The entertainment bug runs strong in the Deutch family. But while her mother (Lea Thompson) holds legendary status for portraying Lorraine in the Back to the Future franchise, her sister (Madelyn Deutch) is a budding writer and actress, and her father (Howard Deutch), has directed everything from True Blood to Pretty in Pink, Zoey Deutch has carved out a career that stands strongly on its own. The Los Angeles-native auditioned for her first role in 2010 and earned the part of Maya Bennett in the Disney Channel original series The Suite Life on Deck. From there, she went on to play the daughter of Sarah Michelle Gellar in Ringer, appeared on Switched at Birth, and was the lead in the YA film Vampire Academy. In just six short years, her career has achieved constant momentum.
2016 has kept Zoey Deutch busy. In January, she graced theaters alongside Zac Efron and Robert De Niro in Dirty Grandpa. She teamed up with her mother, who directed both her and her sister Madelyn in The Year of Spectacular Men, and her IMDB page lists six other projects that are actively in the works. Currently, Deutch is in production on Why Him?, a film in which she stars opposite James Franco and portrays a girl who brings her boyfriend home for a “Meet The Parents” type battle with her father (Bryan Cranston). Chatting about the project causes her to reflect back nostalgically on the first time that her longtime love, Avan Jogia, was introduced to her own parental units. “My mom and dad love my boyfriend,” she explains. “I was lucky on that front for sure!”
Deutch is also in the middle of promoting her role of Beverly in Richard Linklater’s comedy Everybody Wants Some!! The film, which hit theaters in limited release on April 1 and is rolling out nationwide throughout the month, sees the actress facing off against an ensemble male cast. The 21-year-old jokes that she loved the part so much that it didn’t really dawn on her that she was the only female on screen. That was of course until the gang got together off set and she assumed the role of instant wingman. “What happens in Austin stays in Austin,” she says of her co-stars’ bar escapades in between filming on location. Deutch admits, however, that she was definitely influential in helping several of her male counterparts talk to the ladies.
When she’s not on screen, Deutch spends her time spoiling her canine child, Maybelle, spending low key nights with her boyfriend, and knitting “mediocre hats” as presents for her family and friends. Her schedule is hectic, often causing her to rush from set to the airport for a film premiere, but she tries to sneak in some R and R whenever she can. “The last day off I had, I watched the most recent season of House of Cards,” she admits. “I didn’t get up to eat or breathe or do any normal human things!” It’s that kind of revelation about the star that makes her so down-to-earth and relatable. Deutch laughs off her celebrity status and insists that she’s just like us. She prefers to cuddle with her pets versus hit the streets of Hollywood, has a terrible time trying to decide what to wear in the morning, and even fangirls out over seeing random celebs out and about in her neighborhood. Soon enough though, Tinseltown will be proclaiming, Everybody Wants Some Zoey Deutch.Just Jared: What was it like working with Richard Linklater? Tell us something you learned from him on set that people wouldn't know otherwise.
Zoey Deutch: He’s there for the collaboration. He’s there to make something really special. He recently said to us all, “we had a lot of fun and, most importantly, fully realized the potential of these characters and this movie as a whole,” and that's a really cool feeling, to be a part of something like that. Working with him has definitely been the most professionally influential experience of my life.JJ: Can you tell us about your character Beverly?
ZD: She’s smart and sweet and has a strong point of view. She’s determined to be a working actor and argue her political beliefs along the way. Beverly and Jake (Blake Jenner) have nothing and everything in common but they connect on the front that they both love what they do, and they’re passionate about what they do.JJ: What is the relationship like between Beverly and Jake?
ZD: We talked a bit about whether or not it was a one weekend romance with Jake and Beverly, or if it lasted the course of the year, or 4 years, or even their lives. I’m partial to thinking it was a fling. Blake thinks it lasted a while. The wives of the baseball players who the movie was loosely based off of definitely thought it was a forever relationship. It’s really sweet, a lot of them actually met during that time, and stayed together. At the end of the day, that doesn’t really matter, it’s meaningful to Beverly and Jake, and they connect, and that’s beautiful.
