Monday, March 29, 2010

i heart Zooey Deschanel

Actress and musician Zooey Deschanel, aged 30 and married six months, tells Jane Rocca what she knows about men.

I was born in Los Angeles in 1980, and from a young age I've been endlessly fascinated by men and would say that I still am now. As the singer of a band [She & Him], I like to sing songs from both gender perspectives - that of men and women. I have always been interested in male and female feelings and figuring them out and why they differ and why they don't.

I am from a family of strong women. My mother [actor Mary Jo Deschanel] and my older sister [Emily Deschanel, 33, also an actor, who stars in the TV show Bones] always taught me to stand up for myself and think for myself.

I knew men were physically different to women and that they ate a lot more than women, which is completely not fair - they have such big appetites! - but I was taught that we were all to be treated as equals. Despite this, I still believe men function differently to women. They are programmed differently.

My dad was a cinematographer [Caleb Deschanel was the director of photography on dozens of movies, including The Patriot, The Passion of the Christ and The Right Stuff] and we moved around a lot as a family, which

I found frustrating. I know that it is important to be able to pursue one's goals, and I understood how important that is in making you who you are.

My dad used to listen to a lot of old country music, like Gram Parsons and the Byrds. I always liked the genre and found I mostly gravitated towards older sounds; I like organic music rather than electronic. I was fascinated by old music and old love songs. I always was keen to listen to what men were singing about - everything from broken hearts to abandonment and other blues-inspired themes. I liked how they could be as emotional as me.

I was nine when I had my first real crush on the opposite sex. It was when my dad gave me the videotape of A Hard Day's Night, by the Beatles. For me, that was my first encounter with a romantic fantasy. I was obsessed by their look, their sound and the idea that guys like this existed.

Some of my idols and biggest influences are Brian Wilson, Carole King, Bobbie Gentry, Linda Ronstadt and Roy Orbison. I wanted to be all of them; I was attracted to those kinds of songwriters who put it all on the line.

Brian Wilson is a hero of mine. His songs are so beautiful, and it was through his music I learnt that men do express things from the heart. His harmonies are so full and romantic. It's a feeling that reminds me of being in love and of being free and happy.

I met [She & Him co-member] Matt Ward in 2006 when he was writing the score for a film I was starring in called The Go-Getter. We recorded a song together for the soundtrack to the movie called When I Get to the Border [originally sung by British folk duo Linda and Richard Thompson in 1974], and it sparked a friendship that was both natural and easy. We got along well and worked great together. I told Matt that I wrote music and had been doing so since I was eight. I sent him some MP3s, and he listened to them and liked them and suggested we start recording together, and the rest is history.

Matt is a sweet guy who opened up his arms to my desire to sing, and I liked that honesty and trust. We are drawn together by our similar desires and interests in music. He makes sharing ideas seem easy.

I like to keep my marriage private [Deschanel married Ben Gibbard, singer of the band Death Cab for Cutie, last year], and I don't like discussing my personal life, but I have learnt it's good to keep a balance in friendships throughout one's life. You need men as much as you do women, and men can often add insight that your female friends can't and vice versa.

Men are not as chatty as women, though; sometimes I do need those long conversations.

Credit: The Age

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