Zoey Deutch

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Zoey Deutch

I Always Get the Top Bunk

“I’ve had this strange experience where every summer of my life, I’ve been going to this same small town with the same people. There are no cars. It’s all boardwalks. You ride your bike everywhere. No one wears shoes. It’s the most bizarre and interesting experience for me because I get to see these people—it used to be for two months in the summer, but now it’s for two weeks because I’m working most of the summer. I don’t see them or speak to them for ten months out of the year. When we were younger, it didn’t really affect us that much, but when you start hitting thirteen and fourteen, you are completely different humans. Fifteen, we are very different. Sixteen, even more different. The friend group starts to change. Who you relate to is completely different from one day to the next. That’s my summer thing.”

Zoey Deutch pauses to gracefully thank the server at a café in Studio City for her vanilla latte. The foam, in accordance with the themes of our conversation, bears the countenance of a teddy bear.

Deutch is a more recent debutante on the floor of Hollywood royalty (her lineage, most immediately, is that of father Howard Deutch, the director known for films such as Pretty in Pink, SomeKindofWonderful, and actress Lea Thompson, who, before becoming Mrs. Deutch, was more widely known as the mother of one Marty McFly in BacktotheFuture). The young Deutch, after a handful of films and TV shows as a teenager (Ringer, BeautifulCreatures, and most recently, VampireAcademy) has been on a tear, racing through characters and narratives over the last year with becoming gusto. The results of this season of grindstone will be viewable starting later this year—in Richard Linklater’s upcoming EverybodyWantsSome, Chris McCoy’s GoodKids, Gary Michael Schultz’s Vincent-N-Roxxy, and by February of next year, Dirty Grandpa, directed by Dan Mazer.

Here we order another latte, and get the skinny from Ms. Deutch on self-branding, the future, and everything in between.

Summer always ends, but kids are in constant communication now—what are we in for?

I’ve been toying with the notion of what the repercussions of what our technological use will be. Think about it. However many years ago, people would smoke three packs of cigarettes a day. No one would monitor that in any way. Are we going to have a timer on our phones saying that we can only be on it for two hours a day? Are we going to go to our friends and say, ‘Fuck, I fell off the wagon and was on my phone for ten hours yesterday?’ When someone is on their phone in the subway, are we gonna be like, “God, look at that person?’ I just wonder because we don’t know the long-term effects. It being near our heads while we sleep, we don’t know if it causes brain cancer. I think it’s going to be like cigarettes.

Maybe the real obsession has become about watching ourselves—don’t you think this is all just going to result in personal drone cameras, 24/7?

It’s horrible. The ironic thing is that, an actor, you do have a camera constantly in your face. It’s not fun.  It’s hard to watch yourself. It just limits your ability to be a more interesting person. I think it’s easy to fall into that trap. No, I don’t like watching myself.

John Berger, in Ways of Seeing, talks about how women and men perceive and are perceived—how men just engage while women might hold themselves back by thinking about themselves in that scenario. “Men act and women appear.” What does that mean, these days?

If you think about it from an animalistic standpoint, if we are more and more concerned about how we appear, yes, you could argue that we have been shamed since the dawn of time and we’ve constantly been trained to listen to other people, but we need to attract the best mate. The females are much more obvious in their presentation. The males are just fighting each other. Because we can have children, we are inherently multi-taskers. And men, not as much. They are more linear. I wonder if technology, with boys playing video games and being on their phones so much, is going to make them evolve into better multi-taskers. In that way, it’s almost a positive spin.

You’ve been spinning like crazy of late.

This is my first interview for these last four movies. I haven’t been home at all. I’m straight-up nervous that I’m going to say something stupid. By the time it comes out, I’m like, ‘No, I figured out how to construct this sentence.’

Are you scared a little bit? Have you seen any of them? 

No, I haven’t. It’s very strange. They are all so different. They could not be more different. They all happened right back-to-back from one another. I haven’t really had time to fully process this at all.

You’re kind of genreless. 

I would like to be genreless. In theory, I would love to be known for comedy just as much as drama. I just want to keep working. I’m lucky to be working. I’m kind of exhausted by the constant need to brand yourself—that’s a very prevalent way of living as an actor nowadays. I don’t want to be pigeonholed, I don’t want people to look at me and see one thing. I don’t want to be a thing. I want to be a human.

In Good Kids, I play this geeky... well, she’s not geeky. She is hyper-intelligent and uninterested in the normal trials and tribulations of normal teenagerdom. The summer before college, they all decide to individually accomplish what they didn’t during high school, so it’s having a boyfriend, drugs, and sex. It’s a love story between my character and her friends. It’s kind of about losing touch and finding your way back together. It was interesting how our lives emulated that. We were living in a house together while shooting and we had gotten so close. When the movie ended, we had to say goodbye to each other. It was sad.

Ah, there’s that summer dynamic. 

It becomes your new reality.

Has it been disorienting? 

I guess it depends on how you adapt. It’s hard when you like the people. As much as you say “we’ll keep in touch,” it’s not going to happen. It’s always interesting to see who you do stay in touch with.

It’s the last person you expect. 

That’s what everyone keeps saying.

Photographer: Frederic Auerbach for OpusReps.com.

Stylist: Monty Jackson for Theonly.agency.

Hair: Rob Talty for forwardartists.com.

Makeup: Shane Paish for wschupfer.com.

DigitalTech: Haris Sarantis.

Special Thanks: Rob Talty.

Beauty Notes: Aqua gel luminous oil-free moisturizer and illuminator in orgasm by Nars Cosmetics. Gellac, Thickening Hair Spray, and City swept by Bumble and Bumble.