Zooey Deschanel, From Actress To Indie Rocker

Actress Zooey Deschanel co-stars in the new film (500) Days of Summer. She plays Summer, the charming and quirky love interest of a greeting card writer.

deschanel and ward i i

hide captionZooey Deschanel (right) and M. Ward come together in She and Him. Deschanel co-stars in the new film 500 Days of Summer with Joseph Gordon-Levitt.

Carlo Allegri/Autumn de Wilde
deschanel and ward

Zooey Deschanel (right) and M. Ward come together in She and Him. Deschanel co-stars in the new film 500 Days of Summer with Joseph Gordon-Levitt.

Carlo Allegri/Autumn de Wilde

Deschanel made her film debut while she was still in high school in the 1999 movie Mumford. Since then, she has appeared in Almost Famous, The Good Girl, Elf and Yes Man.

But Deschanel is more than just an actress. In 2008, the former cabaret singer released the CD Volume One with indie rocker M. Ward. Together, they go by She and Him. Deschanel cites Ella Fitzgerald, Nina Simone, Billie Holiday, Anita O'Day and other jazz artists as earlier influences.

Deschanel met Ward, a singer-songwriter widely known as a solo artist, while recording a duet for the soundtrack to the 2007 film The Go-Getter.

The songs on Volume One are an eclectic bunch — the styles range from Brill Building pop to Nashville countrypolitan, and the songs grow out of in-the-moment impulses fueled by a diverse record collection, Deschanel says.

Writing songs, Deschanel says, is a private thing for her. She's been writing music for years, but was "really, really shy" about sharing her work with anyone. She says Ward "definitely, definitely" taught her to hear her own songs differently:

"I wanted so badly to do something with them, but I felt crippled by shyness about them. It wasn't until I met Matt that I really felt like I had found just the right person to work with on this stuff."

This interview was first broadcast on March 27, 2008.

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