I guess, in our post-”Harry Potter” world, a lot of people would be really excited when a new movie comes out starring Daniel Radcliffe.
Alas, I am not one of those people.
When I heard about the cast for the new rom-com “What If,” I was more excited about Zoe Kazan. The Yale graduate does things like tweet about Criterion films and how “Boyhood” reminded her of Truffaut’s Doinel stories. She a star of stage and screen, appearing in shows like “The Prime Of Miss Jean Brodie,” and films like “It’s Complicated,” “Revolutionary Road” and ”Ruby Sparks.” In fact, it’s “Ruby Sparks,” which she wrote herself, that made me a Zoe Kazan fan — there’s something very badass about writing yourself a lead role in a movie.
In “What If,” Kazan is a leading lady once again, playing Chantry, a young woman with a boyfriend (Rafe Spall) who befriends her cousin’s aimless pal, Wallace (Radcliffe). As their friendship gets closer and closer, Chantry and Wallace both start to wonder whether it’s possible to remain friends when you’ve got romantic feelings. It’s super emotionally realistic in a way most rom-coms usually aren’t.
Earlier this spring, I met up with a bubbly Kazan to chat about “What If,” rom-coms, feminism, and femininity. Our conversation is after the jump:
Keep reading »
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 …
“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]
Michelle Williams’ co-star Zoe Kazan revealed some unique wardrobe benefits enjoyed by the female cast of “Meek’s Cutoff,” at a screening Monday night in New York hosted by the Cinema Society and accessories designer Nancy Gonzalez.
Kazan explained her favorite features about their 1845-style dresses with full skirts: “You can wear no underpants and just squat and pee and that’s really useful. You can do it in public and no one will see you. You go out into the fields and cop a squat under your skirt. It’s true that’s what the pioneer women used to do.”
Williams confirmed to StyleList that she also went commando during filming in the Oregon desert. “It’s true. That’s one of the things I missed about those dresses.” Read more… Keep reading »