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Next Gen 2012: Hollywood's Fastest-Rising Stars

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    Next Gen
    Zoe Kazan Headshot - P 2012
    Getty Images
    Zoe Kazan
    Writer/Star, "Ruby Sparks"

    The offspring of Hollywood royalty (her grandfather is Elia Kazan, the late director of such classics as On the Waterfront and Splendor in the Grass) has thrived in her own right. After bit parts, the L.A. native, 29, broke through this year with the critical darling Ruby Sparks, a fantasy rom-com she wrote and co-starred in alongside her real-life love, actor Paul Dano.

    BEST ADVICE: Whoever told me "just keep writing" and that "you don't just have to choose one thing." Both have made my career more interesting and given me a sense of power in what can be a pretty powerless profession.

    INDUSTRY MENTOR: I did a play five years ago that Ethan Hawke directed. He's an example of somebody who has taken charge of his life: He's done indie films, big budgets, made his own work, directed and written novels.

    BIGGEST 2012 ACCOMPLISHMENT: The fact I kept my relationship together [with Dano] while making and promoting Ruby Sparks.

    CAN'T-MISS TV: Parks and Recreation.

    MOVIE FIX: I'm a big rewatcher of Hitchcock, especially Notorious and Rebecca, and a lot of older films like Adam's Rib. And then stuff like Groundhog Day and Four Weddings and a Funeral. And, of course, Kramer vs. Kramer.

    TURNING POINT: I did an off-Broadway play where I had to be naked for 10 minutes onstage. I was feeling like something wasn't working with my performance, so I asked some of my castmembers to give me notes. One said, "You are totally naked onstage, so you don't have to play on the nakedness. You're already naked."

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