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Private school-educated vampire. Cancer-stricken wannabe politician. A ditsy Valley Girl trying to survive a zombie apocalypse… It feels like there’s no limit to the far-reaching versatility of ZOEY DEUTCH. Set to star in a Zombieland remake and Netflix satirical comedy The Politician this autumn, MAYBELLE MORGAN speaks with the actress poised for leading lady status.

Photography by SASHA SAMSONOVA



Underwear by La Perla,tights by Falke, hat by Gladys Ramez and shoes by Gianvito Rossi

All clothing by La Perlaand shoes by Charles & Keith

All clothing by La Perla

There is an unwritten agreement between interviewer and interviewee: the conversation goes one way. I ask the questions and get the answers. As journalists, we facilitate a deep-dive into other people’s lives. That’s just how it is. And that’s fine. But before I even get Zoey Deutch on the phone, just like a Fleabag-esque break of the fourth wall, she goes onto my Twitter account – pretty much a flurry of memes, lols and unsolicited opinions – and has liked two of my tweets. The blue tick next to her name on the notification sends a volt of panic through my body, her approval as clear as day next to a droll nostalgia comment about season two American Idol winner Ruben Studdard. And if my brain wasn’t already going into overdrive, it does even more so when we finally pick up the phone to talk to each other and she instantly tells me her dog’s name almost perfectly resembles my own, but in a way that makes me feel like we’ve been friends for years: “Well, her name is Mabel, but the way you say it is way cooler.” Zoey Deutch is someone who pays attention.

When I ask her about #Twittergate, the 24-year-old is matter-of-fact. “I have a couple of friends that are journalists or writers,” Deutch chirps, her accent giving away subtle tell-tale twinges of her Valley origins. “And I’m like, well, you guys do research and look things up, so it’s not fair for me to go blindly into it if you guys know everything. Now you know what it feels like!” From the outset I can tell that she is not a passive person, or someone that just lets things just happen to her. Everything on her plate in front of her is an accumulation of years of hard work, and her lengthy portfolio shows it. The daughter of Back To The Future actress Lea Thompson and Pretty In Pink director Howard Deutch, it would have been easy for her to ride their legacy in a series of easy type-cast rom-coms, as many young actors often choose to, but no genre trends have formed in her work in the decade she has been active. Just a host of interesting, complex, well-formed characters.

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After being drawn to acting and improv, she enrolled at the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts, later nabbing a role with cult director Richard Linklater in Everybody Wants Some!!,then playing a rebellious firecracker in indie flick Flower,and cementing herself as a tour de force as a scrunchie-toting hustler in Buffaloed – which Deutch also produced. And for a while now, the actress has simmered just below household name status, but now it’s clear, especially with her two impressive forthcoming feats, that she’s just hit boiling point.  

First up, The Politician, the razor-sharp Netflix satirical comedy series sporting an all-star cast of Broadway wunderkind Ben Platt, Gwyneth Paltrow, Jessica Lange, and, you guessed it, Deutch. Giving it that extra gold dust coating is the fact it has been helmed by Ryan Murphy, the maker of Glee and American Horror Story, a creator with an infinite penchant for producing viral TV shows. Following a brutal student body president race, Deutch plays Infinity Jackson, “somebody who is diminutive, inspiring and likeable and seemingly very ill,” the campaign running mate of Ben Platt, a student poising himself for world domination, even fancying himself an eventual Presidential candidate. Even though Deutch left her days in television behind in her teens, for her it was a no-brainer.

“When I was sent the script, I immediately knew,” she remembers. “It was the best pilot I’d ever read. But my character, I didn’t understand what was going on with her, which was the point. Ben Platt had called me and was like ‘this is the way you should do it and the way you should audition’.” Oscar, Tony and Emmy Award-winning actress Jessica Lange plays Deutch’s opportunistic grandmother, someone who her character has “a very complicated relationship with,” which is an understatement if you’ve seen the viral social media reaction to the show’s clip of Lange delivering the outrageously homophobic line: “that’s what gays do: munch butts and celebrate Halloween”. Jaws forever on the floor. And of course, Infinity Jackson is left to deal with the PR shit-storm.

