Big Break Jane Levy, 30, made her screen debut in 2011, as bad girl Mandy Milkovich on the gritty Showtime comedy Shameless. “I felt like a little kid whose dreams were coming true,” says Levy, a California native who graduated from the Stella Adler Studio of Acting in New York. “I remember walking off the set the first day and bursting into tears, because I really, really, really, really, really wanted to be an actress.” Later that year, things got even better when she landed the lead in the ABC sitcom Suburgatory, which earned her a spot on the Forbes 30 Under 30 list. Most recently, she starred opposite Renée Zellweger in the Netflix neo-noir series What/If. “When I look back at the things I’ve done, I’m like, ‘Wow, good job, young you!’ I sound like an old person now, but time flies.”
Music to Her Ears Starting this month, Levy stars in the new NBC musical dramedy Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist. The title character is a coder who develops the ability to hear people’s thoughts in song. “I think of it as the Olympics for acting,” she says of the series, which costars Skylar Astin, Peter Gallagher, and Lauren Graham. “I’m in almost every scene, and it shoots over six months, 12 to 16 hours a day.” Beyond the demands of tackling choreographed musical numbers professionally for the first time, Levy enjoys the challenge of the show’s tonal shifts. “We embrace the complexities of being human, the ups and the downs, the contradictions and the messiness. Zoey trips over herself—she’s really trying to do a good job, but she keeps failing. That’s the comedy part, and it’s also the drama part. Life is funny and sad.”
With Great Power… Levy calls herself “too sensitive” to handle having access to strangers’ secrets (not to mention their negative thoughts about her). She does admit, however, that musical mind reading comes with perks: “I guess what the power gives Zoey is the gift of empathy. We’re living in a very tense and anxious time, and the more empathy and compassion we have for others and their experiences, the better time we’re all going to have on planet Earth.”
Source Hemispheres Mag
Jane Levy talks with Meaghan on the new NBC series ‘Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist’
Talk about hearing voices. In the new NBC series, “Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist,” Zoey Clarke has a different way of seeing, or hearing the world.
10 HQ photos of Jane on the set of Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist in Vancouver last week have been added to the gallery
An afternoon with the actress talking Hunger Games auditions and working with Renée Zellweger.
The internet has made a certain correlation in the past decade and three quarters: Jane Levy and horror flicks are a match made in gore heaven. “It’s in part because of my athleticism,” she surmises as to why she keeps getting cast for the genre. “Final girls are sort of warriors, and I think I have a really good scream.” But despite all of this, Levy still has pretty diverse (and impressive) IMDb credits. She landed her first gig in Suburgatory in a very serendipitous fashion (more on that below), simultaneously had a recurring role in Shameless, and on top of racking up double-digit film and TV credits in the horror-thriller category—her most recent alongside Renée Zellweger in Netflix’s What/If—she was just confirmed to star as the lead in NBC’s new musical drama, Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist. We sat down to chat with Levy about the audition that started it all and the audition that didn’t work out but made a hell of a good story, and what it was like to work with Renée Zellweger.
On how her first role came from a series of perfect events:
“I was 18 and I had just finished a year of college in Maryland, where I was playing soccer. I was a serious jock, working out twice a day. I wasn’t really passionate about my studies, and I just didn’t feel excited to be at school. I thought, When was the last time I did something that really interests me? And that was when I was onstage. I remember feeling that was the most at home I’ve ever felt while doing something. I told my parents that I was dropping out of college, and they were surprised and scared for me, but they were supportive. I auditioned for theater school in New York and did that for two years and then moved to L.A. right as I graduated.
“[Suburgatory] was the first time I ever auditioned—the stars were aligned; something was happening in my favor. I had a general meeting with ABC, and I showed up, and the person who I was supposed to meet with wasn’t there. So some other executive was like, ‘Hey, sorry about that. Why don’t you come into my office and talk to me?’ I sat down—was wearing Frye boots and a ’90s dress that I bought thrift in New York. [Laughs] And she was like, ‘You know, you actually look right for this part, for this pilot we’re developing called Suburgatory.’ She had me read the script right then and there. She put me in touch with the creator, and I ended up getting that job.”
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NBC has picked up the drama “Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist” for the 2019-2020 season.
The series follows Zoey Clarke (Jane Levy), a whip-smart computer coder forging her way in San Francisco. After an unusual event she starts to hear the innermost wants and desires of the people around her through songs. At ﬁrst, she questions her own sanity but soon realizes this unwanted curse may just be an incredibly wonderful gift.
In addition to Levy, the cast also includes Skylar Astin, Peter Gallagher, Alex Newell, John Clarence Stewart, Carmen Cusack, and Mary Steenburgen.
Austin Winsberg will write and executive produce. Paul Feig, Jessie Henderson, Kim Tannenbaum, Eric Tannenbaum, David Blackman and Daniel Inkeles will executive produce. Richard Shepard directed and executive produced the pilot.
“Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist” is produced by Lionsgate in association with the Tannenbaum Company, FeigCo Entertainment and Universal Music Group.
This marks the third drama order for NBC so far and the fourth series order overall. The network previously ordered the dramas “Bluff City Law” and “Council of Dads,” as well as the single-cam comedy “Sunnyside.” NBC had previously given a straight-to-series order to the Dick Wolf series “Law & Order: Hate Crimes,” but that project has been shelved as it undergoes retooling.