ZD: To be honest I'm not the girliest girl there is. I can hang with the dirty jokes and wisecracks.JJ: What was it like being the only woman with a featured role in the film?
ZD: Rick likes to joke to me, how does it feel to have the weight of representing all women in the 80’s, Zoey? Look, people will say what they say, but again, the movie isn’t trying to fit into any mold, or make everyone love it. It’s not trying to do anything other than show human behavior, and relationships, show a slice of life.JJ: Which of the EWS studs did you bond with the most off-camera? Tell us a memorable story you two shared.
ZD: I can't say because I love all of those boys so much! A few of them ended up getting places together after filming and becoming roommates. We’re all figuring out when and where our post press/movie coming out reunion will be. Who’s throwing the party.JJ: Any interesting EWS stories?
ZD: We were in Austin [in March 2016] for Austin Film Society screenings. In between Q&A’s, Rick told us originally EWS was an 180 page script that spanned the course of the entire freshman year for Jake, not just the first weekend. And that version still exists somewhere. Then we all started pitching how we definitely need to make a sequel, another person was like "TV could be a good idea!" Anything to get to all work together again.JJ: Any highlights from Austin and SXSW?
ZD: The after party felt like a Bat Mitzvah. We literally all did the hora and I got on the chair… it got real.JJ: What did you think of the '80s clothes you got to wear?
ZD: It takes place in 1980, so it's not full '80s garb yet. It’s got a lot of '70s influence, obviously. My favorite thing I wore in the film is the dress that I wear for the first day of school; the one I’m wearing in the poster. The costume designer, Kari Perkins, who is amazing, had purchased this huge dress, it had short sleeves I think, and came down to almost my ankles. They tailored the bananas out of that piece and I think it ended up looking really unique. I wore a leotard underneath, so Beverly was prepped and ready for her movement and dance classes--with dance shoes in hand.
ZD: The whole process was about as grassroots and personal as you can get. My sister developed the role of Sabrina especially for me, the role of Sebastian for Avan, the role of Deb for our mother. So not only were they parts that were tailored for us, they were crafted so that no one else could do them. We didn't fight, and honestly it was one of the most positive experiences I've had on a film. Plus, Cameron Monaghan and Nick Braun were involved and I've worked with them before so that was great.JJ: You’re working on Why Him with Bryan Cranston and James Franco right now. How is that going?
ZD: It's a totally unique experience. John Hamburg, our director, has a way of working that is very new to me. Lots of improv, very extended takes, I feel really lucky I've gotten to be a part of a completely fresh approach. Also Bryan Cranston is the actual funniest person on planet earth.JJ: Tell us about Maybelle.
ZD: She's my pit-mix rescue and is the love of my life. Everyone in my life is so obsessed with her I basically have to fight to be able to claim her as my dog.
ZD: I have a slightly unreasonable fear of revolving doors. Look. I couldn't tell you why. I don't have a single clue.JJ: What can you tell us about Vincent N Roxxy?
ZD: It’s premiering at the Tribeca Film Festival this April. It's with Emile Hirsch, Zoe Kravitz, Emory Cohen, Beau Knapp… QuestLove scored it. We lovingly call my character Kate, not quite trailer trash, but a trailer flower.JJ: How are you preparing for your role in Rebel In the Rye?
JJ: I’ve read all of Salinger’s work, and am going to re-read, of course. I’m also reading a lot of Eugene O’Neill. I’m playing his daughter, Oona, in the film. So I’m reading some of his plays, like The Iceman Cometh, Long Day's Journey Into Night, and Desire Under the Elms.JJ: Do you have a favorite quote?
ZD: “Our lives can only be lived forward and understood backwards. Living a life and understanding it occupy different dimensions.” - Hanif KureishiJJ: You worked on the CW series Ringer back in 2011. What was Sarah Michelle Gellar like as a TV mom? Any parallels to your own mother?
ZD: Definitely. She is so professional, it's ridiculous. She's so good at her job, comes in, slays, and goes home to be with her family.
