Zoe Kazan

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Zoe Kazan
Zoe kazan 2014 (cropped).jpg
Kazan at a screening of The F Word in 2014
Zoe Swicord Kazan

(1983-09-09) September 9, 1983 (age 37)
Alma materYale University
  • Actor
  • playwright
  • screenwriter
Years active2003–present
Partner(s)Paul Dano (2007–present)

Zoe Swicord Kazan (born September 9, 1983)[1][2][3] is an American actress, playwright, and screenwriter. 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 Happy. Thank You. More. Please. (2010), Meek's Cutoff (2010), Ruby Sparks (2012), and What If (2013). In 2014, she appeared in the HBO miniseries Olive Kitteridge, for which she received an Emmy nomination. She portrayed Emily Gardner in the film The Big Sick (2017), and in 2018 she appeared in the Coen brothers film The Ballad of Buster Scruggs in the episode "The Gal Who Got Rattled".

Kazan has acted in several Broadway productions. She also wrote Ruby Sparks and co-wrote Wildlife (2018) with her partner, Paul Dano, who directed the film. In 2020, she appeared in the HBO miniseries The Plot Against America.

Early life[edit]

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 Kazan (née Thacher).[4] Elia Kazan was an Anatolian Greek emigrant from Istanbul. Her family original surname was Kazantzoglou (Greek: Καζαντζόγλου) .

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.[5]



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 Medium. 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.

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."[6] In the fall, she appeared on stage as Masha in a Broadway revival of Anton Chekhov's The Seagull opposite Kristin Scott Thomas, Carey Mulligan, and Peter Sarsgaard.[7] In 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.[8] 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 Happy. Thank You. More. Please. 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.[9] 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.[10] 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, along with Paul Dano, Chris Messina, Antonio Banderas, Annette Bening, Deborah Ann Woll, and Steve Coogan.[11][12]

In 2014, her third play Trudy and Max in Love opened at the South Coast Repertory.[13] Also in 2014, she starred in the HBO miniseries Olive Kitteridge, which earned her a Primetime Emmy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress in a Limited Series.

In 2017, Kazan co-starred in the critically acclaimed independent film The Big Sick alongside Kumail Nanjiani and Holly Hunter. In 2018, Wildlife was released to great critical acclaim. Kazan co-wrote the film with her partner Paul Dano, who also directed. The film stars Carey Mulligan and Jake Gyllenhaal. Kazan then starred in Joel and Ethan Coen's western anthology film, The Ballad of Buster Scruggs. She appears in the vignette "The Gal Who Got Rattled". Many critics have called out her performance as one of the highlights of the film.


In 2020, Kazan starred in the limited series The Plot Against America as Elizabeth "Bess" Levin. The show is based on the book by Philip Roth and debuted on HBO. Kazan starred alongside Winona Ryder, and John Turturro.[14]

Kazan will next star in Clickbait, a limited series for Netflix.[15]

Personal life[edit]

Kazan has been in a relationship with actor Paul Dano since 2007.[16][17] They have a daughter, Alma Day, born in August 2018.[18]



Kazan at the 2011 Tribeca Film Festival
Year Title Role Notes
2003 Swordswallowers and Thin Men Samantha
2007 The 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 The Exploding Girl Ivy
2009 The Private Lives of Pippa Lee Grace Lee
2009 I Hate Valentine's Day Tammy Greenwood
2009 It's Complicated Gabby Adler
2010 Happy. Thank You. More. Please. Mary Catherine
2010 Meek's Cutoff Millie Gately
2012 Ruby Sparks Ruby Also writer and executive producer
2013 Some Girl(s) Reggie
2013 The Pretty One Laurel/Audrey
2013 What If Chantry
2014 In Your Eyes Rebecca Porter
2015 Our Brand Is Crisis LeBlanc
2016 My Blind Brother Francie
2016 The Monster Kathy
2017 The Big Sick Emily Gardner
2018 Wildlife N/A Co-writer with Paul Dano
2018 The Ballad of Buster Scruggs Alice Longabaugh Segment: "The Gal Who Got Rattled"
2019 The Kindness of Strangers Clara
2021 Cryptozoo Voice


Year Title Role Notes
2007 Medium Izzy Episode: "The Boy Next Door"
2008 Speechless Stood Up Girl #2 Documentary
2008 After Iraq Herself Documentary
2010 Bored to Death Nina 4 episodes
2011 Showing Up Herself Documentary
2014 Olive Kitteridge Denise Thibodeau 2 episodes
2017–19 The Deuce Andrea Martino 8 episodes
2020 The Plot Against America Elizabeth Levin 6 episodes
TBA Clickbait Pia Brewer Upcoming miniseries


Year Title Role Playwright Venue Notes
2006 The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie Sandy Muriel Spark Acorn Theatre, Off-Broadway [19]
2007 100 Saints You Should Know Abby Kate Fodor Playwrights Horizons, Off-Broadway [20]
2007 Things We Want Stella Jonathan Marc Sherman Acorn Theatre, Off-Broadway [21]
2008 Come Back, Little Sheba Marie William Inge Biltmore Theatre, Broadway [22]
2008 The Seagull Masha Anton Chekov Walter Kerr Theatre, Broadway [23]
2009 Absalom N/A Zoe Kazan Actors Theatre of Louisville [24]
2010 A Behanding in Spokane Marilyn Martin McDonagh Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre, Broadway [25]
2010 Angels in America Harper Pitt Tony Kushner Signature Theatre, Off-Broadway [26]
2011 We Live Here N/A Zoe Kazan Manhattan Theater Club [27]
2013 Clive Joanne Jonathan Marc Sherman Acorn Theatre, Off-Broadway [28]
2014 Trudy and Max in Love N/A Zoe Kazan South Coast Repertory [13]
2014 When We Were Young and Unafraid Mary Anne Sarah Treem Manhattan Theater Club, Off-Broadway [29]
2016 Love Love Love Rose Mike Bartlett Roundabout Theatre, Off-Broadway [30]
2017 After the Blast N/A Zoe Kazan Lincoln Center Theatre [31]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Association Category Work Result
2009 National Board of Review Best Cast It's Complicated Won
2012 Detroit Film Critics Society Breakthrough Performance Ruby Sparks Won
Saturn Awards Best Actress Nominated
Independent Spirit Awards Best Screenplay Nominated
2015 Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Limited Series or Movie Olive Kitteridge Nominated
Satellite Awards Best Supporting Actress – Series, Miniseries or Television Film Nominated
2017 Critics' Choice Movie Awards Best Actress in a Comedy The Big Sick Nominated
Screen Actors Guild Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture Nominated



