Zoe Swicord Kazan (born September 9, 1983) is an American actress, playwright, and screenwriter.
Kazan made her acting debut in Swordswallowers and Thin Men (2003) and later appeared in films such as The Savages (2007), Revolutionary Road (2008) and It’s Complicated (2009). She starred in Happy. Thank You. More. Please. (2010), Meek’s Cutoff (2010), Ruby Sparks (2012), and What If (2013). In 2014, she appeared in the HBO miniseries Olive Kitteridge, for which she received an Emmy nomination. She portrayed Emily Gardner in the film The Big Sick (2017), and in 2018 she appeared in the Coen brothers film The Ballad of Buster Scruggs.
Kazan has acted in several Broadway productions. She also wrote Ruby Sparks and co-wrote Wildlife (2018) with her partner, Paul Dano, who directed the film.
In January 2008, Kazan made her Broadway debut opposite S. Epatha Merkerson and Kevin Anderson in a revival of William Inge’s Come Back, Little Sheba. Ben Brantley of The New York Times called her performance “first-rate”, adding, “Ms. Kazan is terrific in conveying the character’s self-consciousness.” In the fall, she appeared on stage as Masha in a Broadway revival of Anton Chekhov’s The Seagull opposite Kristin Scott Thomas, Carey Mulligan, and Peter Sarsgaard. In the same year she had roles in August, Me and Orson Welles and Revolutionary Road.
Kazan is also a playwright. In 2009, her play Absalom premiered at the Humana Festival of New American Plays in Louisville, KY. The play, about a father’s tense relationships with his children, had been extensively read and workshopped since Kazan’s junior year at Yale University. She capped off the year playing Meryl Streep’s daughter in the Nancy Meyers comedy It’s Complicated. She appeared in the Broadway production of A Behanding in Spokane with Christopher Walken and Sam Rockwell until June 6, 2010. She also played a main role in the movies I Hate Valentine’s Day and The Exploding Girl, which were both released in 2009.
In 2010, she had a main role in the comedy-drama Happy. Thank You. More. Please. as Mary Catherine, the cousin of Josh Radnor’s character. She also starred as Millie Gately in 2010 (alongside Paul Dano, playing her husband) in Kelly Reichardt’s independent western drama Meek’s Cutoff. In the fall, Kazan played Harper Pitt in Signature Theatre Company’s 20th anniversary production of Tony Kushner’s Angels in America. On the small screen, Kazan then appeared in four episodes of HBO’s Bored to Death as Nina, the love interest of a fictionalized Jonathan Ames played by Jason Schwartzman.
Her play We Live Here, about a dysfunctional family, received its world premiere production from October 12 to November 6, 2011, at the off-Broadway Manhattan Theater Club in New York City. Among the ensemble cast was Amy Irving and the director was 2010 Obie Award winner Sam Gold.
Her next project, for which she wrote the screenplay, was Ruby Sparks, a comedy-romance film directed by Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris, and starring Kazan, along with Paul Dano, Chris Messina, Antonio Banderas, Annette Bening, Deborah Ann Woll, and Steve Coogan.
In 2014, her third play Trudy and Max in Love opened at the South Coast Repertory. Also in 2014, she starred in the HBO miniseries Olive Kitteridge, which earned her a Primetime Emmy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress in a Limited Series.
In 2017, Kazan co-starred in the critically acclaimed independent film The Big Sick alongside Kumail Nanjiani and Holly Hunter.
In 2018, Wildlife was released to great critical acclaim. Kazan co-wrote the film with her partner Paul Dano, who also directed. The film stars Carey Mulligan and Jake Gyllenhaal.