Zoe Kazan

Actor / Producer / Writer

Birthdate – September 9, 1983 (40 Years Old)

Birthplace – Los Angeles, California, USA

Zoe Kazan (birthname: Zoe Swicord Kazan) has followed in her great family’s tradition of film and theater (as the grandchild of renowned director and author Elia Kazan and playwright Molly Kazan, and daughter of director/screenwriters Nicholas Kazan and Robin Swicord), an actor with an always-fresh approach as well as a playwright.

After a debut appearance in writer-director Max Borenstein’s indie film, Swordswallowers and Thin Men (2003), Kazan appeared in a string of American indie features, including Tamara Jenkins’ film, Savages (2007); Gregory Hoblit’s film, Fracture (2007), with Anthony Hopkins and Ryan Gosling; writer-director Paul Haggis’ crime drama, In the Valley of Elah (2007), with Tommy Lee Jones, Charlize Theron, and Susan Sarandon; the Howard A. Rodman-written, Sundance-premiering August (2008), with Josh Hartnett; and a more prominent role in Richard Linklater’s loving tribute, Me and Orson Welles (2008), with Zac Efron, Christian McKay, and Claire Danes.

Zoe Kazan was cast in the Oscar-nominated version of Richard Yates’ classic modern novel, Revolutionary Road (2008), opposite Leonardo DiCaprio, Kate Winslet, Michael Shannon, Kathryn Hahn, and Kathy Bates under Sam Mendes’ direction, and grossing over double its expenses for a total of $76 million worldwide.

Zoe Kazan delivered an exquisite performance in indie filmmaker Bradley Rust Gray’s fine film, The Exploding Girl (2009), premiering at the Berlin Film Festival, followed by a small supporting role in writer-director Rebecca Miller’s film adaptation of her own novel, The Private Lives of Pippa Lee (2009), starring Robin Wright, Alan Arkin, Maria Bello, Monica Bellucci, Blake Lively, Julianne Moore, Keanu Reeves, Winona Ryder, and Shirley Knight.

Kazan joined writer-director-star Nia Vardalos in her rom-com, I Hate Valentine’s Day (2009), and then finished her busy 2009 with her first Hollywood studio assignment, joining the starry cast (which won Best Ensemble Cast from the National Board of Review) of Meryl Streep, Steve Martin, Alec Baldwin, John Krasinski, and Oprah Winfrey in writer-producer-director Nancy Meyers’ hit rom-com, It’s Complicated (2009), grossing over $224 million globally.

Zoe Kazan co-starred in writer-director Josh Radnor’s indie comedy-drama, Happythankyoumoreplease (2011), winning the audience award at the Sundance Film Festival. Zoe Kazan then joined the great American filmmaker Kelly Reichardt and the cast of her Oregon Trail Western, Meek’s Cutoff (2010), including Michelle Williams, Paul Dano, Bruce Greenwood, Shirley Henderson, and Will Patton, premiering at the Venice Film Festival.

Kazan stretched her creative chops as a writer, executive producer, and co-star (with life partner) Paul Dano in the Jonathan Dayton/Valerie Faris-directed Ruby Sparks (2012), which grossed a respectable $9-plus million worldwide. Neil LaBute adapted his play, Some Girl(s), for a 2013 film, co-starring Kazan, Adam Brody, Kristen Bell, and Emily Watson under Daisy von Scherler Mayer’s direction.

Zoe Kazan scored the plum double role as identical (though visibly different) twins in writer-director Jenee LaMarque’s The Pretty One (2013) with Ron Livingston and John Carroll Lynch, then co-starred with Daniel Radcliffe in the Michael Dowse-directed rom-com, The F Word (2013), which premiered at the Toronto Film Festival and was nominated for Best Picture at the Canadian Screen Awards.

Kazan’s second studio movie was Warners’ Our Brand Is Crisis (2015), starring Sandra Bullock, Billy Bob Thornton, Anthony Mackie, Joaquim de Almeida, and Ann Dowd, followed by a supporting role in writer-director romantic comedy-drama, My Blind Brother (2016), with Adam Scott, Nick Kroll, and Jenny Slate.

Kazan starred in writer-director Bryan Bertino’s American-Canadian horror film, The Monster (2016), released by A24. Kazan co-starred with Kumail Nanjani in one of her most acclaimed films, The Big Sick (2017), with Holly Hunter, Ray Romano, and Anupam Kher under Michael Showalter’s direction, earning over $56 million globally.

Zoe Kazan’s second artistic collaboration with co-writer/producer/director Paul Dano was their excellent co-written adaptation of Richard Ford’s novel, Wildlife (2018), starring Carey Mulligan, Jake Gyllenhaal, Ed Oxenbould, Bill Camp, premiering at the Sundance Film Festival. Kazan starred in the segment “The Gal Who Git Rattled” in the Coen Brothers’ garrulous Western saga, The Ballad of Buster Scruggs (2018), with Tim Blake Nelson, James Franco, Stephen Root, Liam Neeson, Harry Melling, Tom Waits, Tyne Daly, and Brendan Gleeson.

Kazan was then cast in the lead role of writer-director Lone Scherfig’s drama, The Kindness of Strangers (2019), co-starring Tahar Rahim, Bill Nighy, Esben Smed, Andrea Riseborough, and Caleb Landry Jones, and premiering at the Berlin Film Festival.

After her vocal performance in filmmaker Dash Shaw’s animated indie film, Cryptozoo (2021), with Lake Bell, Michael Cera, Peter Stormare, and Grace Zabriskie, Zoe Kazan took on her biggest role yet in the New York Times-set investigative drama, She Said (2022), directed by Maria Schrader and co-starring Carey Mulligan, with Patricia Clarkson, Andre Braugher, Jennifer Ehle, and Samantha Morton.

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Personal Details

Zoe Kazan was born and raised in Los Angeles by parents Nicholas Kazan (film director/screenwriter/producer) and Robin Swicord (screenwriter/director/playwright). Her sister is actor Maya Kazan. Her paternal grandparents were the legendary director, author Elia Kazan, and playwright Molly Kazan. Kazan schooled at the prestigious Los Angeles private schools Wildwood School, Windward School, and Marlborough School.

She graduated from Yale University, where she was a member of the senior year arts and letters group The Manuscript Society, in 2005 with a Theatre B.A. degree. Kazan has been a partner with actor Paul Dano since 2007; the couple has one child, Alma Bay. Her height is 5’ 4½”. Kazan’s estimated net worth is $3 million.


The Big Sick

Emily (2017)

The Kindness of Strangers


She Said

Jodi Kantor (2022)





Some Facts About Zoe Kazan

Theater Work: From 2006 to 2017, Kazan was a busy theater actor and playwright, performing in plays by Muriel Spark, Kate Fodor, Jonathan Marc Sherman, William Inge, Anton Chekhov, Martin McDonough, Tony Kushner, and Mike Bartlett, and having her plays staged at Actors Theatre of Louisville and the Manhattan Theater Club, which commissioned her 2011 play, We Live Here.

Ancestors: Kazan’s ancestry is Greek, German, and English.

On Screenwriting: Zoe Kazan explained that she turned to screenwrite because of “the most insane waiting game of (the acting) business, and the only way I have stayed sane is by giving myself another creative outlet.


Nominee, Best Supporting Actress—Limited Series or Movie, Emmy Awards (2015); Nominee, Best Screenplay, Independent Spirit Awards (2013); Winner, Best Ensemble, National Board of Review (2009); Nominee, Best Cast, Screen Actors Guild Awards (2018).