Zoey Deutch on why 'Before I Fall' is a love letter to her sister

By Clare Douglas

Every now and then the lights of Tinseltown shine brighter on a new face that is primed and ready to captivate audiences and take Hollywood by storm. The latest in-demand ingénue is none other than actress Zoey Deutch. The California native, 22, is no stranger to the business, given that she calls Lea Thompson (Back to the Future) mom and her father is storied director Howard Deutch, who helped bring John Hughes’ Pretty in Pink to life in the 1980s.

Zoey is set to have a breakthrough year, as she has a long list of high-profile roles lined up, including that of J.D. Salinger’s one-time love Oona O’Neill in Rebel in the Rye and another opposite her sister, Madelyn, in The Year of Spectacular Men (a big-screen directorial debut for her mom!). But first, the actress faces life and death in the latest YA-novel-turned-film Before I Fall (in theatres Mar. 3).

TAP FOR GALLERY The 22-year-old actress calls Lea Thompson mom.

The movie explores a young girl’s tumultuous journey to find closure after an accident causes her to relive her last day over and over again until she rights some wrongs and discovers her true voice and purpose.

The leading lady recently sat down with Hello! Canada to discuss the film, which she says has “so many beautiful elements and important and worthy things to be said.”

Zoey, what message do you hope audiences take away from the film? It’s been very fun for me to have the opportunity to ask people after seeing it what their takeaway from the film was.

Depending on your life, experiences and relationships, it speaks to people in different ways. For me it just reiterated that I should never take my family for granted and that I can never be too grateful or too appreciative of them and their love.

Zoey and her sister Madelyn Deutch.

Your character Sam’s scenes with her family are some of the most moving. Was there one relationship in particular that hit close to home? My favourite scene in the script, and one of my favourite scenes to shoot, was the Day 6 “I love you” scene between Sam and Izzy [played by Erica Tremblay, sister to Canadian Room star Jacob].

I think it’s because I have such a close relationship and bond with my sister that it felt like a love letter to my sister. Even though it wasn’t the main relationship [in the film], to me, it was extremely moving and powerful.

‘For me the film just reiterated that I should never take my family for granted, and that I can never be too grateful’

As a fellow actress, has your mom given you any acting advice? She just always reminds me to do what I love, work really hard and be nice to people.

Was this the first time you filmed a project in British Columbia? Yes! But I’ve spent a lot of time there and many Christmases so I was very familiar with the space, the food, how beautiful it is and how wonderful the people are. I think the setting and location really help the tone of the film and serve as a lot of symbolism, and help the audience with Sam’s journey.

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