Like a lot of young adult novels The 5th Wave seems to have hit a bit of a stumbling block on its transition from page to screen. It's a cinematic genre in which it's easy to get bogged down in cliche, despite the fact that Rick Yancey's novel from which the film takes its basis was widely praised and critically acclaimed. Named one of the best young adult books of 2013 by The New York Times and spending 21 weeks on their best sellers list, The 5th Wave has been held alongside The Hunger Games and The Road in terms of quality by Entertainment Weekly.
The star of the upcoming film, Chloë Grace Moretz, isn't exactly new to this game either; beginning her acting career at age seven alongside Ryan Reynolds in The Amityville Horror. Now she's nineteen and carrying the weight of a new franchise on her shoulders, and despite initial critical reception to The 5th Wave (which has been largely negative) she remains upbeat about the series' future.
In The 5th Wave she plays heroine Cassie Sullivan, an quick witted and independent teenager whose world is turned upside down when aliens invade Earth. Humanity is being systematically wiped out in destructive Waves; the fifth of which will eradicate the last dregs of humanity.
After losing her parents in the Waves Cassie sets out to rescue her kidnapped younger brother, but she has to stop the 5th Wave and save the world along the way. No sweat though, Moretz has got just the background for that.
Speaking to The Scotsman Moretz compares the physical training she underwent for her role as Cassie to the film that made her famous; her earlier portrayal of the foul mouthed assassin Hit Girl in comic book adaptation Kick-Ass (and Kick-Ass 2).
The then 13 year Moretz took part in months of demanding physical training - learning to take apart and reassemble gun and flip a butterfly knife as well as learning martial arts and doing "1,000 crunches a night and 50 pull-ups".
Cassie, on the other hand, is just an ordinary teen - no special assassin training lurks in her backstory, so Moretz had some trouble turning Hit Girl off, as she explains:
"The director, J Blakeson, had to remind me, ‘You don’t know how to handle a weapon, you’ve never shot a gun before. Stop acting like you’re in control of yourself.’ It was the opposite of what I usually do."
This may have something to do with one of Variety's criticisms of the film, which was that the on-screen heroine was "a softer Cassie than on the page". Despite the fact that the script called for a gentler portrayal of the character Moretz managed to give it some teeth by drawing on her previous training, giving life to a Cassie with a bit more backbone than the script originally called for.
And it looks like some of Hit Girl's assassin tendencies might've bled through into her new role too, as she speaks about some of the environmental ideologies of the book and how, if humanity was wiped out, it would actually be better for the Earth:
"One thing I found really interesting when I was reading the book was, yes, the world has been demolished by this series of alien attacks, but as they progress, the woods where Cassie retreats to get greener. Everything is more vibrant, everything is more alive, there are more animals running around – in a very strange way, the world is thriving on these attacks. I liked the idea that what we do affects the world, and that maybe if we were taken out, the environment might do a little bit better without us."
Alright Moretz you can put that butterfly knife away now.