It’s cliche, but if there ever was a case where the term “star on the rise” could be used appropriately, it’s Zoey Deutch. With a breakout role in last summer’s “Set It Up” followed by two hilarious, career-boosting performances in Netflix’s “The Politician” and “Zombieland: Double Tap,” there’s no doubt that the “Age of Deutch” is just beginning.
To track Deutch’s rise from a “Suite Life on Deck” guest spot to “the coolest girl in Hollywood,” we’ll start from the beginning. Deutch was born in Los Angeles, the daughter of actress Lea Thompson and director Howard Deutch. At age five, she began taking acting classes and landed her first role, on “Suite Life,” at 15.
From there, Deutch went on to star in mostly indies, like “Good Kids” and Richard Linklater’s “Everybody Wants Some!!” Most recently in the indie realm, she stole the show as the leading role in “Flower,” a strange sort of coming-of-age comedy that owes any praise to Deutch’s performance.
After a handful of minor roles and one quick attempt at young adult novel adaption fame in 2017’s “Before I Fall,” Deutch finally began to break through when she starred alongside Glen Powell in “Set It Up,” Netflix’s romantic comedy that became a slow-burning hit with audiences last summer.
However, the “Age of Deutch” (which, if you couldn’t already tell, I am declaring an official thing) truly kicked off this year.
Her first appearance was on Ryan Murphy’s political satire for Netflix, “The Politician,” starring alongside Ben Platt, Gwyneth Paltrow and Jessica Lange. In the show, Deutch tackles the role of Infinity, a teenage girl with a squeaky voice whose grandmother (played by Lange) suffers from Munchausen Syndrome by proxy and has convinced her, and those around her, that she has cancer.
Want to stomp around with a megaphone screaming “She ran away with MY boyfriend!” just for the drama of it all. pic.twitter.com/BJYyCs66qp
— The Politician (@the_Politician) October 28, 2019
Clearly a reference to the infamous relationship between real-life mother and daughter Dee Dee and Gypsy Rose Blanchard, whose story was brought to screens this year in Hulu’s “The Act,” Deutch steals every scene she’s in with ease. While often placed in scenes as a form of comedic relief, she also manages to take on the more complicated sides of the character, especially as the season progresses.
In one particular scene that stands out as a testament to Deutch’s comedic chops, Infinity is caught in the middle trying to stop both her grandmother, who is threatening to shoot herself, and her devout ex-boyfriend Ricardo, who is threatening to light himself on fire.
Aside from acting, Deutch also stuns in a scene where she and Platt duet a song from the musical “Assassins,” which, for those like myself who assumed was a made-up show, is very real. In the scene, Deutch proves her vocal ability, because what can’t she do?
In the midst of the hype for “The Politician,” Deutch was back on screen in the sequel to the 2009 hit “Zombieland,” playing newcomer Madison, who has lived out the past decade of zombie infestation in a shopping mall.
While Madison calls on the “dumb blonde” cliche that can so often become overdone and repetitive, Deutch breathes new life into the tired trope. From the minute she appears on screen, it’s impossible not to pay attention to her. Dressed in head-to-toe Von Dutch and Juicy and speaking with the classic Valley Girl vocal fry, the character’s cluelessness and, in contrast, rare moments of clarity were the perfect vehicles for Deutch to deliver one of, if not, the best supporting performances of the year.
While not much is known about Deutch’s future endeavors, aside from a 2020 reunion with “Set It Up” co-star Glen Powell in “Most Dangerous Games,” it’s safe to say that the “Age of Deutch” is far from over. The actress has more than proved her versatility in her short career so far, and we can only hope that there’s more to come.