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The Creating of Ruby
"Maybe we knew each other in another life. Or maybe we just go to the same coffee shop." -- Ruby Sparks

Zoe Kazan might have created all the tricky layers of Ruby Sparks on the page but doing the same thing as an actress was a completely different challenge. "As Ruby, Zoe had to become the heart of the movie," notes Ron Yerxa, "Zoe plays her as a free-spirited, autonomous young woman. Ruby had a punk past and she's now an artist. She's sexy and attractive, but she very much has her own mind."

Adds Albert Berger: "One of the great aspects of Zoe's writing and performance as Ruby is that she comes off as a real person who gets frustrated, gets bored and feels uninspired by her situation and I think in those imperfections we all see ourselves."

For Kazan, it was exciting to explore a character who naturally mirrors some of her own creative outlook but who is in other ways decidedly unlike herself. "I gave Ruby some qualities that I probably possess, but she's also very different," Kazan explains. "I like to be taken care of and Ruby's much more independent. She likes to speak her mind. She's very brave that way. It was always important to me that she not seem at all like a dream girl, but very real, so the challenge was in figuring out how to do that."

"To have a couple directing a couple made a strong connection for us," says Dano. "Val and Jon were role models for us because they seem to get along so well all the time. They have discussions that are civil but very passionate about creative choices - and we looked up to that in terms of how we wanted to work together."

Kazan and Dano had met while doing a play together and previously acted together in Kelly Reichardt's western MEEK'S CUTOFF. Recognizing their real-life chemistry as a vital resource, Dayton & Faris tapped into Dano and Kazan's romantic past. Explains Faris: "We used the history of how they met, and the first time they kissed, and it really brings a believability that would be hard to get with two actors who didn't know each other in that way. They were able to share all their authentic experience from when they first started to recognize that they were heading towards a romance."

Ultimately, a certain alchemy took over. "By the time we saw the film for the first time, one of the first things we said afterwards was that we didn't feel like we were looking at ourselves up there. It wasn't Paul and Zoe but two other people in their own relationship," concludes Kazan.

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