Q&A: Zooey's Phobias

Ben Gibbard's better half says Bremerton's great. She's just not ready to move there.

Zooey Deschanel, the actress responsible for taming Will Ferrell's Elf and the singer in the folk duo She & Him, has approached her career in the same way that Bremerton—the hometown of her Death Cab–fronting husband, Ben Gibbard—has approached its redevelopment: with humility. There was as much bravado in Deschanel's turns as the rebellious sister in Almost Famous or the leading lady of Jim Carrey's Yes Man as there was in the city-across-the-sound's construction of a fountain park between its ferry terminal and shipyard. And just like the slowly filling condos and expanded walkways in downtown Bremerton have created the infrastructure for great days around the corner, Deschanel's unpretentious collaboration with guitarist M. (for Matt) Ward hasn't yet resulted in box-office gold—but there's plenty of promise. Here, Deschanel talks about Bremerton, Bremerton's Quincy Jones, and why she's not yet ready to move to Bremerton. SW: How are you satisfied working with She & Him in ways that you're not by making movies? Deschanel: She & Him, it's just a much more complete reflection of myself. I get to see the songs through from, like, thinking of the idea and coming up with the melody and recording a demo to going into the studio and recording with Matt and getting all his ideas. I get to be a part of the whole thing. I don't get to be a part of the whole movie-making process. Is that liberating? Well, you know, 'cause [as an actress] you're only as good as the director you're working with. A good experience on a film is fantastic when you can work with a director who is really incredible and has really put the crew together with care. That's a really great experience. If you have a not-so-great experience, it can be very frustrating. Is Matt's role in She & Him similar to that of a movie director at all? It's different, because Matt and I and Mike Coykendall—who's our engineer—it's just the three of us. So it's more of a discussion between three people. Matt's like a very great collaborative director. But I'm gonna say no, just because I don't want to compare the two processes. I don't think that they're the same at all. Have you been out to Bremerton yet to see [Gibbard's] hometown? Yeah, it's really nice, very cute, very pretty. I like it. I haven't really spent any time in the town of Bremerton. I've only been basically to Ben's parents' house, which is very pretty. It's a nice area. Ever consider making the move? I think the publicity of a Deschanel/Gibbard house in Bremerton would do more for the town than any stimulus package could. Well, I think we're going to stay in L.A. You know, Quincy Jones is also from Bremerton. Maybe he could produce the Ben Gibbard/Zooey Deschanel record. (Laughs) We're not going to make a record. Never? Well, no, because we're married. You wouldn't want your personal life to get in the way of your professional life, or your professional life to get in the way of your personal life. ckornelis@seattleweekly.com

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