  1. ^ "CUE & A: Zoe Kazan". Playbill. March 9, 2010.
  2. ^ "Zoe Swicord Kazan - California, Birth Index". FamilySearch. Retrieved October 21, 2014.
  3. ^ "30 Under 30 – Zoe Kazan". BroadwaySpace.com. 2011. Age: 27 (09/09/83)
  4. ^ "Nicholas Kazan Biography". FilmReference.com.
  5. ^ "Zoe Kazan Biography". The New York Times. Retrieved September 13, 2015.
  6. ^ "Theater Review: 'Come Back, Little Sheba'". January 25, 2008.
  7. ^ "The Seagull". Internet Broadway Database. Retrieved September 29, 2008.
  8. ^ "Zoe Kazan, Charles L. Mee, Naomi Wallace Are Among 2009 Humana Fest Writers". Playbill. November 13, 2008. Retrieved July 31, 2009.
  9. ^ "Announcing the Cast of 'Angels in America'". Signature Theatre Company. 2010.
  10. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on December 17, 2013. Retrieved August 17, 2012.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  11. ^ "Ruby Sparks - Movie Trailers - iTunes". iTunes Store. Retrieved April 21, 2012.
  12. ^ Stephen Holden (July 24, 2012). "She's Everything He Wants, and Therein Lies the Problem 'Ruby Sparks,' Written by and Starring Zoe Kazan". The New York Times.
  13. ^ a b "Review: 'Trudy and Max in Love's' amorous, adulterous journey". Los Angeles Times. January 13, 2014. Retrieved July 3, 2015.
  14. ^ "For Zoe Kazan, 'Plot Against America' Is 'Scarily Prescient' And Personal". NPR. Retrieved January 16, 2021.
  15. ^ Petski, Denise (December 2, 2019). "'Clickbait': Zoe Kazan, Betty Gabriel, Adrian Grenier & Phoenix Raei Join Netflix Thriller Limited Series". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved June 16, 2020.
  16. ^ "Actual Couples Explore a Fantasy, the Aesthetic Sort". The New York Times. July 20, 2012. Retrieved July 3, 2015.
  17. ^ "Love and Mercy's Paul Dano relates to Brian Wilson's tortured genius". The Sydney Morning Herald. June 4, 2015. Retrieved July 3, 2015.
  18. ^ "Paul Dano and Zoe Kazan Welcome a Daughter". People. October 25, 2018.
  19. ^ "A Teacher Still Warping Young Minds, but Gently". The New York Times. October 10, 2006. Retrieved July 3, 2015.
  20. ^ "Review: '100 Saints You Should Know'". Variety. September 18, 2007. Retrieved July 3, 2015.
  21. ^ "A Boys' Guide to Narcotizing the Pain". The New York Times. November 8, 2007. Retrieved July 3, 2015.
  22. ^ "Theater Review: 'Come Back, Little Sheba'". The New York Times. January 25, 2008. Retrieved July 3, 2015.
  23. ^ "Marquee value: The Seagull at the Walter Kerr Theatre". Playbill. August 18, 2008. Archived from the original on October 20, 2012. Retrieved July 3, 2015.
  24. ^ "'Absalom' an intriguing, complex debut for Kazan". The Courier-Journal. March 14, 2009. Retrieved July 3, 2015.
  25. ^ Als, Hilton (March 15, 2010). "The Theatre: Underhanded". The New Yorker. Retrieved July 3, 2015.
  26. ^ Dziemianowicz, Joe (October 29, 2010). "'Angels in America' review: Zachary Quinto flies high in perfect revival of Tony Kushner play". Daily News. New York. Retrieved July 3, 2015.
  27. ^ "Theatre Review We Live Here". The New York Times. October 12, 2011. Retrieved July 3, 2015.
  28. ^ "Clive: Theater Review". The Hollywood Reporter. February 2, 2013. Retrieved July 3, 2015.
  29. ^ "'When We Were Young and Unafraid,' theater review". Daily News. New York. June 17, 2014. Retrieved July 3, 2015.
  30. ^ "'Take a Look at Roundabout's Love, Love Love,'". Playbill. October 4, 2016. Retrieved October 6, 2016.
  31. ^ "Zoe Kazan's After the Blast Opens Off-Broadway | Playbill". Playbill. Retrieved November 16, 2017.
  32. ^ Kazan, Zoe (October 7, 2008). "Zoe Kazan: Five Plays in Two Years—and Loving It". Broadway.com. Retrieved March 15, 2019.
  33. ^ Walken, Christopher (August 16, 2010). "The Leonard Lopate Show: Zoe Kazan". WNYC. Archived from the original (audio) on November 28, 2010. Retrieved March 15, 2019.
  34. ^ Chat Room (November 7, 2007). "Zoe Kazan on the Difference Between Nude Scenes and Ones in Panties". New York Magazine. Retrieved March 15, 2019.

External links[edit]