Zoe Kazan is one of those actresses who has been slowly building up her resume with impressive performances and gradually gaining momentum in terms of public recognition. A California native who happens to be the daughter of two Oscar-nominated screenwriters, Nicholas Kazan and Robin Swicord as well as the granddaughter of famed director Elia Kazan. She is an established and talented actress on her own merit, despite her successful family in the world of film. She attended Yale University where she studied theatre. Right off the back of her graduation in 2005 she threw herself into her acting career, beginning with acclaimed off Broadway productions and then proceeding to star in a variety of TV programmes and films.
After winning the Best Actress Award at the 2009 Tribeca Film Festival for THE EXPLODING GIRL, she went on to star in IT’S COMPLICATED, REVOLUTIONARY ROAD, ME AND ORSON WELLES, and indie dramas such as MEEK’S CUTOFF, HAPPYTHANKYOUMOREPLEASE, THE PRETTY ONE and most recently the big budget comedy WHAT IF with Daniel Radcliffe. She also starred on Broadway in ‘A Behanding in Spokane’ with Christopher Walken to rave reviews. Kazan is also an accomplished writer, for both film and theatre. She has had a play produced off Broadway and she wrote and starred in the 2009 hit RUBY SPARKS. It is the story of a novelist who is plagued by writers block when trying to produce a follow-up to his first, critically acclaimed work. He escapes this by retreating into his dreams, it is there where he envisions his perfect girl. He writes her down on his typewriter, she then literally comes to life, he has written her into existence. The story that follows is about the consequences of projecting our ideals of perfection onto others, in setting them up for an inevitable fall. Kazan says that writing was her answer to rejection as an actress. She says “I remember points where a casting director would think I was pretty or not, or good or not, and that would define how I felt about myself that day. Writing gave me the sense of accomplishment that had nothing to do with what someone else thought of me. It helped me survive.”
She is also the first person who managed to get the husband-wife directing team Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris to make a movie since their Oscar winning film LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE. Nothing felt right to them until they received Kazan’s perceptive and charming script.
She has recently been called the queen of the indie romantic-comedy, however she has so much more to offer than this. When asked if this is the genre of film she favours, she replied that these were the stories that she was responding to at the time, but that now she is making conscious decisions to take her career in a different direction so as to constantly challenge herself and display the versatility she possesses. She has made a point of choosing to portray the more complex and interesting female characters and should certainly not be pigeon holed into this one specific genre for her talent stretches far beyond this.
Zoe Kazan is an actress of subtlety and a writer of charm and insight. At such a young age she has already produced some wonderful performances and we cannot wait to see how she surprises and delights us all next.