|by Thomas Chau, UGO Contributing Editor
Having won acclaim at such a young age playing several different and unique characters, Zooey Deschanel is one of Hollywoodís finest buried treasures. She makes the jump, however, in New Line Cinemaís Elf, in what could be called her most mainstream role yet. Zooey plays the beautiful Jovie, a cynical but spirited girl working at a New York City department store for the Christmas holiday. She befriends an unusual man named Buddy (Will Ferrell) who claims to be a real elf from the North Pole. Whether she believes him or not, Jovie begins to develop a romance with him as he helps bring Christmas cheer to her. Aaaaw.
QUESTION: You must be really happy to be a in a project like this. Does it fulfill a fantasy?
ZOOEY DESCHANEL (ZD): Well, I didnít fantasize about it! (Laughs)
QUESTION: But it mustíve been great to do a project where you could sing?
ZD: That was the thing that I always wanted to do Ė a musical. I started out doing a lot of musicals so it was cool that I got to sing in a movie. I loved Christmas movies and I loved the idea of a movie that could come back year after year, where people would watch again and hopefully get them in the Christmas spirit.
QUESTION: What are your favorite Christmas movies?
ZD: Iím going to name three. I have them all in my head cause Iíve been asked this question before: Itís a Wonderful Life, Miracle on 34th Street, and Iím going to say A Christmas Story. Everybodyís really excited when I say A Christmas Story because they say nobody wants to admit it. I donít know why, I think itís a great film!
QUESTION: How do you keep a straight face around Will when heís acting goofy?
ZD: I donít really remember. People keep asking me this and I think I keep making up answers. So Iím going to make up another one. (In a low voice) I just took a lot of drugs. (Laughs) No, I donít ever do any drugs. Thatís the truth, just so you all knowÖbut I think I bit my cheeks seriously. But I just kept trying to be in the reality of the moment where I think heís a crazy man. But a lot of the stuff where heís really crazy is mostly [when heís] single so that I can be far away in the other room.
QUESTION: Did you grow up believing in Santa Claus?
ZD: Yeah! I mean, I had lunch with him. (Laughs)
QUESTION: Did you have a favorite Christmas toy?
ZD: Yeah, there was a little dog named Wrinkles who talked that I loved. My grandparents gave him to me when I was six and he was like, ďWah wah wah, I want a bone.Ē Then there was this squishy, soft bone that you would put in his mouth and he would talk and it was just so cute!
QUESTION: Are you naturally brunette or blonde?
ZD: This is my hair, all grown out, havenít dyed it since February. (Zooey takes off her hat and proceeds to shake her brunette hair.) Iím never going to be blonde again!
QUESTION: Why? Donít blondes have more fun?
ZD: No! I have more fun as a brunette. Itís all lies.
QUESTION: Would you consider this your most mainstream role?
ZD: I guess, in some ways.
QUESTION: Well, youíve played a lot of unique characters in several independent films. What do you look for in a character when youíre flipping through scripts nowadays?
ZD: God, I just donít want to be bored. Itís like the worst thing when I read a script and Iím like, ďOh God, itís another really boring girlfriend part.Ē Or itís sometimes (in a perky voice,)ďOh, itís someoneís best friend who talks like this!Ē I try to do things that are different and interesting to me, and thatís important. I donít want to work if Iím not interested or challenged. I donít want to go to work and it have not something thatís exciting about it.
QUESTION: Since The Good GirlĒ and All the Real Girls, youíve been getting a lot of attention and great critical acclaim. Are you taking that stuff to heart?
ZD: Well, itís not good to take that to heart. Iím very flattered. Anything nice thatís said about me, I blush and grin. But then again, I donít want to be like, ďO.K., my work here is done. I got a good review.Ē Itís a constant struggle and you want to continue to be accepted. You never want to stop being accepted in a way. For me, Iím always trying to do good work and get better. Not a lot of jobs are like this where you have to keep reinventing yourself.
QUESTION: Whatís your dream project?
ZD: I donít know. I donít really have one. You never know until [a projectís] done. Itís hard to think of it because thatís like knowing no bounds. I donít know if I assembled it, if [I would think,] ďIt can be this person, and then me, and then this storyÖĒ I donít know if it would end up being a good movie, you know? All of the things that are the best usually happen by accident. Iím a fan of happy accidents, I think.
QUESTION: So did you get to keep your costume from Elf?
ZD: No, they only let, like, J-Lo keep her costume. (Laughs)
link directly to this feature at https://www.efilmcritic.com/feature.php?feature=846
originally posted: 11/04/03 09:01:01
last updated: 12/31/03 13:55:35