INTERVIEW: Zoe Lister-Jones Wins on Lola Versus
The Broadway and television star discusses the casting and creation of her new film.
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.
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.