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The Untold Truth Of Zooey Deschanel

Today, it can be easy to think that the era of the Hollywood superstar is over. In the modern age of cinema, blockbuster franchises like the Marvel Cinematic Universe often hold more sway over box office success and public excitement than individual actors. In such an environment, it can be difficult for new stars to distinguish themselves and develop effective brands apart from their biggest franchises. It's not impossible, though, and Zooey Deschanel's career is a great example of that.

Deschanel is an actor who's managed to carve out a distinct place for herself in the entertainment industry without relying on franchises or blockbuster filmmaking. She's been a part of several successful movies and TV shows, but her famously "quirky" persona is as big a part of her image and her success as any of her on-screen appearances. Of course, there's far more to Deschanel's life and career than simply being a standard-bearer for the manic pixie dream girls of the world. She's also an accomplished singer, songwriter, and entrepreneur who's had a big hand in shaping pop culture over the last two decades. Here are some facts about Zooey Deschanel that you might not know.

What's in a name?

For many fans, a big part of Zooey Deschanel's unique appeal is her retro sense of style. Her unique persona can make her seem like she comes from an earlier time, and there's more truth to that than you might think – at least when it comes to her first name.

In an interview with The New York Times, Deschanel revealed that she was named after Zooey Glass, one of the eponymous main characters in J.D. Salinger's 1961 book "Franny and Zooey." The Zooey of the story is an eccentric young man with a deep interest in offbeat subjects — a description that also applies in many ways to Deschanel herself. ”I like old movies, screwball comedies, vintage clothes, and basically I'm an old-fashioned gal," the actor said in the same interview. Her parents both worked in Hollywood professionally, and she explained that her literary namesake was indicative of her family's values, where the emphasis was more on appreciating vintage pop culture rather than the latest trends. Clearly, this style of thinking rubbed off on Deschanel, as her old-school interests eventually became a key part of her unique Hollywood image.

Being blue in 500 Days of Summer

After years of building her reputation with films like "Elf," "Almost Famous," and "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy," Zooey Deschanel played one of her defining characters in 2009's "500 Days of Summer," co-starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt. The film follows the relationship between Gordon-Levitt's Tom Hansen and Deschanel's Summer Finn. It's kind of a messed up story for a rom-com, as Tom displays an unhealthy obsession with Summer even after their breakup.

Tom's unreliable perspective on Summer extends to the film's cinematography. While Summer can often be seen wearing blue, no other character was allowed to use the color during production. "They wanted me to stand out in the movie," Deschanel explained in an interview with LondonNet. "If I wasn't wearing a lot of blue, there would be a big blue thing, like I'd be right next to tons of blue wallpaper or a big blue poster." This rule takes center stage later in the movie during the iconic Hall & Oates dance sequence. "It was the only scene in the film when blue is worn by anyone other than Summer," costume designer Hope Hanafin explained to Elle. "The point of that was to show that, in his morning-after glow, Tom's whole world is a reflection of Summer."

A musical legacy

While Zooey Deschanel is best known for her acting roles, she's equally passionate about music, being an accomplished instrumentalist, singer, and songwriter. One of her early brushes with fame came through a collision of those two artistic passions. 

In the music video for punk rock band The Offspring's 1999 hit "She's Got Issues," Deschanel played the role of the titular "She." The character wakes and goes through a seemingly normal day, but her imagination cartoonishly accentuates the things around her in bizarre ways. The video has been described as an "anti-video" by its creators due to the fact that it doesn't follow the usual tropes of the era. 

Though Deschanel doesn't sing or play an instrument for "She's Got Issues," it's still interesting to see such an early instance of her working in the music industry. Later, in 2007, she'd team up with indie musician M. Ward to record a song for her film "The Go-Getter," and the collaboration worked out so well that the duo became a long-term act, dubbing themselves She & Him (per Today).  

The Katy Perry connection

While Zooey Deschanel has carved out a successful career for herself, she's also often been in the news for her startling resemblance to other celebrities, from Emily Blunt to Katie Featherston. Perhaps more than any other doppelganger, Deschanel has been consistently compared with pop music sensation Katy Perry. Looking at them side by side, it can be easy to imagine Deschanel and Perry as long-lost twin sisters. The resemblance is so strong, in fact, that it became the focal point of Perry's music video for "Not the End of the World," in which aliens rescue the singer from a dying Earth, only to discover they got Deschanel instead. 

Although Deschanel impersonates Perry in the video, their roles were swapped earlier in their real lives. While promoting "Not the End of the World," Perry confessed that she used to take advantage of her resemblance to Deschanel to get into exclusive clubs back when she was still an unknown artist. "When I first got to L.A. I went to the club a lot," Perry explained to Deschanel during an Instagram Live. "And I wanted to get into the club, and I had no money, and I had no clout, I had nothing. And sometimes I would pose as you to get into the club." Now that both stars have become so successful, it's fun to know that they can laugh about their past comparisons.

Zooey's famous classmates

Considering how huge the entertainment industry is and how slim the chances of success in it are, you rarely hear of famous actors knowing each other before joining Hollywood. Unless you were born to an industry family and raised in L.A. of course, which is exactly the story of Zooey Deschanel

In her youth, Deschanel attended a private preparatory school in Santa Monica called Crossroads, which has made quite a name for itself over the years for producing a number of famous actors (per Vanity Fair). Some of those celebs-to-be even attended the school at the same time as Deschanel, including Jake Gyllenhaal, who would later co-star alongside her in 2002's "The Good Girl" (per New York Daily News). Deschanel had an even stronger schooldays bond with Kate Hudson, who later appeared opposite her in 2000's "Almost Famous." The two acted in a play together during their at Crossroads. 

Unfortunately, childhood wasn't always an easy time for Deschanel, who experienced a lot of bullying in her youth. "Girls spit in my face," she revealed in an interview with Allure (via US Weekly). "People were so mean to me. I'd cry every day." The sense of alienation that she often felt eventually compelled her to drop out of college and pursue a career in entertainment instead.