BWW Interviews: BEHANDING's Zoe Kazan
You may know her from Broadway's recent revival of The Seagull. Or, Come Back, Little Sheba. Or the feature films "Revolutionary Road" with Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet, "It's Complicated" with Meryl Streep and Alex Baldwin, "The Valley of Elah," "Me and Orson Welles"...the list goes on. True, she does bear the famous last name (grandfather is stage and screen director Elia Kazan), but Zoe is undoubtedly one of the most exciting and diverse up-and-comers in entertainment, and can currently be found every night at the Shoenfeld Theatre starring alongside Christopher Walken, Sam Rockwell and Anthony Mackie in Martin McDonough's A Behanding in Spokane, directed by John Crowley.
In Behanding, Carmichael (Christopher Walken) has been searching for his missing left hand for almost half a century. Enter two bickering, drug-dealing lovebirds (Anthony Mackie and Zoe Kazan) with a hand to sell, and a hotel clerk (Sam Rockwell) with an aversion to gunfire. The result is a rollercoaster of love, hate, desperation and hope.
A graduate of Yale University, Zoe made her New York stage debut in the Off-Broadway revival of The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie. Other Off-Broadway work includes Things We Want, and 100 Saints You Should Know, for which she received a Drama Desk Award nomination for Outstanding Featured Actress in a Play and a Lucille Lortel Award nomination for Outstanding Featured Actress. Kazan made her Broadway debut in a revival of William Inge's Come Back, Little Sheba. Following this role, Zoe was named the recipient of the 2008 Derwent Award. Zoe is the only actor to be awarded the Derwent Award for three roles in one year: Come Back, Little Sheba, 100 Saints You Should Know and Things We Want. Zoe returned to Broadway in the New York adaptation of the London hit The Seagull. Also a playwright, Zoe's family drama, Absalom, was produced at the 2009 Humana Festival at the Actor's Theater of Louisville. A second play has been commissioned by Manhattan Theater Club and is currently in development. In addition to "Revolutionary Road," "It's Complicated," "In the Valley of Elah," and "Me and Orson Welles," Zoe's films include "Fracture," "August," "The Private Lives of Pippa Lee," "I Hate Valentine's Day," "HappyThankYouMorePlease," and "The Exploding Girl," for which she was awarded Best Actress in a Narrative Feature Film by the Tribeca Film Festival.
BroadwayWorld recently caught up with the actress to talk about how she has found success alongside some of the greatest performers in the industry, and, now with some of the run under her belt, just what it's like to be a member of the eccentric Behanding family.
To begin, tell me a bit about how and when you started performing professionally. I know that you had a more traditional liberal arts education at Yale.
Well, I wasn't working when I was in college. But in the course of the next year after I got out of school I did a series of classes and performances and through luck I got an agent. It's a long story but basically an agent saw me perform and recommended to another agent who told me that if I was ever in anything, she would come see me with an eye to represent me. Not long after that I did a play reading as a favor to a friend and off of that I signed with my agent. At the time I signed with her, though, I really wanted to go back to school to get my MFA and was in a place where I thought I didn't really want to work. I just wanted to take an acting classes and try to concentrate on that. But then I got my first job and just didn't want to go back to school after that. It was like cocaine, one taste and, you know....(laughs). Getting an MFA takes a long time, three years, and I just felt after my first gig that I wanted to be working instead.