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Zoe Kazan on ‘The Big Sick,’ Living in New York and Robots

Zoe Kazan has been around a lot lately. On-screen, she starred in summer hit “The Big Sick” and has a role in buzzy HBO series “The Deuce.” And if you’re a New Yorker, you might have spotted her writing in Brooklyn coffee shops — her new play “After the Blast” starts performances at LCT3 on Oct. 7. Its head-turning subject matter: fertility, environmental collapse and robots.

Why robots?

I was reading an article in The New Yorker about things you can buy in New Jersey, and one of them was robots, for conventions. They’re actually like a remote-controlled car that looks like a robot, but they have a speaker so you can talk through them, and they’ve got limbs to hand out pamphlets. I was like, “If such a thing is purchasable for a few thousand dollars in New Jersey, really someone should be putting it onstage.”

“The Big Sick” has been a big hit. Why do you think audiences responded so strongly?

This has been a hard year for a lot of people, and it’s a really positive film. It’s coming with open arms to people. I think people are really ready to feel good — I know I am.

You’re not shy about speaking up for your political beliefs. Why is that important to you?

What other choice do I have right now? My brother-in-law said to me, “Oh, you’ve become a lot more political since the election.” I was like, “No, I haven’t. It’s just what’s happening is so egregious that I can’t stand by.” I don’t want to be a good German.

What kind of reaction have you gotten from speaking openly about harassment in Hollywood?

I don’t know. Honestly, I blocked the search terms on my Twitter, because I don’t want to receive that kind of abuse. So if people were saying nice things, I didn’t get that either.

You’ve lived in New York for 12 years. What keeps you here?

I love taking the subway. It makes my world not so small. Coming back from the theater, going home on the subway with everyone else who’s getting off work at 11:30 at night — it makes me feel like my job is just another job, which it is. I like having a world that doesn’t revolve around our industry.

Things you didn’t know about Zoe Kazan

AGE: 34 BIRTHPLACE: Los Angeles ALMA MATER: Yale SHOWBIZ FAVORITE FOOD: Pizza ON HER PLAYLIST: Lorde’s “Melodrama”; anything by Sharon Van Etten BROADWAY DEBUT: 2008’s “Come Back Little Sheba”

Zoe Kazan portrait
CREDIT: Patrick James miller for Variety

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