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It seems to be a common story in Hollywood: Girl gets movie role, girl makes it big, girl gets lured to the dark side of fame and fortune, only to be remembered for that movie, you know, the one where that thing happened, and whose name you never hear again until Buzzfeed rounds them up in a “14 Stars Who Fell Off the Map” list years later.

Now, a new breed of bad girl is emerging, and leading the pack is 17-year-old Chloe Grace Moretz. But before you start Googling for inappropriate pictures, we must caution: It’s not what you think.

Moretz is one of a few young Hollywood actresses who gravitates towards darker, moodier roles; tugging at heartstrings, tackling bad guys, and turning away from fluffy boy-meets-girl films.

Her latest film, If I Stay, which hits theatres August 22nd, is another challenging, emotionally-driven role based on the young-adult fiction novel by Gayle Forman. Moretz plays Mia, an aspiring cellist who is severely injured in a car crash and must – literally – decide between life and death. Heavy, huh?

So how on earth does this young actress channel her rosy personality into these dark, troubling roles? We asked her just that, and her answer might surprise you:

 

So if movies with grit, drama, and a strong female lead are your thing, here are our top picks of the roles that put this talented teen on the map:

Dark Shadows

Not only does Moretz play a rebellious teenager with a very dark secret, but she holds up alongside eccentrics Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter. You’d think that vampires were the scary characters, that is, until you meet this moody teen.

dark-shadows

Kick-Ass

The film that launched Moretz into stardom, we almost guarantee you’ll never look at this petite star the same way again. Playing the pint-sized, ruthless vigilante Hit-Girl, her foul-mouthed character must’ve been a stretch for Moretz, whose own mother had to sign-off on her using such profane language.

kick-ass

Carrie

It doesn’t get much more dramatic than single-handedly taking down your high school prom. Tackling the iconic role of Carrie White, Moretz’s haunting portrayal of a possessed teenager makes you wonder what trauma she harnessed to portray such a disturbed teen.

carrie