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.
The ‘Castle Rock’ actress will play the titular character in ‘Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist.’
Jane Levy is about to start hearing voices — and sometimes full-blown musical numbers — in her head.
The Castle Rock actress will play the titular character in the NBC pilot Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist. She plays a woman who gains the ability to hear people’s innermost thoughts, expressed as music.
Richard Shepard (Girls, Ugly Betty) has also signed on as director and executive producer of the pilot. Executive producer Paul Feig had been slated to direct but won’t be able to due to a busy feature-film schedule.
Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist comes from Lionsgate TV and writer Austin Winsberg (Gossip Girl, Jake in Progress). It is described as an innovative musical dramedy set in motion when the whip-smart but socially awkward Zoey (Levy) starts hearing people’s thoughts expressed as songs, or sometimes full musical numbers. She is able to use her “gift” not only to help herself understand people in her own life, but also to help others around her.
Vivendi’s Universal Music Group is also attached to the show, along with Feig’s FeigCo.
Winsberg, Feig, FeigCo’s Jessie Henderson, Eric Tannenbaum, Kim Tannenbaum, Jason Wang, David Blackman and Daniel Inkeles are all executive producing.
Levy (Suburgatory, Shameless) also stars alongside Renee Zellweger in Apple’s forthcoming anthology series What/If. She is repped by Gersh and attorney Robert Offer.
Shepard is repped by UTA, 3Arts and Karl Austen.
Source The Hollywood Reporter