This summer, Zooey Deschanel takes an unlikely leap into the world of M. Night Shyamalan.
The whole idea of Zooey Deschanel — the quality that gets movie critics calling her quirky and directors calling her day and night — is that she's the antistarlet. No entourage, no attitude, no nonsense. For our teatime rendezvous, she chooses a restaurant on a fringe of downtown Manhattan so obscure that the neighborhood doesn't have a name. She tiptoes in looking like a graceful version of boho-chic 28-year-olds found everywhere from Brooklyn to Silver Lake, with an Obama button on her vintage coat and The New Yorker rolled up in her pocket. She's the literary type, right down to her idiosyncratic name, which her parents — who raised her mostly in L.A. — lifted from J. D. Salinger's Franny and Zooey. "I waited a very long time before I read it," she confesses. "What if I hated it? I read everything else of his first."
The one thing Deschanel doesn't want to read is her own reviews. "But sometimes my mother will call and read me things she deems fit," she admits. We should hope that Mom (Mary Jo, an actress who appeared in The Patriot, which her husband, Oscar-nominated cinematographer Caleb, shot) has passed along the raves Zooey won for enlivening Almost Famous, Elf, and too many indie flicks to count.
The next round of accolades should follow this summer's The Happening, from M. Night Shyamalan, maker of such sweep-the-rug-out suspense flicks as The Sixth Sense. "This one's not a twist movie," Deschanel promises. "I don't think." What's certain is that she and Mark Wahlberg play a couple weathering domestic and supernatural crises. Shooting her first big thriller felt similar to making Gigantic, the tiny romance with Paul Dano that's brought her to New York: "The main difference is the size of the trailers."
On her furloughs from Gigantic, Deschanel's been promoting a debut album that's anything but your usual bag of hyphenate pop corn. Recorded with singer-songwriter M. Ward and released as She & Him: Volume One, it's a wistful collection that's got reviewers invoking Carly Simon and Dusty Springfield. "When we started, it was pure of any expectations," Deschanel recalls. "Then once we had an album, it was like, Well, we ought to do something with it."
A more conventional singer-actress would consider it time for a break, but Deschanel hasn't been on a pleasure trip in the decade since she and older sister Emily, star of TV's Bones, grew out of adolescence and family vacations. "But my jobs are very fun," she pleads. "Almost too much fun!" Pressed, she concedes that it might be nice to relax at this one hotel in Sardinia with no phones and no televisions. Get thee to the Mediterranean, Zooey, and be sure — for once — to pack a nice juicy beach book. source