If that wasn't enough for one career, in 2010, she and her long-time partner, Daryl Wein, co-wrote, directed, and starred in the film, Breaking Upwards, loosely based on a year-long break-up in their own eight year relationship.
Now, the pair have created their new film, Lola Versus, opening on Friday, June 8, about 29-year-old Lola (Greta Gerwig), who is left at the altar by her fiance, Luke (Joel Kinnaman). Aided by her two closest friends, Alice (Lister-Jones) and Henry (Hamish Linklater), she begins a series of romantic blunders on her road to self awareness. TheaterMania had a chance to sit down with the busy Lister-Jones to discuss the film.
THEATERMANIA: You have a knack for attracting talent. For example, in Breaking Upwards, which you and Daryl made for an incredible $15,000, your cast included actors like Julie White, LaChanze, Andrea Martin, and Pablo Schreiber. How do you find these people?
ZOE LISTER-JONES: All of them were people that we either knew or had worked with, and who knew that we had no money. On Lola, we had a few other names attached at one point [such as Anne Hathaway and James Franco], but we really wanted actors closer to the "scene," and Greta and Hamish are so perfect.
TM: Did you know Hamish Linklater before you cast him in the movie?
ZL: We didn't know Hamish at all. I'm embarrassed to admit that I never saw him on The New Adventures of Old Christine, so we had a sort of a "who is that?" moment when Daryl and I saw him in Twelfth Night in Central Park. And then when we saw him again in The Merchant of Venice in the Park, I remember thinking, "That's a star!" It was after that, that we asked him to be in Lola.
TM: Is there any improvisation in the film?
ZL: Well, here's why I love working with stage actors like Hamish. For him, the script is holy. So there really wasn't any improvisation in Lola. Daryl and I worked very hard on the script, so I think by the time we got to filming, it was all there.
TM: And when you're wearing your acting hat, do you honor someone else's script in the same way?
ZL: Touche! I'm pretty good about making the author's words my own, unless I feel there's a character discrepancy. But I'm very rarely the squeaky wheel. I just make it work.