ZD: It was certainly a lot of pressure at the time, but, Rose was a great part. A forward thinking lead. What I mean is, it was a sizeable budget, wide release film about a girl who literally did not apologize. She wasn't strong and realized she needed to be quiet. She wasn't confident and realized she needed to take a back seat. She didn't compromise. When I really look at the bigger picture of the whole experience, those are the types of films that need to get pushed. I think it was brave, and I feel really lucky I got to play her.JJ: You’ve been pretty vocal about your support of Hillary Clinton and Planned Parenthood. Are you totally team Hillary? Why do you want to see her win so badly?
ZD: As a woman, I don't feel like (for lack of a better phrase) she's going to screw me. I trust her not to screw over women. I believe she's the best candidate for the job. I support Hillary because I believe she has the experience it takes to lead the country and she has had senior roles in administrations. She’s aligned with a lot of issues and causes that I am. I’d be lying if I didn’t say that I think it’s time to have a woman president.JJ: Are you moving to Canada if Trump wins?
ZD: That would be a most likely, probably, yes definitely.
ZD: I wanted to communicate that Planned Parenthood is an amazing healthcare clinic for millions of Americans that wouldn’t have had it otherwise. There is some sort of preconceived idea that all PP does is perform abortions, which is not the case. They offer pap smears and mammograms and provide education to so many people and it’s something worth fighting for.JJ: What question do you get asked by fans or interviewers the most? Does it irritate you?
ZD: Most commonly I'd say people ask me what it was like to grow up in a "Hollywood family." It's not irritating, it's just funny to me because everyone's normal is their normal. That's my family. That's what I know. So it doesn't seem like an unusual experience for me. It's just my life.JJ: How would you describe your style?
ZD: I've always straddled the line between buttoned up classy designer pieces, and more off kilter vintage. I like to combine the two. I used to be way cooler. I’d go to the dollar sale at Jet Rag, or the Fairfax flea market and spend hours putting together looks.JJ: So you don't care too much about fashion?
ZD: I care so much that I don’t care. I’m like anybody else – if I have an important place to go and I want to look good, I try on a thousand outfits and they all end up on my floor and I come out wearing jeans and Adidas.
ZD: I paint. I cook. Last week I tried to make cinnamon rolls and it went badly. I made them with my sister and we considered throwing away the dish because we couldn’t scrape them out. The brown sugar had crusted over and made it impossible to get them out… I wouldn’t recommend that recipe!JJ: You’ve been with your boyfriend for quite a while now. Is it true you guys already consider each other an “old married couple?”
ZD: We're partners. And an old married couple. And helicopter parents to Maybelle.JJ: What’s your biggest pet peeve?
ZD: I literally can't handle when people touch their eyelashes. Or when people chew gum loudly, I want to jump off a building.JJ: Are you flattered by the fact that fans dedicate entire Facebook and Twitter sites to you? Like Zoey Deutch Facts? Or is that a tad scary?
ZD: No, I am totally honored and flattered that anyone would take the time to do that. Also their photo edits are really bomb!JJ: Do you ever fan girl?
ZD: Well I almost fainted once when I saw Bryan Cranston on the street, so you can imagine how I feel about working with him.
ZD: I sarcastically said in a Vanity Fair piece that I’ve seen one of my parents’ movies, which of course isn’t true, and definitely makes me sound like a dick. I am so proud of my parents and how hard they’ve worked. Back to the Future is an incredible film, and for my mom to be a part of something that 30 years later people are still so touched by is a remarkable feat.JJ: Why did you love Austin so much?
ZD: The food. There’s a taco truck called Torchy’s. Torchy’s is fantastic. They have these pickled red onions on the tacos and have a special secret menu. And… it’s just like the best food ever. Everyone else’s response would be music, but food trumps music... Food trumps love, trumps everything.JJ: Would you ever live anywhere other than Los Angeles?
ZD: I’m very lucky that my job keeps taking me other places, so I am getting to live other places, but if I had to move somewhere right now or you told me right now you have to leave immediately, I would say Austin which is where we shot Everybody Wants Some.