Last year there was a tragedy. After seeing the press screening of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, I had some Indian food. I ended up with the Ganges River coming out my butt the next day, and I missed the press junket. While I wasn’t fond of the film, I loved the cast, and I really wanted to meet Zooey Deschanel, who is like the hottest thing going.
So happy for me when I did the press day for Failure to Launch, and there she was. In the film Zooey plays Kit, Sarah Jessica Parker’s anti-social roommate. It’s a great showcase for the sarcasm Zooey does so well, and quite frankly she’s the best reason to see the film. Every one of her scenes is great.
Q: Do you like to switch between big, broad comedies and more indie work, like Winter Passing?
Deschanel: Yes, I mean it’s so different. It’s fun. I really like to try to stretch myself so I purposely do things that are very different from one another. But, yes, Winter Passing was a hard movie to shoot just because there was a lot of emotional work and in the film I’m always on the edge of an emotional breakdown and so, until the end when I actually get to express myself, I was always on the edge and never getting to actually cry. I’d go to my trailer and I would cry and then I go back to the mark and then I’d go to my trailer and cry. It ended up being like a lot of crying.
Q: Would you run scared from a thirty five year old guy who still lives at home with his parents? Have you ever dated somebody who was still living at home with his parents?
Deschanel: Well, I’m 26, so it’s not that weird to live at home. I know a lot of people who live at home, just out of grad school and sort of like saving money. It’s not like that weird at this age but I mean 35 is a little bit mature to be living at home. But, I don’t know, I wouldn’t judge that. However, I think in the film it’s like an individual situation because you have someone who wants to be at home because they want to be babied and taken care of.
Q: What are the challenges of playing a best friend in a movie like this? How do you make it interesting?
Deschanel: Well, I don’t think they were even really friends like so that was the first thing. They’re room mates and they’re different. They’re so different. I mean different age groups and [I’m] obviously incredibly abrasive and honest and [don’t] really get along with very many people. Then Sarah Jessica has a very unusual job so she can’t have a lot of friends because she has to be kind of secretive for her job. So, their relationship is borne out of necessity, not really like affection, to begin with. So I don’t think that they are – I don’t even think they like each other at all.
I wouldn’t normally consider it, like a part, if it were something that was in a stereotype. I hate that thing. I hate that sort of roles. Like if it’s a best friend role, I hate it. There’s nothing more repellent to me really, to be honest.
Q: She’s a unique friend.
Deschanel: Exactly and not a best friend. So I was attracted to it because I felt like she’s just like this weird room mate.
Q: You have this dry humor and sarcasm in so many films. Are you like that as a person?
Deschanel: I don’t know. You know, it’s funny, I don’t consider myself – I’m not really that much like the characters that I play at all. Like, I can be dry but I think I’m a little bit more animated in real life – a lot more animated in real life – than I usually am in movies. But, for some reason people gravitate towards that side of me sometimes and respond to it. So that’s interesting. But I think everybody has personas and it’s just sort of what you project, whether it’s really a part of you or not.
Q: What about Sarah Jessica’s persona? What was it like working with her?.
Deschanel: She’s like the most lovely, elegant – like she’s like Jackie O or something. She’s like a style icon. When you see her you kind of go “Oh my God, she’s just like got everything going for her. She just has it figured out.” And then you meet her, she’s also incredibly nice and down to earth. That was so refreshing because you go, “If I were that perfect I’d be maybe snobby” but she just couldn’t be nicer.
Q: Are you as cynical about love as this character seems to be?
Deschanel: No, I’m not cynical about love at all. I’m very practical. I think love takes up a lot of time.
Q: And effort.
Deschanel: And effort.
Q: Are you a romantic?
Deschanel: And I’m not a romantic either really.
Q: The scene where you give mouth to mouth to the mockingbird – is that fun on set, or is it technical?
Deschanel: It was fun. It was just, you know, basically we were playing like as if we were on ER so we had to bring it back to life but it was like very – that was a scene that you had to really commit fully to or else it wouldn’t have worked.
Q: What’s unusual in this film is that the supporting characters are given a lot of screen time, and a chance to shine. It’s a nice change of pace from the usual star vehicles.
Deschanel: I know, I know and that’s why I like this script because I normally would be pragmatic and not really dive into it but I just thought this was so well done and it was like what I think of as – like more towards that 30s, 1930s sort of school of screwball comedy rather than the romantic comedy.
Q: They left room for your sense of timing, which is kind of tricky.
Deschanel: Yes, yes, it’s true. They did definitely and they stayed true to all the actors. I always like to think that when I do a movie they hire me for a reason, not to just have me there in the background. So it’s always nice. They had all these really good actors. All the supporting roles were really well cast and like even small – like Rob Corddry who played the gun salesman. He’s so hilarious.
Q: What do you have next?
Deschanel: I’m shooting a movie right now but my year – I’m kind of just figuring out what I’m doing [after that]. I’m shooting a movie called Bridge to Terebethia. I play Ms Evans. It’s just a real quick thing but I just love that material so much I was really excited.
Q: Is it very daunting to film a classic story like that?
Deschanel: It’s not as daunting as filming The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy with all the fans. Those fans – they love their Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.
Q: What was the craziest experience you had with those fans? Did you have any crazies there?
Deschanel: I didn’t have any crazies – they’re awesome. They just love it so much. It’s like a little bit daunting because the fans love it so much that you – there’s almost no way to please everybody, so that was kind of a little bit like frightening. This one – it has a lot of fans but it’s not the same type of obsession kind of thing. Like people don’t have whole lifestyles revolving around —There’s some people whose lives really revolve around their – – -
Q: Will there be more?
Deschanel: I don’t know. We just made that one and there was never really any plans to make more but I don’t know.
Q: Would you come back if they did Restaurant at the End of the Universe?
Deschanel: Yes, yes, I love to. The first one was so fun to shoot.
Q: You’re in The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford. What’s your role?
Deschanel: Yes, I just have a little part. There aren’t that many women in the movie. It’s like kind of a guy film.
Q: That period stuff? Is it fun dressing with that?
Deschanel: Yes, oh my God it’s so fun. Robert Ford, at the end of his life, had sort of a unique relationship with a kind of dance hall prostitute girl and that’s what I play and, yes, I had fun wearing a corset and dressing up and I had beautiful costumes. I mean they were like stunning and they were all original.
Q: How was Brad Pitt dealing with the glare of public attention?
Deschanel: I don’t know, I didn’t work with Brad. I worked with Casey Affleck.
Q: How was Casey dealing with it?
Deschanel: [laughs] I think he was fine with it.
Q: Are you a tall boy beer drinker, or is that just your character?
Deschanel: I don’t drink beer. It was water in the can. Kit likes beer, Zooey does not like beer. I don’t like it – it’s bad. I like white wine.