Meet Zoey Deutch, the Jewish breakout star of ‘The Outfit’


Dan Buffa and Jordan Palmer

Zoey Deutch wasn’t just sitting on the couch one day and suddenly thought up the idea to be an actress. For the 27-year-old, it was simply something she had always wanted to do. It helped that acting and Hollywood was a way of life in her family. Deutch’s mother is “Back to the Future” actress Lea Thompson, and her dad is director Howard Deutch. From her debut in 2011 to her first real big film role in this month’s “The Outfit,” Deutch is busy breaking out of the “that one girl” mold.

New role for Zoey Deutch

Co-starring with an Oscar-winning actor certainly helps a woman’s profile broaden. Deutch’s main dance partner in Graham Moore’s “The Outfit” is Mark Rylance, who won the Best Supporting Actor award in 2016 for “Dunkirk” and found himself back there two years ago for Aaron Sorkin’s “The Trial of the Chicago 7.” In Moore’s film, she’s the trustworthy assistant to Rylance’s revered tailor, whose shop acts as a front for mob cash drops and assorted criminal activity. He makes suits for the most dangerous people in Chicago, and Deutch’s Barbee will get a tutorial on the practice mayhem descends on them one fateful night.

The hook one notices in the trailer is that Deutch’s seemingly innocent assistant may know a few more things than the other characters give her credit for, which should keep the audience guessing as to which side she falls on: the tailor’s or the many men and women coming for the suitcase that drops into their possession. It’s her delicate yet cunning voice that holds your attention throughout the teaser trailer, which sees bullets extracted from bodies, other bodies stuffed into a trunk, and considerable amounts of alcohol consumed.

All in all, it represents Deutch’s biggest step in the movies, a long way coming from her arrival in 2011. It’s oddly fitting that her break comes in a movie stuffed with Italian gangsters. Deutch’s first role was playing a woman named Lana Maroni. Similar to Jewish actress Gideon Adlon, she made her first big production-in Deutch’s case, a movie called “Mayor Cupcake”-with her mom, Lea. From there, it was bit parts in network television shows to an uncredited role in “The Amazing Spider-Man,” to “Dirty Grandpa” with Johnny Knoxville. Deutch had a small role in the Cameron Crowe film, “Everybody Wants Some!!” and with Bryan Cranston and James Franco in “Why Him.”  She would re-team with Franco for the Oscar-savvy “The Disaster Artists” in 2017.

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First Sightings of Zoey Deutch

You may have first noticed Deutch in “Zombieland: Double Tap,” opposite Woody Harrelson and Emma Stone. She was the hitchhiker in the middle of a zombie apocalypse who gets picked up by the protagonists of the film, only to annoy them and bicker the entire time. In Hollywood, those are the stepping stone roles for actresses. Before you can play the #1 female on the call sheet (like in “The Outfit”) you get to play the character that the audience hopes will just go away. She made the most of the part, stealing a few scenes from Jesse Eisenberg and company.

Acting has been on her mind and in her blood for a very long time. Deutch started acting classes at the age of five, and her first role was on The Suite Life on Deck in 2011.

Being Jewish to Zoey Deutch

Being Jewish is something she’s also always been proud of. Along with feeling lots of pride in her Jewish heritage and culture, Deutch told Hey Alma, she can recite the entire V’ahavta, the verse immediately following the Shema. Her bat mitzvah theme was “Winter Wonderland,” but you couldn’t say that for “the ugliest BCBG dress that I found at a Goodwill. It’s impressive how ugly it is,” the actress said.

Zoey’s dad, Howard, is Jewish, but her mother Lea Thompson isn’t. Thompson told Hey Alma, she adored the Jewish traditions and values upon marriage, and she was the one who embedded the Jewish way of life in her daughter at a very young age.

Lea grew up with Christianity in the 60’s in the Midwest, so the idea of Jewish people being instructed to argue with God fascinated her. Being an artist family, Lea loved the idea of challenging the norm. According to Zoey, she may be more Jewish than her dad these days.

Zoey is the kind of great human who doesn’t just rescue a beautiful pit bull and take adorable pictures with the animal on Instagram; she gets great tattoos of said dog on her leg. Check out the lighter side of the actress right here on her IG page.


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Zoey Deutch and sense of humor

Zoey also has a deep appreciation for Jewish humor, something that she told Vulture helped her parents through hard times.

“I don’t know how you’d describe it, but it is such a cool part of the culture,” Deutch said. “It obviously was meant to help us survive and to deal with all the craziness. You had to laugh. And that’s something that I really value and I’m grateful to have seen in my parents: laughter during difficult times, which I do actually qualify as a characteristic of the culture.”

One look at Deutch and you can tell she has the looks and drive to tackle a big career in Hollywood. She has the family business and savvy sense of humor embroidered into her DNA, and has a nice collection of projects/roles at IMDB (36 so far!). She has a few things in development and a fresh movie in theaters this week. No, she’s not Isla Fisher, even if the first look at her gives you that idea.

As her role in “The Outfit” and various smaller roles have proven to audiences, Zoey Deutch has designs on Hollywood that people aren’t quite ready for. But she’s well on her way.

“The Outfit” is ONLY in theaters around the St. Louis area this week.