After a smattering of small roles here and there, Zoe Kazan, the grand daughter of Greek director Eliah Kazan, has truly broken out with her performance in Bradley Rust Gray’s The Exploding Girl, a film about a young woman during a summer home from college. For her role in this film she won an award in the category “Best Actress in a Narrative Feature Film” at the Tribeca Film Festival. “Zoe shines in this understated role,” the jurors comment. “Every component of this brilliantly restrained performance displays a command of her craft that stunned and moved this jury.”
Other top awards went to “About Elly”, “North”, “Racing Dreams”, and “Fixer: The Taking of Amjal Naqshbandi”, and more awards were handed out for the best Shorts (narrative, documentary, and student visionary).
Kazan was educated at the private Windward School in Mar Vista and Yale University, from which she graduated in 2005. Her first professional stage credit was the 2006 off-Broadway revival of The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie starring Cynthia Nixon. She followed this with the Playwrights Horizons production of 100 Saints You Should Know and Jonathan Marc Sherman’s Things We Want, directed by Ethan Hawke. In January 2008, Kazan made her Broadway debut opposite S. Epatha Merkerson and Kevin Anderson in a revival of William Inge’s Come Back, Little Sheba. Ben Brantley of the New York Times called her performance “first-rate,” adding, “Ms. Kazan is terrific in conveying the character’s self-consciousness.” In the fall of the same year, she appeared on Broadway as Masha in Anton Chekhov’s The Seagull opposite Kristin Scott Thomas and Peter Sarsgaard.