zooey deschanel interview

Quick Bio,Zooey Deschanel may be the doe-eyed darling of indie films and music, but brace yourselves -- she’s gone mainstream. Deschanel skipped over to the commercial side this season to star in her own FOX sitcom called New Girl, which premiers tonight. The title pretty much sums things up: Jess (Deschanel) is a 20-something starting over after a long-term relationship sours. She may be the newest hipster nerd on the TV block, but she hopes it will be a long and fruitful stay.

Deschanel has been proclaimed Hollywood’s new “It Girl” and a “manic pixie dream girl,” a pop-culture designation that was also bestowed by film critic Nathan Rabin on Katharine Hepburn, Audrey Hepburn and Kirsten Dunst to describe "that bubbly, shallow cinematic creature that exists solely in the fevered imaginations of sensitive writer-directors to teach broodingly soulful young men to embrace life and its infinite mysteries and adventures.”

The subtext is that both the pixies and their men tend not to grow up because they are “static” and immature, which was certainly not our impression of Deschanel. AskMen asked her what she makes of her new titles and her new show.
What do you make of the "It Girl" title?
Zooey Deschanel : I think of myself as an underdog, but I’ve been called an "It Girl" so many times in different points in my career. "It Girl" is a flexible term. I think that it’s interesting, this weird phenomenon. I don’t know who coined that term "manic pixie dream girl," but it seems pretty weirdly broad and specific at the same time. If that’s an example of how if you think of a dream girl, you think of someone you’re looking at from afar, someone who is a weird, modern dream girl. But I feel like in a way it’s a distant point of view, and that’s not really what I want to portray, necessarily. I prefer to be a person people relate to and not feel distant from.
How do you relate to Jess in being the only woman in a house full of men?
ZD : It’s easy to say [the show is about] a girl and three guys, but obviously with any plot, you can boil it down into something that sounds generic. I have a lot of guy friends, and they help me in different ways. But it’s less about her, as these men have their issues.
Jess is distraught because her relationship has ended, and she seems to rely on the guys to help, but they're not the best equipped. Will things turn around for her?
ZD : It’s not that it turns around. She's distraught in the pilot and tells us about the breakup, but it’s more finding her way in the future. That’s more the focus than getting over the breakup. I'm used to being a single woman finding her way. That’s the territory we cover.
Do you think learning the male perspective will help her recover from being cheated on?
ZD : I definitely think that this character is starting a whole new life. She has been in one mode for a long time, living out things that happened in her late teens and 20s and in her late 20s. She bypassed a lot because she was with the same guy for so long. These guys are helping her get over this experience, also finding her way in a new life, as a single woman in her late 20s.
You seem to have good rapport with the actors who play your roommates.
ZD : I read with the guys at the beginning, and we just cast the best actors. Obviously, you want the best comedic actors. The best actors also tend to be funny because the comedy is coming out of the situation, not the ability to deliver jokes. We’re just trying to tell these stories, and we're also hilarious and great actors, as well. We really have a great rapport. I love them so much.
What are the biggest mistakes men make, and how can they win a woman's heart?
ZD : Being disingenuous isn’t good from my perspective. Women are won over by people who are sweet and respectful and pretty and kind and funny -- those are the things that win women over. And the mistake that anyone can make is not being themselves. You can only trick people for so long.
Are you intrinsically funny?
ZD : When I did plays in school, I did the comedic roles -- that’s how it started. I think of myself as a comedic actress. Later I found I could drama as well, but I started out really thinking I was comedic, and that's what I love to do. I’m super happy and excited about the show.
Was it a big adjustment working on a TV show? Are you enjoying it or are there difficulties?
ZD : I really have adjusted well because I love being busy, and I love having a lot on my plate. I prefer to have constant stimulation, so I like going to set every day and working with the same people, and I really like that. Even though it's long hours, it’s exciting and fun and fast-moving. I love not waiting around. I like getting everything done, and it’s exhilarating. I enjoy it, and I also enjoy having developed a relationship working with people. It’s like summer camp -- the sadness after a movie is done. If you’re having a good time and it ends, there’s a certain amount of melancholy with that. With TV you have potential for this to go on.
What about New Girl will draw people in and bring them back?
ZD : It’s a new world for me, so I don’t know. I have to say, there is something about this show, and I don’t mean me. I feel so lucky I jumped aboard. The writing is so great, and it feels really special to me to work on it. I have had this feeling about a small number of things I have worked on, and I just have a very special feeling about this, because of the writing and group of people. I think it’s different. It’s more like a romantic comedy than a sitcom. Even though it has the physical comedy of the classic sitcoms, we’re telling stories that aren’t purely comedic.
The network calls the show "adorkable."
ZD : That’s an outside-in description. When I was 13, I wasn’t the coolest kid in my class, and that inner dork is a wonderful thing to have. On behalf of middle-schoolers all around, I would like to represent! I was a lot like Jess, and I’ll leave it at that.

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