Time to catch Zoey Deutch

The ris­ing ac­tress stars as a pop­u­lar high schooler liv­ing her last day, again and again

USA TODAY US Edition - - LIFE - An­drea Man­dell @an­drea­man­dell USA TO­DAY

In ‘Be­fore I Fall,’ her high school char­ac­ter isn’t nearly as pre­pared as the ac­tress her­self

In the mid­dle of LOS AN­GE­LES what is pre­dicted to be the big­gest storm of the year in L.A., Zoey Deutch does not can­cel, as so many An­ge­lenos would do.

Nor does she ar­rive late — in fact, she’s there first at a lo­cal cof­fee shop.

As it turns out, the 22-year-old star of the film Be­fore I Fall (in the­aters Fri­day) is pre­pared for just about any­thing. “I have a fear of be­ing left without snacks,” says Deutch mat­ter-of-factly, sift­ing through a rather hi­lar­i­ous stash of of­fer­ings on her per­son: a boxed kale salad, green juice, an im­mune-sys­tem boost­ing shot of turmeric.

“I’m not done!” she protests, un­zip­ping a se­cret com­part­ment on her quilted jacket, where a choco­late chip Clif en­ergy bar and a lol­lipop live.

Sur­vival in­stincts take on new mean­ing in Be­fore

I Fall, a high school drama based on the 2010 best seller by Lau­ren Oliver. The ac­tress plays Sam Kingston, a pop­u­lar se­nior who, in

Groundhog Day fash­ion, is forced to re­peat the con­se­quence-laden day of her death over and over.

On “Cupid Day,” when roses are passed out to those lucky enough to have se­cret ad­mir­ers, Sam and her three beau­ti­ful, if oc­ca­sion­ally bru­tal, girl­friends reign over their class­mates.

All that changes at 12:39 a.m., when an ac­ci­dent oc­curs af­ter a boozy party. “The thing that I re­ally ap­pre­ci­ate about Sam in this film is she’s nei­ther a hero nor a vil­lain,” says Deutch. “She’s a bully and she’s bul­lied. She’s not this stereo­typ­i­cal fig­ure … which res­onated with me, be­cause in my ex­pe­ri­ence, it wasn’t black or white.” For di­rec­tor Ry Russo-Young, Be­fore I Fall is about de­pict­ing the heart­break of friend­ship in those years when “your par­ents are no longer your world and your friends be­come your new world or­der,” she says. “It’s a high stakes, ex­hil­a­rat­ing time. It’s al­most like fall­ing in love. And that’s both the good and the bad of that, you can have your heart bro­ken when your friends be­tray you or do some­thing nasty.” Deutch, the daugh­ter of Lea Thomp­son and di­rec­tor Howard Deutch, grew up in L.A. “High school was great,” she says, but it wasn’t al­ways that way: The ac­tress was “ex­tremely bul­lied” in mid­dle school be­fore switch­ing to an arts high school.

Put in Sam’s shoes, “the idea of re­liv­ing the same thing over again and try­ing to change things but the out­come be­ing the same is tor­tur­ous,” she says.

Be­fore I Fall marks a mile­stone in Deutch’s ca­reer af­ter a 2016 packed with in­creas­ingly high­pro­file roles, in­clud­ing Dirty

Grandpa op­po­site Zac Efron, Richard Lin­klater’s cult hit Ev

ery­body Wants Some!! and the rau­cous Why Him? with James Franco and Bryan Cranston.

Next, she stars in the J.D. Salinger biopic Rebel in the Rye, with Kevin Spacey and Ni­cholas Hoult, and The Year of Spec­tacu

lar Men, op­po­site her sis­ter, Made­lyn Deutch, and di­rected by Thomp­son.

Over lunch, Deutch is in­quis­i­tive, though some­what prac­ticed in an­swer­ing ques­tions about grow­ing up with fa­mous par­ents.

“My par­ents are re­ally cool,” says Deutch, de­scrib­ing her up­bring­ing as “nor­mal.” But she smiles at a men­tion of how much she re­sem­bles Thomp­son. “I do, it’s re­ally true,” she says.

“The amaz­ing thing about Zoey is that she works her ( butt) off,” says Russo-Young. “She is the far­thest thing ever from rest­ing on her lau­rels or feel­ing con­fi­dent things will come to her.”

Deutch of­fers a friendly shrug about her back­ground. “The per­cep­tion vs. re­al­ity of any­thing is al­ways so dif­fer­ent,” she says.

She laughs. “I don’t have any fun sto­ries about me club­bing at (age) 11 and go­ing crazy. Bum­mer, right?”


In Be­fore I Fall, Zoey Deutch (above with Lo­gan Miller) plays a pop­u­lar high school stu­dent who must re­live the same day over and over again.



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