First Look At Chloë Grace Moretz As Mia In If I Stay

If I Stay

2014 may well be the best year for teen-targeted fare in a long time. Divergent has already swept the box office, picking up $56 million in its opening weekend, and the YA adaptation also earned an A CinemaScore. Meanwhile. John Green adaptation The Fault in Our Stars looks primed to become another huge hit in June (its first trailer garnered over 3 million views in just 24 hours). The Weinstein Company’s upcoming adaptation of The Giver is less of a sure thing, but its trailer has been turning heads, and this fall holds highly anticipated film versions of The Maze Runner and The Hunger Games – Mockingjay: Part 1.  Mixed in with all those buzzy titles is a much smaller-scale film that just might manage an equally auspicious breakout.

If I Stay, an adaptation of the well-received novel by Gayle Forman, stars Carrie actress Chloë Grace Moretz as Mia Hall, a 17-year-old cellist who lapses into a coma following a horrific car accident that claims the lives of her parents and brother. As she looks back over her memories and life, Mia must make the hardest decision she’s ever had to make – whether to wake up and face a world without her family, or to slip away into death.

That weighty premise makes If I Stay a riskier proposition than most YA adaptations, particularly in terms of pleasing fans, but Moretz is confident that the film will do right by its source material. Speaking to Entertainment Weekly, Moretz said:

“Being a fan of the book myself, I kind of understood what I wanted to see from the character. And in listening to Gayle, who originated the character, I knew what she wanted to see. We all tried to stay incredibly faithful to the story. That’s why we’re making it.”

Moretz, acclaimed for her performances in the Kick-Ass series, Hugo and Let Me In, has never carried a franchise entirely by herself, but the actress betrayed no trace of jitters about taking on the role of Mia. She explained that:

“I got very close to Mia and who she was. I was really in her head so there wasn’t really a question I couldn’t answer.”

She added that fans will be satisfied with the other actors, emphasizing her excitement to see reaction to Jamie Blakely’s portrayal of Adam, Mia’s adoring boyfriend.

“He’s the perfect Adam. We took a really long time casting him… When Jamie walked into the room I looked at R.J. [Cutler, the film’s director], and R.J. looked at me, and we did the audition and he left. And I went, ‘That’s Adam. That’s who he is.’ There was not a question. Not even a worry. That’s Adam. And I was like, ‘If you don’t hire him, that is so dumb.’”

Though fans of the book will have to wait until August to see whether If I Stay is a worthwhile adaptation of the novel, Moretz also impressed the fact that the film is intended to appeal to a wide range of ages:

What’s interesting about Gayle’s novel is that it’s not really that YA. It deals with issues that are much bigger…it’s much darker than I think most YA is… I want people to walk in and feel like they actually felt something, and learned something, and realized something different about life that’s more than just, ‘Oh, I saw this love triangle and it’s super sad because she chose the guy I didn’t like. And then the movie was over.’ And you’re like, ‘Okay, that’s pathetic.’ You want to watch something that actually means something and makes you feel and makes you want to be involved. That’s what I wanted to make and that’s what I strive to make.”

If I Stay opens August 22nd, 2014.