All clothing by La Perla

Bodysuit by La Perla, socks by Falke and shoes by Christian Louboutin

All clothing by La Perla

When I ask Deutch what it is like to work with legendary Lange, she gushes. “It was a dream and a half, she is just an awesome human being,” her voice glimmers. “You never know how these relationships are going to change and move, but sometimes you get really lucky that you just immediately click. And that was the case for her and I: same sense of humour, working styles, sensibilities. I am really grateful for the friendship and getting to chance to work with her.”

If there’s anything to learn about Deutch’s body of work so far, it’s to expect the unexpected. The actress can appear to take a single trajectory, then swerve and change course completely, such is her versatile, amorphous allure.

Also highly-anticipated, is Zombieland: Double Tap, the follow-up to the cult 2009 post-apocalyptic zombie comedy, coming a whole ten years later in a remarkable industry rarity (usually a decade timeframe warrants a remake not a sequel). In another industry rarity, it reunites the original ensemble cast – Woody Harrelson, Emma Stone, Jesse Eisenberg, with the addition of Deutch. In a hilarious nod to Deutch’s own roots, she will playa Valley archetype, who is definitely stuck in 2009, which is when the apocalypse happened, and someone who is very inspired by Paris Hilton and her bedazzled pink Juicy Couture tracksuits.” And while it is widely acknowledged that stellar acting should always give the illusion of a cast having fun, Deutch assures me that this was very much the case on set. There were points that we couldn’t get our shit together so badly that we had to come back and reshoot scenes because we were laughing so hard,” she chuckles. “Fun, I associate with being with my friends and travelling, hanging out with Mabel and eating good pasta, but I don’t have the expectation that work should be fun. I’ve also gotten good at picking myself and my work apart, and finding like 40 things to be mad at myself about, but instead I felt really good, really free and ready for the next day. These were the most respected and coolest actors, and the fact that they were open and embracing to me joining their little Zombieland family, I will forever be grateful for.”

All clothhing by La Perla

Underwear by La Perla,tights by Falkeand hat by Gladys Tamez

One look at the social media accounts of Deutch and it’s clear that she has never been someone to shy away from vocalising her own struggles with anxiety and mental health. And with nearly 2 million followers on Instagram, the irony is not lost on her that this hefty following in turn means that a certain amount of responsibility comes with being in the public eye. “I’m a Jewish girl from LA,” she sighs. “I joke that that in my community if you aren’t seeing a therapist, it’s like what’s wrong with you, whereas in the rest of the world if you are seeing a therapist, the rest of the world is like what is wrong with you. I sometimes feel like somebody’s tapping me on the shoulder telling me I need to be more vocal about XYZ, or that this is the hot topic to discuss right now.” She hesitates, quietly adding: “I also embrace the idea that people who have anxiety or depression tend to be really smart; the world is really, really hard, and it means you’re more in tune and aware of how hard things are and you take that on and sometimes I think that can be very helpful.”

I notice that Deutch clears her voice before answering every single question, as if to make herself as coherent and clear as possible. When I ask her how she feels about being on the precipice of household name status, she begins tentatively, but sounds sure of herself. “I feel like my brain and my heart are in a very good place, ready for whatever life comes to bring me,” she admits, “I’m certainly trying to pay attention to setting a course of action for my life, and have control over my life which I think has been huge for me. And I think I wasn’t really in touch with that before. It feels exciting. I spent so much of my life feeling anxious or out of control or scared, and now I feel like those things feel more like a superpower than kryptonite for me right now. It feels like my anxiety and my nerves and my fears are driving me and pushing my ambition in a positive direction rather than holding me back.”

All clothhing by La Perla

Hair by Gregory Russell at The Wall Group using Oribe

Makeup by Jenna Kristina at The Wall Group using Chanel

Manicure Nettie Davis

Production Federica Barletta

Fashion Assistants Thanda Gibson and Sebastien b

Special thanks to The LINE Hotel Los Angeles

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