Dano and Kazan. (David Livingston/Getty Images)
The idea for the story was, in part, inspired by Kazan's romance with Dano. "I had been thinking a lot about relationships and the way we define each other in relationships, and how hard it is to hold onto your identity as people become 'co-dependent' or how much we can feel defined by our partners," she tells omg!. "I was also thinking about the Pygmalion myth [a sculptor who fell in love with his own creation] and somehow I think those things all met in my head, and I came up with this. So it's sort of a metaphorical door to a very real subject."
As she began writing it in summer 2009, Kazan, who has also starred in "It's Complicated" and on HBO's "Bored to Death," didn't exactly have herself in mind to play the title role. "I was just so excited to have an idea that felt like a movie, and I could picture what that movie would be," says the 29-year-old Yale grad. "I think it's pretty rare to get an idea that lights you up, so I was just excited to have something that I was eager to write." Then, she showed the first few pages to her boyfriend, "and he asked if I was writing it for the two of us, and I guess a sort of light bulb went off in my head, like, 'Ah, indeed, that is indeed what I'm doing.'"
Dano and Kazan as Calvin and Ruby in Ruby Sparks. (Merrick Morton)
Her relationship with Dano, 28, is also serving as inspiration for her next screenplay, for which Kazan just finished the first draft. "It's a love story of some kind," she says, then, realizing her pattern, adds, "I guess it's on my brain!"
Hollywood is certainly in Kazan's blood. The daughter of screenwriters Nicholas Kazan ("Reversal of Fortune") and Robin Swicord ("The Curious Case of Benjamin Button"), and the granddaughter of three-time Oscar-winning director Elia Kazan ("On the Waterfront"), she never considered taking a stage name to pre-empt the suggestion of nepotism. "In this age of pervasive knowledge, it would be very hard to truly achieve anonymity," she admits. "To me, my last name never seemed that famous growing up. You have to understand, I went to elementary school with children whose parents had won Oscars for being movie stars. My parents, even my grandpa, they seemed like regular people compared to that. I really didn't consider it. I also think it would look like I was ashamed of my roots, which I'm not."
As independent as she is, that's not to say Kazan doesn't run ideas by her parents every now and then. "They're very helpful when I ask them to be," she says. "I'm probably childishly stubborn about this, but I try to keep as much distance between what they do and what I do as possible just because it's sticky enough feeling like you're in the same business as your parents. But they're really smart and if I hit a roadblock, it's really great to have parents who can emotionally emphasize if not directly help."
More celebrity features on Yahoo!:
- Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis take their love fest Down Under
- Why Alton Brown can't eat Girl Scout cookies
- Taylor Swift's love life a punch line at CMA Awards
- Arts & Entertainment
- Paul Dano
- Zoe Kazan