In "Kick-Ass," Chloe Moretz's 11-year-old Hit Girl is a knife-throwing, sword-wielding, bloody killer of bad guys. At one point her dad (Nicolas Cage) shoots her in the chest, and only after the pre-teen shakes off the shooting with a smile does the audience realize she's been wearing a bulletproof vest.
These are boundary-pushing scenes, no doubt, even for an R-rated film, and in an interview with MTV News, Cage admitted he was originally unsure where filmmakers should draw the line.
"There were a lot of feelings about [the violence]," he said of Moretz's character. "I was concerned. I knew it was going to be something that was uncomfortable for me as an actor."
At the same time, Cage knew from past experience that being uneasy on set often leads to truly compelling on-camera work. What's more, the actor said he opposed any softening of Moretz's scenes as a matter of principle.
"My belief is that any art form — pop art or other — is by nature freedom of speech," he said. "It depends how you come into the movie and what your agenda is. Hopefully you won't have any agenda and you'll just go and see an rated-R movie and receive whatever it is the director wanted you to receive. But if you have an agenda going in and say, 'It's inappropriate,' you can pick that argument.
"Conversely, you can come out and say, 'Chloe Moretz's character is a pop icon of feminism strength,'" Cage continued. "Because women go to see this movie and they're really wowed by it. They love her character and how powerful she is. It's 'I am woman, hear me roar.'"
Helping assuage Cage's concerns as well was the simple fact that, regardless of age, Moretz is a remarkable actress. "I knew about her right away that she was marvelously charismatic and had her own unique sense of humor," he said. "I knew she had star presence."
What do you think about the level of violence in "Kick-Ass" and the film's young actress? Let us know in the comment section or on Twitter!