Talking ‘In Your Eyes’ at Tribeca with Zoe Kazan and Michael Stahl-David

In-Your-Eyes-8There’s something rather pleasant about knowing one of your favorite actresses is also an enjoyable person to chat with. Such is the case with Zoe Kazan, who’s an extremely talented young actress and an even nicer person to boot. I’ve had the pleasure of chatting with her twice before, so it was an easy call to want to interview her again, along with her In Your Eyes co-star Michael Stahl-David, when their film made the recent Tribeca rounds. Their strong chemistry in the movie was evident during our short time spent together, so much so that at times I just sat back and let Kazan and Stahl-David riff with each other. You can see the transcript of our rather brief chat below and you can watch In Your Eyes right now on the official website if you so desire (my positive take on the flick here might help). Enjoy!

We pick up after a bit of non movie related small talk between the three of us.

Joey Magidson: Alright, cool. Well, hello again.

Zoe Kazan: Hello!

Michael Stahl-David: Hey!

JM: When I first saw your quote about this being sort of Joss Whedon doing Nicholas Sparks, it was funny to me, since I sort of said the same thing about Jason Reitman and Labor Day…

ZK: Right, right. I probably shouldn’t have said that! I was just trying to find the most romantic thing out there, and I’ve only seen one Nicholas Sparks movie, which is The Notebook, and I love it.

JM: It’s the only good one.

ZK: It’s really good!

MSD: I have this friend who’s this tough Mexican guy, he grew up in Chicago, loves Nicholas Sparks and sees all of his movies. And he’s always complaining because…

(They both then say this at the same time, which I found amusing)

ZK and MSD: They’re not as good as the books!

(All of us laughing)

ZK: That makes me love him!

MSD: I love him. He actually played Crazy Eight on Breaking Bad. And I just sold him out.

JM: Awesome. This one you guys are in though, I liked how the concept was sort of in that Nicholas Sparks realm, but the execution is way different. It’s really well done and has very Joss Whedon type dialogue. He’s almost like Aaron Sorkin in that way, you just know the sound of his stuff…

ZK: That’s what I was trying to say.

MSD: Exactly.

JM: There we go, setting the record straight! I’m curious, how did you guys get involved in this sort of under the radar project?

ZK: They were definitely trying to do it under the radar. They went about casting it in a really unconventional way, just asking to see a handful of people. Normally when a movie is being cast, they put the script out to a bunch of agencies and go and meet with a bunch of people, but that didn’t happen. When Kai Cole and Joss made this company Bellwether Pictures, they wanted to do things a different way and sort of circumvent the system, so they went about casting it in a different way. I met with them, Michael auditioned for them, but I think you can see in the way that they decided to release this, using the Louis C.K. model of release, that they’re really trying to just make the movie they want to make and then get it out to the people.

JM: It’s definitely interesting to see the evolution of distribution. I think the next step is literally what Joss is doing here with this one.

ZK: I think what used to happen when there was less media was that a film like Little Miss Sunshine would go to Sundance, it would be nine months of build up, and then it would come out, but now the media cycle is so fast that nine months later sometimes the buzz has died, so being able to bring the movie to you faster is one of the things that they’re excited about.

JM: It’s rare now for that sort of build up release. I think Blue Valentine might have been the last one to debut at Sundance, go to Cannes, and then not come out until New Year’s Eve.

ZK: Right.

JM: It sometimes works, especially during Oscar season, but it doesn’t always either. A movie like In Your Eyes though, it could work both ways, which is cool.

ZK: Thanks.

MSD: Thanks.

JM: Without spoiling anything, you guys don’t have much screen time together. How did you work to build up the chemistry that’s so apparent on the screen?

MSD: There was a lot of playing off of each other…

ZK: We were in the room with each other…

MSD: We were. Um, we were always nearby. There was always a sense of playing off of something real, even though you couldn’t see it. You know, I’ve been in a long distance relationship…you know what movie I loved when I was a kid? I’ve always loved just conversation, conversation is romantic, and that’s why I love this movie, but I love the Before Sunrise movies, and that’s why I loved The Truth about Cats and Dogs when I was a teenager…

ZK: Mhmm.

MSD: And that’s how I kind of saw this movie, just two people getting to know each other. That’s romantic.

JM: It’s real.

MSD: Exactly.

JM: I’m big on that too. I seem to be one of the few who love Elizabethtown, but there’s a great scene of the two characters just getting to know each other on the phone in that one.

ZK: No, that’s so good.

JM: I’ve seen it way too many times. Getting back to this one though, you guys were both really good choices here since you’ve actually had experience acting against yourself in a way. They didn’t really release a monster in New York City and you didn’t clone yourself…

ZK: Right.

JM: I think it helped and really brought something to it.

ZK: You’re right. I also think it helped that we’ve both done a lot of stage work and feeling like you’re using your imagination to conjure up a world is really useful. You know, I think in some way having those experiences and using those muscles really helped.

MSD: Yeah, definitely.

JM: Good point. It does have a sort of play like feel to it…

ZK: Right.

JM: So I definitely see what you mean.

MSD: Yeah, yeah.

(Last question cue came now)

JM: Alright. Well, Zoe we talked about what’s next for you last time with The F Word, which just got a title change…

ZK: It did!

JM: So Michael, what’s next for you?

MSD: I did this movie called Take Care…

ZK: I want to see that!

MSD: Have you seen it? Betty is so good in that movie, it’s crazy! What was her last name?

ZK: Gilpin.

MSD: Betty Gilpin! It’s by Liz Tuccillo and the lead is played by…

ZK: Leslie Bibb!

MSD: Leslie Bibb! And Thomas Sadowski. I play an asshole in that. And it’s a fun, just a funny romantic comedy.

ZK: Did you go to South By with it?

MSD: I didn’t go, but it was down there.

ZK: Is that coming out this year?

MSD: Um, yeah. It’s in limbo. It’ll come out, it’s good, I just don’t know how or when. And then I have a short film that I wrote and directed that’ll play festivals this year.

ZK: That’s awesome! Who else is in it? What’s it called?

MSD: It’s called My Date with Carmelo…

ZK: Carmelo Anthony?

MSD: (laughs) No! That would be fun though. I made it with my friend Jeremy.

ZK: I met your friend Jeremy.

MSD: You did.

ZK: On the train, with you.

MSD: Really, with me?

ZK: You don’t remember that? After the play?

MSD: I believe you.

JM: I’m just going to let you do all of my interviews from now on Zoe. It’s a lot easier!

(All of us laughing)

JM: Thanks guys!

MSD: Thanks.

ZK: Thank you!

There you go now folks, my interview with Zoe Kazan (to add to the growing collection) and Michael Stahl-David. If you happened to miss my review of In Your Eyes, it’s right here, and be sure to check the film out now on the official website…

Thoughts? Discuss in the comments!

What do you think?

Film Lover

Written by Joey Magidson

When he’s not obsessing over new Oscar predictions on a weekly basis, Joey is seeing between 300 and 350 movies a year. He views the best in order to properly analyze the awards race/season each year, but he also watches the worst for reasons he mostly sums up as "so you all don't have to". In his spare time, you can usually find him complaining about the Jets or the Mets. Still, he lives and dies by film. Joey's a voting member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association.

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