Zoe Kazan

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Zoe Kazan
Zoe kazan 2014 (cropped).jpg
Kazan at a screening of The F Word in 2014
Born Zoe Swicord Kazan
(1983-09-09) September 9, 1983 (age 35)
Los Angeles, California
United States
Education Bachelor of Arts
Alma mater Yale University
Occupation Actress, playwright
Years active 2003–present
Partner(s) Paul Dano (2007–present)
Parent(s) Robin Swicord
Nicholas Kazan
Relatives Maya Kazan (sister)
Elia Kazan (grandfather)
Molly Kazan (grandmother)

Zoe Swicord Kazan (born September 9, 1983)[1][2][3] is an American actress and playwright. Kazan made her acting debut in Swordswallowers and Thin Men (2003) and later appeared in films such as The Savages (2007), Revolutionary Road (2008) and It's Complicated (2009). She starred in happythankyoumoreplease (2010), Meek's Cutoff (2010) and Ruby Sparks (2012), for which she wrote the screenplay. In 2014, she starred in the film What If and the HBO mini-series Olive Kitteridge, for which she received an Emmy nomination. Kazan has also acted in several Broadway productions.

Early life

Kazan was born in Los Angeles, the daughter of screenwriters Nicholas Kazan and Robin Swicord. Her paternal grandparents were film and theatre director Elia Kazan and playwright Molly (Thacher) Kazan.[4] Through her paternal grandmother, she is a direct descendant of classicist and college administrator Thomas Anthony Thacher, Yale president Jeremiah Day, and statesman Roger Sherman. Kazan has a younger sister, Maya (born 1986). She has Greek (from her paternal grandfather), English, and German ancestry.[5]

Kazan was educated at the private Wildwood School, Windward School, and also at the Marlborough School, located in Hancock Park, Los Angeles. She attended Yale University (also her grandfather's alma mater—where she was a member of the Manuscript Society), graduating in 2005 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Theatre.[6]


After her film debut in 2003 playing Samantha in Swordswallowers and Thin Men, Kazan went on to play her first professional stage role in the 2006 off-Broadway revival of The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie starring Cynthia Nixon. In 2007 she had a small role in The Savages, which starred Laura Linney and Philip Seymour Hoffman. She also guest appeared in an episode of the supernatural drama Medium as a friend of the main character's younger self. She next appeared in the films Fracture and In the Valley of Elah. In the fall of the same year, she returned to the stage in a The New Group production of 100 Saints You Should Know and Jonathan Marc Sherman's Things We Want, directed by Ethan Hawke.

Kazan in 2012 at the Deauville American Film Festival.

In January 2008, Kazan made her Broadway debut opposite S. Epatha Merkerson and Kevin Anderson in a revival of William Inge's Come Back, Little Sheba. Ben Brantley of The New York Times called her performance "first-rate", adding, "Ms. Kazan is terrific in conveying the character's self-consciousness."[7] In the fall, she appeared on Broadway as Masha in Anton Chekhov's The Seagull opposite Kristin Scott Thomas and Peter Sarsgaard.[8] The same year she had roles in August, Me and Orson Welles and Revolutionary Road.

Kazan is also a playwright. In 2009, her play Absalom premiered at the Humana Festival of New American Plays in Louisville, KY. The play, about a father's tense relationships with his children, had been extensively read and workshopped since Kazan's junior year at Yale University.[9] She capped off the year playing Meryl Streep's daughter in the Nancy Meyers comedy It's Complicated. She appeared in the Broadway production of A Behanding in Spokane with Christopher Walken and Sam Rockwell until June 6, 2010. She also played a main role in the movies I Hate Valentine's Day and The Exploding Girl, which were both released in 2009.

In 2010, she had a main role in the comedy-drama happythankyoumoreplease as Mary Catherine, the cousin of Josh Radnor's character. She also starred as Millie Gately in 2010 (alongside Paul Dano, playing her husband) in Kelly Reichardt's independent western drama Meek's Cutoff. In the fall, Kazan played Harper Pitt in Signature Theatre Company's 20th Anniversary production of Tony Kushner's Angels in America.[10] On the small screen, Kazan then appeared in four episodes of HBO's Bored to Death as Nina, the love interest of a fictionalized Jonathan Ames played by Jason Schwartzman.

Her play We Live Here, about a dysfunctional family, received its world premiere production from October 12 to November 6, 2011 at the off-Broadway Manhattan Theater Club in New York City.[11] Among the ensemble cast was Amy Irving and the director was 2010 Obie Award winner Sam Gold.

Her next project, for which she wrote the screenplay, was Ruby Sparks, a comedy-romance film directed by Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris, and starring Kazan herself, along with Paul Dano, Chris Messina, Antonio Banderas, Annette Bening, Deborah Ann Woll, and Steve Coogan.[12][13]

In 2014, her third play Trudy and Max in Love opened at the South Coast Repertory[14] and she played the role of Denise Thibodeau in the HBO miniseries Olive Kitteridge.

