Zoe Cassavetes

Zoe Cassavetes

Cassavetes in 2008
Born Zoe Rowlands Cassavetes
(1970-06-29) 29 June 1970[1]
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Occupation Actress, film director, screenwriter
Years active 1991–present

Zoe Rowlands Cassavetes (Greek: Ζωή Ραουλαντς Κασσαβέτης; born June 29, 1970) is an American film director, screenwriter, and actress. She is the daughter of filmmaker John Cassavetes and actress Gena Rowlands. She is best known for her 2007 film Broken English.


Cassavetes' first experience with the filmmaking business was at the age of one, when she had an uncredited role in her late father John Cassavetes' film Minnie and Moskowitz as a baby girl,[2] but it was not until 1991 that she had her first acting role in a film, Ted & Venus, which was followed with minor roles in the films Noises Off and The Thing Called Love. In 1994, she and her filmmaking friend Sofia Coppola created and hosted the Comedy Central television series Hi Octane,[3] a skit and variety show that featured guests including Keanu Reeves, Beastie Boys and Martin Scorsese. Hi Octane lasted for only one season but is remembered as one of the first series to be entirely shot in digital video.[3]

Her directorial debut was in 2000 on the Sundance Film Festival-featured short film Men Make Women Crazy Theory,[3] but she is best known as the director and writer of the 2007 comedy-romance film Broken English, which featured Parker Posey and Gena Rowlands, Cassavetes' mother.[2] Her inspiration for Broken English came from her perception of other people's impression that happiness can only come from being in love with someone,[4] saying: "I got caught up and swept up in the whole idea that I didn't have any worth until I found that person ... So I just wanted to make a nice, little portrait about what happens to someone when they get caught up in all of that."[5] She was nominated for the 2008 Independent Spirit Award for Best First Screenplay but lost to Diablo Cody for Juno.

In 2012 she was invited to participate in Miu Miu's ad campaign The Women's Tales. The short she created for the project The Powder Room premiered at the 69th Venice International Film Festival.[6]

Her second feature film, Day Out of Days, stars Alexia Landeau as a 40-year-old actress struggling to stay afloat in Hollywood. The supporting cast is made up of Melanie Griffith, Eddie Izzard, Cheyenne Jackson, Vincent Kartheiser, Alessandro Nivola, Brooke Smith and Bellamy Young.[7]

Personal life

Cassavetes comes from a family of filmmakers: her father John Cassavetes an actor, screenwriter and director; her mother Gena Rowlands an actress; her brother Nick Cassavetes an actor and director; her sister Alexandra Cassavetes an actress and director; and her grandmother Katherine Cassavetes an actress.[4] She says that the relationship problems the main character encounters in Broken English are mostly autobiographical, saying: "I'm obsessed with the idea of love on many different levels – love through family, love your friends, love yourself and who you give that love to, who you can take it from."[5] She has been called a muse to fashion designer Marc Jacobs along with actress and director Sofia Coppola.[8] She is married to Sebastien Chenut.[9]


Feature films

Short films


  1. Fine, Marshall (2005). Accidental Genius: How John Cassavetes Invented American Independent Film. Miramax Books/Hyperion. p. 229.
  2. 1 2 David Ehrenstein (24 May 2007). "French Lessons". Los Angeles CityBeat. Archived from the original on 13 April 2008. Retrieved 2008-03-09.
  3. 1 2 3 "Zoe Cassavetes". Tokion. Archived from the original on 9 February 2008. Retrieved 2008-03-09.
  4. 1 2 Emma Rosenblum (11 January 2007). "Celluloid Heir: Zoe Cassavetes". New York Magazine. Retrieved 2008-03-09.
  5. 1 2 Sheila Roberts. "Zoe Cassavetes & Parker Posey Interview, Broken English". MoviesOnline.com. Retrieved 2008-03-09.
  6. Sowray, Bibby (August 31, 2012). "Venice Film Festival: Miu Miu showcases 'Women's Tales'". The Daily Telegraph.
  7. Yamato, Jen (August 19, 2014). "Zoe Cassavetes Ponders Plight Of The L.A. Actress In 'Day Out Of Days'". Deadline.
  8. Carina Chocano (16 July 2001). "Money for nothing and your clothes for free". Salon.com. Retrieved 2009-02-11.
  9. Mistry, Meenal (April 20, 2011). "Zoe Cassavetes And Gaby Basora Collaborate For The Girl Who "Loves Clothes But Hates Fashion"". Style.com.
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