Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Actor Profile: Zooey Deschanel

Personal Life

Zooey Claire Deschanel (pronounced Zoh-ee Day-shuh-nell) was practically born into fame. Her parents were Caleb and Mary Jo Deschanel, a director slash filmographer and actress respectively. She was born in Los Angeles, California on January 17, 1980 and is of French and Irish descent. Her name, with its odd spelling of Zoe, comes from the main character of J.D. Salinger’s work Franny and Zooey, despite the fact that the Zooey in that book is a male. Because her director father shot many of his films on location, she spent much of her childhood traveling, which Zooey didn’t like. She’s allergic to dairy, gluten, and eggs, and spent quite some time as a vegan, before she decided her allergies made it too difficult to stay healthy. She attended a private preparatory school in Santa Monica, California with fellow actors Kate Hudson and Jake Gyllenhaal and dropped out of Northwestern University to pursue a career in acting. She is a talented singer, and can play the piano, banjo and ukulele. Her older sister Emily is also an actress; she plays the title character in Fox’s crime drama show Bones, which Zooey made an appearance in as a distant relative of Emily’s character, marking the first time the Deschanel sisters appeared on screen together. On September 19, 2009, a date that shall live on in infamy, she married Ben Gibbard, lead singer of Death Cab for Cutie, crushing the dreams of many innocent people. She is also the “she” in the band She & Him, of which M. Ward, who she worked with on The Go-Getter, is the “him.” The band has two albums, the appropriately titled Volume One and Volume Two. Her interests include jazz singing, fashion, and philosophy, and she shares an eerie resemblance with pop singer Katy Perry. To conclude, she’s basically the perfect person.

(Abridged) Filmography
2001 – Manic (Tracy) alongside Joseph Gordon-Levitt
2002 – The Good Girl (Cheryl) alongside Jake Gyllenhaal
2003 – All the Real Girls (Noel)
2003 – Elf (Jovie)
2005 – The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (Tricia McMillan/Trillian)
2006 – Failure to Launch (Kit)
2007 – The Go-Getter (Kate)
2007 – The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (Dorothy Evans)
2008 – Yes Man (Allison)
2009 – (500) Days of Summer (Summer Finn)
2011 – Your Highness (Belladonna)

Critical Reception
Despite her almost entirely positive reception and near-cult following among indie fans, her critical reception has been rather lackluster. Possibly due to her tendency to play in indie films mostly, with her few mainstream movies being poorly received, she has received few nominations or awards, winning only one, Best Actress from the Mar del Plata Film Festival for her role in All the Real Girls. Her newest film, (500) Days of Summer has been excellently received, but that hasn’t translated into serious mainstream attention yet. She also ranked #73 on Maxim’s 2010 Hot 100 list (which was clearly unfair . . . I mean, the list put Katy Perry at number one. Obviously the compilers have no eyeballs). Nonetheless, after the success of (500) Days of Summer I expect mainstream recognition to come soon.

The Future
Zooey’s future is promising, with the actress set to star alongside Natalie Portman (!!!), Danny McBride and James Franco in the upcoming fantasy comedy Your Highness, about a slacker younger brother prince who has to man up in order to save his kingdom and the girl (Zooey). Expect me to be at the midnight showing. Also in the works is a biographical film about Janis Joplin, with Zooey set to play the 1960s singer and also sing all the songs herself. She reportedly took four months of singing lessons for this project, which was postponed for a while, but is now on track to be released some time in 2012. Now if only she’d divorce Ben Gibbard . . .

Death and Glory,


  1. You didn't list the Happening...
    Perhaps a reason her reception is "lackluster."

  2. Wait... I read somewhere that Amy Adams was taking over the Janis Joplin project, titled "The Gospel According to Janis" (and it might not even happen...).
    That'd be too bad for Zooey, as it looks like she put a lot of work in that role, and, personally I think Zooey has more of a voice fitted for Joplin, but alas...

  3. Really? I'm skeptical. The project WAS set to be released in 2006, but it's been postponed, and now it's going to come out in 2012. I'm pretty sure Zooey's still set for Janis. Amy Adams? As Janis Joplin? Count me among the skeptics.


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