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Three Questions with FLOWER's Zoey Deutch

Zoey Deutch is bona fide geek royalty. Her father, Howard Deutch, directed Pretty in Pink, Some Kind of Wonderful, and The Great Outdoors. Her mother, Lea Thompson, kissed Howard the Duck (oh, she was also Marty McFly's mom--and the star of Some King of Wonderful).

But this luminous young actress is on her way to forging a unique path in the movies, with roles in Everybody Wants Some!!, The Disaster Artist, and Rebel in the Rye.

Deutch's performance in Max Winkler's Flower may just put her on the map. She stars as Erika, a seventeen-year-old high schooler who stashes money by sexually blackmailing adults of note in her town (a feat that is depressingly profitable). When her new brother-in-law, Luke (Joey Morgan) moves out of rehab and into the already dysfunctional family home, Erika reaches out in the only way she knows how (Hint: it doesn't involve bonding over video games).

The plot blossoms as the the title suggests, with the bright petals of a teen coming-of-age movie masking the twisty, nefarious weeds of a harrowing (yet oddly tender) adult drama.

I caught up with Zoey Deutch over email a couple weeks ago, and asked her about preparing for Flower, as well as what's next on the horizon.

I spoke with Max Winkler recently, and he said your audition had a spark to it that was missing from the other actresses trying out for the role of “Erica”. Was there something in your real-life experiences that helped connect you with the material and bring out the authenticity that Max (and, later, the audience) responded to?

I just loved how frustrated she was. And how frustrating she was. I responded to that element of the character. I remember so vividly at 17 being so frustrated and being so frustrating. She’s lost and looking for control. At 17, with all the changes that are taking place, the strange hormones running through your body and agents of change, I think that all of Erica ‘s bad behavior comes from the fact that she feels very much out of control, which desperately scares her.

Between her father taking off when she was young, Erica has found her entire identity through her very unhealthy relationship with her mother. Which is more like sisters than an authoritarian relationship. 

Your on-screen chemistry with Dylan Gelula and Maya Eshet is so great. I could watch a whole movie about Erica, Kala, and Claudine just hanging out. How did the three of you bond in preparation for shooting Flower?

Max encouraged us to spend as much time together as possible before we even read through the script. We went to the mall, had meals together, raided vintage stores and started getting clothes that we thought our characters would wear, and a lot that stuff ended up in the movie, which, I think, made us really feel comfortable and felt like an organic way to get into the character.

When it came to time to actually do our "formal rehearsals" if you can call it that, we spent a lot of time just reading the script out loud and putting things in our own words, improvising a lot. Max really wanted it to just feel real and organic, and stuff we would actually say. 

What exciting projects do you have coming up, that you can talk about?

I’m excited about Set it Up, coming out pretty soon. It’s a real fun romantic comedy that I made with Everybody Wants Some co-star Glen Powell. It was written, produced, edited and directed by women and I’m super proud of the film.

To hear Ian's interview with Flower co-writer/director Max Winkler--and to find out you can see Zoey and Max at select Chicago-area screenings this weekend--check out Kicking the Seat Podcast #304!

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