“I think this movie is really going to hit home with a lot of people, they’re going to go and see it because it deals with life themes that we all know and we all have seen and felt and heard,” said Chloe Grace Moretz at the Wednesday premiere of “If I Stay” at the TCL Chinese Theatre, based on the bestselling novel by Gayle Forman. Moretz plays the lead character of Mia Hall. “It’s not just silly, typical fodder. It’s different from anything we’ve seen yet.”
Joshua Leonard, who plays Mia’s father Denny, noted that “If I Stay” received a boost from the box office success of “The Fault in Our Stars.”
“This is embarrassing to admit, but I didn’t know that it was based on a young adult novel when I first read the script,” said Leonard. “Because it’s a very beautiful and evolved script, and then I bought the book and I opened it up and everything was 16-font with double spaces in between the sentences, and I realized that it was a book for teenagers. But it’s beautiful, it’s for everybody.”
Director R.J. Cutler was giddy about attending the event, saying that he would let his enjoyment flow after trying to remain composed during filming. Known for his documentary work on films such as “The War Room” and “The September Issue,” “If I Stay” is Cutler’s first narrative feature.
Cutler proposed that working on the two different formats wasn’t much different at all. “I think that you’re just working with the material that you love and you respond to. What’s wonderful about Forman’s book and its popularity is that the film has a built-in, core, passionate audience of supporters and that’s a lovely thing. You can’t beat it.”
Composer Heitor Pereira, who helped build “If I Stay’s” eclectic soundtrack of rock ‘n’ roll and classical music, said that working with Cutler involved a lot of “long conversations” and “so much sushi.”
“I think the process was very interesting because we go back a long way as loving music, old friends, so when we decided to work together I said, ‘Well then let’s really make this an experience,’” said Pereira. “He would come to my studio, and we chose the first cello piece that you hear from the very last song that you hear in the movie.”
Leonard pointed out Cutler’s attention to detail, a testament to his documentary background. He also commended Cutler for doing a tremendous job with casting the film.
“None of us knew each other going in, and yet the chemistry was so palpable and so immediate once we showed up on set,” said Leonard. “We were rough housing and all making fun of each other within 30 seconds.”
Despite all the fun had while filming, Moretz said that Cutler still kept the cast grounded while working on the project.
“He has this fresh outlook on it, this natural gravitas to him that you don’t really expect with a lot of directors,” said Moretz. “He came in with this heaviness and this realness. I think that without him, we wouldn’t be the movie we are.”
The afterparty continued at the Tropicana Bar inside the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, where guests and friends such as Bellamy Young, Sierra McCormick, Joey King and Warners brass Kevin Tsujihara, Sue Kroll, Dan Fellman, MGM’s Gary Barber and Jonathan Glickman celebrated with the cast and crew the remainder of the night.
New Line and MGM opens “If I Stay” on Aug. 22.
(Pictured: Chloe Grace Moretz and Gayle Forman at the “If I Stay” party)