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Brace yourself for a brutal hypothetical question: Imagine you are in a gruesome car accident that kills your family and leaves you in a coma. Within that coma, you are given the choice whether to live on without your family, or give in to death. Which would you do? That is the question put to cello-playing Julliard-hopeful Mia Hall, the 17-year-old heroine at the center of Gayle Forman's 2009 YA novel If I Stay. Though comatose, Mia undergoes an out of body experience that allows her to witness her surviving loved ones visits to see her, and gives her time to consider her choice between life and death. It's dark subject matter, so who better to take it on it than creepy chic ingénue Chloe Grace Moretz.
The actress, who has played a child assassin (Kick-Ass), a lonely vampire (Let Me In), a brooding werewolf (Dark Shadows), and a bullied telekinetic driven to mass murder (the upcoming Carrie remake), has had plenty of experience playing deeply dark parts, so Mia shouldn't prove to tricky for her to tackle> That's good news as Deadline has announced the starlet has officially signed on to front If I Stay's movie adaptation.
Moretz was first attached to the project earlier this year. At the time, reports revealed that what seemed like a static setting (a hospital room of a coma patient) would be helped along with voice over, and presumably flashbacks. Documentarian R.J. Cutler (The September Issue) will direct. MGM will produce the feature, which is slated to shoot in Vancouver in late October. Further casting announcements are expected to follow in short order. Yet to be cast are the roles of Mia's rock n' roll boyfriend Adam Wilde, her sarcastic and smart best friend Kim Schein, her little brother Teddy—who may or may not have died in the accident—and her rocker parents Kat and Denny Hall.
While Moretz seems an almost obvious choice for the part of Mia, she wasn't the first actress linked to If I Stay. Back when the film was being produced by Summit Entertainment that distinction went to Dakota Fanning - but she passed on the project back in 2010 so she could finish her senior year of high school more easily. Before Cutler came on board to helm, it was Twilight director Catherine Hardwicke who had been tapped. This re-team with Summit looked like it would smooth over her being kicked off helming Twilight's sequel. And considering Hardwicke's talent with coaxing compelling performances out of ingénues, it seemed a good fit. However, not long after she selected Shauna Cross, writer of the derby girl drama Whip It, to pen the adapted screenplay, Hardwicke dropped the project in favor of the ill-fated fantasy thriller Red Riding Hood, which was critically panned and was counted as a box office disappointment.
The latest from Deadline makes no mention if Summit is still involved, or if Cross's script is being used for Cutler's If I Stay. But we expect more details to emerge as casting progresses.