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Zoe Kazan On Writing And Starring In “Ruby Sparks” With Boyfriend Paul Dano

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In Ruby Sparks, out today in limited release, two things elude young novelist Calvin (Paul Dano): an idea for his second book and a meaningful relationship. When an enchanting redhead named Ruby Sparks (Zoe Kazan) comes to him in his dreams, she fills both those needs. Calvin starts writing Ruby’s story as fast as he can and even admits to his therapist that he’s falling for this figment of his imagination. His literary muse would be harmless, until Ruby miraculously appears in his apartment as his living and breathing dream girl. Ruby is warm, romantic, and beguiling — everything Calvin made her. Calvin and Ruby go on as an implausible yet happy couple, but when Ruby starts to get restless in the relationship, Calvin is tempted to go back to his typewriter. He created her, and when he continues to write her story, he has the power to change her.

Valerie Faris and Jonathan Dayton, the husband-and-wife team behind Little Miss Sunshine, directed Ruby Sparks. They weren’t the only couple working on the project. Zoe Kazan, who wrote the film and stars as Ruby, acts alongside her real-life boyfriend, Paul Dano. Director Valerie told us, “We thought there was a lot that could be borrowed from who Paul and Zoe are. In rehearsals we took them back to how they met and to their first kiss, and we used a lot of that when we were shooting the film.” But there were also layers of Paul and Zoe to strip away. “Zoe is very flirtatious in real life,” Jonathan told us. “And the script actually had her a little more that way. We asked Zoe to trim that and really change her performance. As soon as she did, it was as if Ruby appeared before all of us, and even Zoe felt like: that’s Ruby.” We had a chance to sit down with Zoe Kazan, who at 28 years old has captured many recognizable realities of relationships in her magical story Ruby Sparks. Read more …

Zoe Kazan On Critiquing The Manic Pixie Dream Girl Trope In “Ruby Sparks”

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“Everybody is setting out to write a full character. It’s just that some people are limited in their imagination of a girl. [A character in "Ruby Sparks" named] Cal’s brother says that in the film: “You’ve written a girl, not a person.” I think defining a girl and making her lovable because of her music taste or because she wears cute clothes is a really superficial way of looking at women. I did want to address that. … I am definitely not interested in adding to the genre of Manic Pixie Dream Girl. I’m very happy to have this movie read as a critique of that, if that’s how you want to read it. It’s not how I wrote it — that was not my primary goal. But I really, really think it’s dangerous to reduce a person to an idea.”

– I had no opinion on Zoe Kazan before I saw a screening of her new movie “Ruby Sparks” last week but now I’m in love — in loooooove — with the actress and screenwriter. “Ruby Sparks” is the thinking woman’s summer must-see film for sure. Without giving too much of the plot away, it is about a writer named Calvin (played by Kazan’s real-life boyfriend Paul Dano) who pens a novel about a lovely young woman named Ruby, who magically appears in real life. “Ruby Sparks” fantastically critiques the manic pixie dream girl trope in way that’s satirical but not in-your-face. I love what Zoe Kazan says in this interview here, especially in the full context of the interview where she talks about how reducing a person to an idea is dangerous to a relationship, as well as a film. [Huffington Post]

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