Actress Of The Day: ZOOEY DESCHANEL
Next in: Yes Man coming out 19 December 2008.
Her Character: Renee Allison, a singer of a band called Munchausen By Proxy. Four of the songs sung by this group will actually be on the soundtrack: “Sweet Ballad,” “Uh Huh,” “Keystar” and “Yes Man.”
The Buzz: Zooey is a talented and intruiging actress. She often plays the wacky but lovable characters who end up getting their due at the end of the movie.
Movies She Should Be In: I would love to see Zooey play a cold blooded serial killer. It could be a breakthrough part for her.
Zooey Deschanel was born in Los Angeles, California
Deschanel lived in Los Angeles, but spent much of her childhood traveling because her father shot films on location. She attended Crossroads, a private preparatory school in Santa Monica, California. She also attended the French Woods Festival of the Performing Arts summer camp and sang throughout high school, planning to pursue a career in musical theatre. She attended Northwestern University for seven months before dropping out to work as an actress.
Deschanel appeared in a guest role on the television series Veronica’s Closet before making her film debut in Lawrence Kasdan’s 1999 comedy Mumford, and later in the year she appeared in the music video for The Offspring’s single “She’s Got Issues”. In her second film, director Cameron Crowe’s autobiographical Almost Famous (2000), Deschanel played Anita Miller, the protagonist’s rebellious older sister. The film received critical praise,but was not a box office success. Deschanel continued to sing, and in 2001 formed If All the Stars Were Pretty Babies, a jazz cabaret act with fellow actress Samantha Shelton.The pair perform around Los Angeles.
Deschanel played supporting roles in a series of films that included Manic (2001), Big Trouble (2002), Abandon (2002), and The Good Girl (2002).
Deschanel turned down several supporting roles and played her first lead role in All the Real Girls (2003). Deschanel’s performance as Noel, a sexually curious 18-year-old virgin who has a life-changing romance with an aimless 22-year-old, received critical praise, and she received an Independent Spirit nomination for Best Actress. Later in 2003, Deschanel played a deadpan department store elf opposite Will Ferrell in the comedy Elf, which became a box office hit.
In 2002, Deschanel appeared in The New Guy as Nora, the guitar player in the lead character’s band, Suburban Funk. The New Guy was the first of Deschanel’s films in which she sang onscreen; in Elf she duetted with Ferrell in the bathroom shower scene on “Baby, It’s Cold Outside”, and was also heard singing it on the soundtrack with Leon Redbone. Subsequently, Deschanel has sung in Winter Passing (“My Bonnie Lies over the Ocean”), the 2005 television musical Once Upon a Mattress (“An Opening For a Princess,” “In a Little While,” “Normandy,” and “Yesterday I Loved You”), an old cabaret song in The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford and the 2007 short film Raving (“Hello, Dolly!”). Her piano composition “Bittersuite” was used thematically in the dark, off-beat 2004 dramedy Winter Passing, in which she starred alongside Ferrell and Ed Harris.
In 2004, Deschanel starred in Eulogy, and in 2005 as Trillian in the film adaptation of Douglas Adams’ science fiction novel The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Deschanel then played Sarah Jessica Parker’s neurotic roommate in Failure to Launch (2006), and appeared on four episodes of the Showtime television series Weeds from 2006 to 2007, playing Andy Botwin’s quirky ex-girlfriend, Kat. In September 2006, Variety announced that Deschanel would play 1960s singer Janis Joplin in the film The Gospel According to Janis, to be co-written and directed by Penelope Spheeris. Deschanel planned to sing all of Joplin’s songs, and took four months of singing lessons “to approximate Joplin’s gritty vocals.” The film, scheduled to begin shooting on November 13, 2006, was postponed indefinitely.
In 2007, Deschanel appeared in two children’s films, Bridge to Terabithia and the animated film Surf’s Up, in which she voiced a penguin named Lani Aliikai. In December 2007, she played DG, the lead in the new Sci Fi Channel miniseries Tin Man, a re-imagined future of L. Frank Baum’s children’s book The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.
In March 2007, Deschanel contributed vocals to two songs (“Slowly” and “Ask Her To Dance”) on the album Nighttiming by Jason Schwartzman’s band Coconut Records. In May 2007, singer-songwriter M. Ward, who had previously performed with Deschanel onstage, said that he was “just finishing work” on her debut album, which will feature songs written by Deschanel and produced by Ward. Fox reported that Deschanel and Ward were recording under the moniker She & Him, and that the album, titled Volume One, would be released by Merge Records on March 18, 2008.
On April 27, 2008, she appeared on The Simpsons, playing the role of Mary, Cletus’s daughter.
In June 2008, Deschanel starred opposite Mark Wahlberg in M. Night Shyamalan’s environmental thriller The Happening. Deschanel stars and sings in the 2008 comedy Yes Man, opposite Jim Carrey.
Read all our Yes Man coverage here.