A surprise hit at this year’s TIFF was Neil Jordan’s Greta, a female-centred thriller in which Chloë Grace Moretz plays a young girl who falls prey to an older lady named Greta (Isabelle Huppert) after finding her handbag on the subway. Although the reviews were kind, none exactly made claims for great art, so it was a relief when Jordan and his cast—Moretz, Huppert and co-star Maika Monroe—arrived at the Deadline studio with a healthy sense of humor about it.

Said Jordan, “The script that was sent to me was kind of like a generic Hollywood thriller, and what appealed to me was that the men in it were useless, and the women saw things [differently] amongst each other, in all sorts of interesting ways. But then I began to rewrite it and change it into something slightly weirder. It’s about obsession, captivity, romance, need and desire.”

First up was Moretz, who explained her role as the catalyst of Jordan’s story. “I play a young woman named Frances,” she said, “and she’s moved to New York City with her best friend. Basically she has this massive hole in her heart from the loss of her mother. She finds a handbag, and, as a good Samaritan does, she decides to deliver the handbag back to the wonderful Greta, and they have a really, really incredible relationship—in the beginning. They really understand each other—seemingly—and Greta fills that mother kind of role for her.”

The immaculate Huppert then gave her own interpretation of the mysterious Greta. “She’s very lonely woman living in New York,” she said. “We don’t exactly know where she comes from, there’s some kind of uncertainty about her origin. I mean, she’s supposedly French, but also she speaks Hungarian. She’s a liar. We’re going to find out that she’s a great liar. It was interesting for me to do it because she’s a real evil character. She’s a real monster. There’s nothing to save her, nothing to justify her behavior except maybe her quest for friendship, for love.”

Jordan put it more simply. “She’s a psychopath,” he said, “who hides in plain sight.”

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Deadline Studio at TIFF 2018 presented by eOne. Special thanks to sponsor Watford Group, and partners Calii LoveLove Child Social, and Barocco Coffee.