GIRL ON FILM Zoey Deutch is feted by Max Mara.
The 2017 Women in Film Max Mara Face of the Future Award goes to ZOEY DEUTCH, and she’s determined to keep the focus on female storytellers.
IN OCTOBER 2015, Jennifer Lawrence wrote a piece for Lena Dunham’s feminist newsletter, Lenny, headlined “Why Do I Make Less Than My Male Co-stars?”. It revealed how she was forced to question her skills as a negotiator after the Sony hack leaks broadcast just how much more the male co-stars in her films were earning. Since then, many other prominent female actors have spoken out about the challenges of being a woman working in Hollywood, from Mila Kunis’s impassioned opinion piece detailing how she was told she’d “never work in this town again” when she refused to promote one of her films by posing half naked for a men’s magazine, to Reese Witherspoon talking about experiencing “Smurfette Syndrome” — being the only woman on set — for the first 25 years of her career. while the status quo is far from perfect, one only need look at the box office success of such empowering films as Hidden Figures, about a team of African-american women at NASA, to see that things are slowly changing for the better, thanks in part to initiatives such as the annual Women in Film Max Mara Face of the Future Award.
Now in its 12th year, the award champions a female actor on the cusp of making it big. this year, the recipient is Zoey Deutch, best known for her role as Rose in Vampire Academy, but who also recently starred alongside Bryan Cranston, Megan Mullally and James Franco in the comedy Why Him?. today she is in Milan to attend the brand’s A/W 2017 show (tellingly, the penultimate line of the collection notes is “Max Mara has long championed the modern heroine in her climb to the top”). “i have been going to the [Women in Film Max Mara] Face of the Future event in LA for many years,” says Deutch, who is warding off the chill in a Max Mara coat as oversized as she is petite. “When I got the email about being this year’s recipient, I didn’t read it right, because I never expected it. I called and told my publicist I would love to go to the event, and they were like, ‘So, OK, you are going to fly to Milan’, and I was like, ‘why Milan?’, and she was like, ‘no, you are getting the award’, and I was like, ‘whaaaaaat?’
“I mean, it’s pretty exciting because I love being aligned with a brand so committed to celebrating and empowering women in the arts and in film,” Deutch continues. “They put so much time, energy and effort into supporting women and empowering women in the arts and, umm …” She thinks for a beat. “i just like to repeat myself over and over — it’s one of the greatest techniques I have.”
Deutch’s ability to make fun of herself shines through over the course of the interview, whether she’s talking about how she couldn’t stop grabbing Megan Mullally’s boobs on the Why Him? red carpet or how obsessed she is with co-star Bryan Cranston (“If you ever get a chance to interview him, don’t tell him how freakishly obsessed I am with him”).
Her playful ease perhaps stems from the fact she is no stranger to the Hollywood world. Deutch’s father is director Howard Deutch, whose credits include Pretty in Pink and Some Kind of Wonderful, and her mother is Lea Thompson, an actor best known for playing Lorraine Baines in the Back to the Future trilogy and Caroline in ’90s sitcom Caroline in the City. The advice they have for their daughter after decades in the business is refreshingly succinct. “They have just been very firm in saying, ‘Do what you love, work hard, be nice to people’ — my mum always says that — ‘and be humble’. that’s it. Oh, and ‘wear sunscreen!’”
Deutch has been working very hard indeed. this year, she will appear in the J.D. Salinger biopic Rebel in the Rye, in which she plays socialite Oona O’neill, who had a brief love affair with the author before marrying Charlie Chaplin. “researching the role felt like a crash course in the ’40s and that elite Newyork society, which everyone is pretty fascinated with, for obvious reasons,” Deutch says. Then there’s the coming-of-age drama Flower, directed by Max Winkler, as well as Theyear of Spectacular Men, which was written by her sister, directed by her mother and produced by her father (“It was as grassroots and personal as you can possibly get with filmmaking”).
But it is Before I Fall that the actor is most excited about. “it’s the story of a girl who relives the last day of her life over and over again until she learns how to right her wrongs and become who she really is,” she says. “A girl who learns to not let her flaws define her and to use her voice and understand that she matters in this world and that what she does today could have an effect now and forever.” It is also the film that perhaps best embodies the spirit of the Women in Film organisation. “The movie is based on a book, and the book was written by a woman [Lauren Oliver],” Deutch says, “and the script was written by a woman [Maria Maggenti], it’s directed by a woman [Ry Russo-young], I am a woman … and that was definitely a point of discussion while I was doing press at Sundance. But I think it’s important to keep that discussion going.”
Zoey Deutch wears Max Mara coat, $3350, top, price on application, pants, $770, stockings, $65, and shoes, price on application. Also shown: Max Mara bag, price on application.
Max Mara coat, $3350.