USA TODAY US Edition
‘5th Wave’ sneak peek
Chloë Grace Moretz battles aliens and saves her family in January film. Take a look.
“Like all teens, she wants ... things to happen to her. She gets all of her wishes but she gets them in the worst possible way.” Director J Blakeson
Young girls usually have enough other stuff to worry about than undercover extraterrestrials trying to wipe out humanity.
Chloë Grace Moretz stars as Cassie Sullivan, a 17-year-old high school kid who has to face a shattered world to find her lost brother and fight against the villainous Others in the sci-fi film The 5th Wave (in theaters Jan. 15). The thriller is directed by J Blakeson ( The Disappearance of Alice Creed) and adapted from the 2013 first book of Rick Yancey’s young-adult trilogy.
“Teenagers always feel like the world is ending, and in this case it just happens to be true,” Blakeson says. “It’s the story of this girl growing into adulthood before she’s ready.”
The Others arrive in huge spaceships to an unsuspecting global populace in the movie, yet rather than attacking landmarks and monuments, they have more sinister intentions. First, they emit an electromagnetic pulse to throw society into chaos, then they cause huge tidal waves to annihilate major coastal cities, spreading a plague that kills millions. Finally they reveal they’ve been secretly inhabiting human bodies for years to undermine mankind from within.
The mysterious fifth wave, though, is the Others’ final, deadly stroke of malevolence, and Cassie, having already dealt with tragedy, is forced to put aside her old life to save her younger sibling when he’s kidnapped.
“Like all teens, she wants to be independent and be away from her parents and fall in love, and she wants the action and adventure and things to happen to her,” Blakeson explains. “She gets all of her wishes but she gets them in the worst possible way.”
When Cassie, dirty and almost feral, walks into a seemingly abandoned gas station early in the movie, Moretz “was very much like the character as I envisioned her reactions to that situa- tion,” says Yancey, whose final book in the 5th Wave trilogy, The Last Star, is out May 24. (The second novel, The Infinite Sea, arrived last year.)
Moretz figures Cassie’s adaptability is one of her greatest strengths. “Whatever situation she’s put in, she will work hard enough to try to be the best she can at it.”
Ron Livingston and Maggie Siff star as Cassie’s parents, Zackary Arthur is her brother, Sammy, and Liev Schreiber plays military leader Colonel Vosch.
Three on-the-rise actors have important roles opposite Moretz in the overall 5th Wave franchise: Evan Walker, played by British newcomer Alex Roe, is an enigmatic stranger who saves Cassie’s life, though she wonders how trustworthy he is; Maika Monroe ( It Follows) is Ringer, an ace sniper and one of many youngsters recruited into an army to battle the Others; and Jurassic World’s Nick Robinson co-stars as Ben Parish, Cassie’s first crush in school and a pretty-boy football star who’s now an isolated soldier nicknamed “Zombie.”
Ben ends up having two very different personalities over the course of the movie, Blakeson says. “He just doesn’t want to care about people because all the people he’s cared about he’s lost.”
He also is initially Cassie’s idyllic boy, Moretz says. However, “as she finds a whole new part of herself and becomes a woman, that’s when she meets Evan and realizes that the safety and protection of a man becomes her main attraction.”
There are romantic interests, but Moretz connects with Cassie’s emotional plight in a deeper way. “She doesn’t even really care that much about the love triangle she’s in,” the actress says. “That’s more like me in the sense that I could be like, ‘ Ugh, I could care less about the two boys. I definitely care more about my brother.’ ”