’m REALLY psyched to see Emily on the big screen, but if it’s not based directly on the books, what’s it gonna be about? I was just really counting on getting to actually watch amnesiac Emily walk around Blackrock and discover her inheritance and fight Attikol and stuff.

  28. Kittymega15 says:

    OMG!!!!! ETS EEEKKKKKK!!!!!!!

  29. Two-Shot says:

    I think if Chloe Mortez and the rest of the movie crew have the determination to make it work, then the movie will turn out just fine. I've gotta say though, I've been expecting this for a while, and I'm really keen to see how it will turn out. I'm a big fan of Gorillaz, and I hope the band turns out great too. (^・ω・^ ) Looking forward to seeing how it all turns out!

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