Believe it or not, it’s much less work as an actor when you’re starring in a movie and you also happen to have written it. “Ruby Sparks” screenwriter and star Zoe Kazan tells Zap2it that because she spent so much time on the screenplay, she didn’t have to do any prep when it came time to acting in the quirky romantic comedy.
“I tend to spend as much time as I can preparing,” Kazan says. “When working on this I had done all my prep in writing it, so weirdly it was less work as an actor.”
It’s a completely different experience acting in your own movie versus acting in something someone else has written. It’s also an interesting experience when other actors are saying the lines you thought up.
“Part of what the movie is about is control,” Kazan says of her movie, which costars her real-life boyfriend Paul Dano as an author who writes a story about a character named Ruby Sparks, then wakes up the next day to find his dream girl (Kazan) is real. Naturally she wouldn’t have written about control issues if it didn’t hit close to home in her own life.
She was able to let go, because the cast (Dano and the ubiquitous Chris Messina) and directors (“Little Miss Sunshine” directors Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris) were so talented. “I think that when you hire people that are as good as the people we got to put in this movie,” there isn’t a problem. “I definitely had moments [where I thought] ‘What is going on?’ when time was running short — there was definitely more work on set than I anticipated.”
It’s hard to complain when something you worked so hard on is coming to life, though. “Most of the time I was so pleased that it was actually happening — Antonio Banderas is saying your words!”
But just because the tone of the movie is light and breezy doesn’t mean the movie doesn’t get a little serious. “I think I would’ve felt really uncomfortable writing a movie in which a man has complete control over a woman and not explore the darker sides of that,” Kazan explains
As for the future, Kazan has already finished the first draft of another screenplay in addition to filming four movies this year, including one written by Joss Whedon, one by Neil LaBute, one where she plays identical twins and a romantic comedy with the man also known as Harry Potter.
“I just finished a movie called ‘The F Word’ that I shot with Daniel Radcliffe in Toronto,” she says. “It’s a romantic comedy as well but very different than ‘Ruby Sparks.’ But like [‘Ruby Sparks’], it’s not straight up and down — it’s a little unexpected.”
“Ruby Sparks” is available on DVD and Blu-ray now.