Personal life

Kazan has been dating actor Paul Dano since 2007.[15][16]


Kazan at the 2011 Tribeca Film Festival
List of film credits
Year Title Role Notes
2003 Swordswallowers and Thin Men Samantha
2007 Savages, TheThe Savages Student
2007 Fracture Mona
2007 In the Valley of Elah Angie
2008 August Gal Employee
2008 Me and Orson Welles Gretta Adler
2008 Revolutionary Road Maureen Grube
2009 Exploding Girl, TheThe Exploding Girl Ivy
2009 Private Lives of Pippa Lee, TheThe Private Lives of Pippa Lee Grace Lee
2009 I Hate Valentine's Day Tammy Greenwood
2009 It's Complicated Gabby Adler National Board of Review Award for Best Cast
2010 happythankyoumoreplease Mary Catherine
2010 Meek's Cutoff Millie Gately
2012 Ruby Sparks Ruby Also writer
Detroit Film Critics Society for Breakthrough Performance
Nominated—Saturn Award for Best Actress
Nominated—Independent Spirit Award for Best Screenplay
2012 Some Girl(s) Reggie
2013 The Pretty One Laurel Audrey
2013 The F Word (What If) Chantry
2014 In Your Eyes Rebecca Porter
2015 Our Brand Is Crisis LeBlanc
2016 My Blind Brother
List of television credits
Year Title Role Notes
2007 Medium Izzy Episode: "The Boy Next Door"
2008 Speechless Stood Up Girl #2 Documentary
2008 After Iraq Herself Documentary
2008 HBO First Look Herself Episode: "The Making of 'Revolutionary Road'"
2010 Bored to Death Nina 4 episodes
2011 Showing Up Herself Documentary
2014 Olive Kitteridge Denise Thibodeau 2 episodes
Nominated—Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or Movie
Nominated—Satellite Award for Best Supporting Actress – Series, Miniseries, or Television Film


List of theatre credits
Year Title Role Theater Notes
2006 The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie Sandy Acorn Theatre [17]
2007 100 Saints You Should Know Abby Playwrights Horizons [18]
2007 Things We Want Stella Acorn Theatre [19]
2008 Come Back, Little Sheba. Marie Biltmore Theatre [20]
2008 The Seagull Masha Walter Kerr Theatre [21]
2009 Absalom ---- Actors Theatre of Louisville Playwright [22]
2010 A Behanding in Spokane Marilyn Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre [23]
2010 Angels in America Harper Pitt Signature Theatre [24]
2011 We Live Here ---- Manhattan Theater Club Playwright [25]
2013 Clive Joanne Acorn Theatre [26]
2014 Trudy and Max in Love ---- South Coast Repertory Playwright [14]
2014 When We Were Young and Unafraid Mary Anne Manhattan Theater Club [27]


  1. "CUE & A: Zoe Kazan". Playbill.com. March 9, 2010. 
  2. "Zoe Swicord Kazan - California, Birth Index". FamilySearch. Retrieved 21 October 2014. 
  3. "30 Under 30 – Zoe Kazan". BroadwaySpace.com. 2011. Age: 27 (09/09/83) 
  4. "Nicholas Kazan Biography". FilmReference.com. 
  5. "Zoe Kazan". ethnicelebs. Retrieved 12 November 2014. 
  6. "Zoe Kazan Biography". The New York Times. Retrieved 13 September 2015. 
  7. "Theater Review: 'Come Back, Little Sheba'". January 25, 2008. 
  8. "The Seagull". Internet Broadway Database. Retrieved September 29, 2008. 
  9. "Zoe Kazan, Charles L. Mee, Naomi Wallace Are Among 2009 Humana Fest Writers". Playbill.com. November 13, 2008. Retrieved July 31, 2009. 
  10. "Announcing the Cast of ANGELS IN AMERICA". Signature Theatre Company. 2010. 
  11. http://www.manhattantheaterclub.com/past-shows/welivehere
  12. "Ruby Sparks - Movie Trailers - iTunes". iTunes. Retrieved April 21, 2012. 
  13. Stephen Holden (2012-07-24). "She’s Everything He Wants, and Therein Lies the Problem ‘Ruby Sparks,’ Written by and Starring Zoe Kazan". The New York Times. 
  14. 14.0 14.1 "Review: 'Trudy and Max in Love's' amorous, adulterous journey". The Los Angeles Times. 13 January 2014. Retrieved 3 July 2015. 
  15. "Actual Couples Explore a Fantasy, the Aesthetic Sort". The New York Times. 20 July 2012. Retrieved 3 July 2015. 
  16. "Love and Mercy's Paul Dano relates to Brian Wilson's tortured genius". The Sydney Morning Herald. 4 June 2015. Retrieved 3 July 2015. 
  17. "A Teacher Still Warping Young Minds, but Gently". The New York Times. 10 October 2006. Retrieved 3 July 2015. 
  18. "Review: ‘100 Saints You Should Know’". Variety. 18 September 2007. Retrieved 3 July 2015. 
  19. "A Boys’ Guide to Narcotizing the Pain". The New York Times. 8 November 2007. Retrieved 3 July 2015. 
  20. "Theater Review: 'Come Back, Little Sheba'". The New York Times. 25 January 2008. Retrieved 3 July 2015. 
  21. "Marquee value: The Seagull at the Walter Kerr Theatre". Playbill. 18 August 2008. Retrieved 3 July 2015. 
  22. "'Absalom' an intriguing, complex debut for Kazan". The Courier-Journal. 14 March 2009. Retrieved 3 July 2015. 
  23. Als, Hilton (15 March 2010). "The Theatre: Underhanded". The New Yorker. Retrieved 3 July 2015. 
  24. Dziemianowicz, Joe (29 October 2010). "'Angels in America' review: Zachary Quinto flies high in perfect revival of Tony Kushner play". NY Daily News. Retrieved 3 July 2015. 
  25. "Theatre Review We Live Here". The New York Times. 12 October 2011. Retrieved 3 July 2015. 
  26. "Clive: Theater Review". The Hollywood Reporter. 2 February 2013. Retrieved 3 July 2015. 
  27. "‘When We Were Young and Unafraid,’ theater review". NY Daily News. 17 June 2014. Retrieved 3 July 2015. 

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