Perhaps it’s fitting that Zazie Beetz, whose name was inspired by the title character in Raymond Queneau’s novel Zazie in the Metro, about a girl who is dropped off in Paris and wants to see the city’s metro, loves Paris.
When Beetz and I got on the phone on Thursday, she had only been in Paris for 30 hours, but she had somehow already spotted the resident cat at Le Bristol, the famed hotel in the city’s eighth arrondissement, and attended Chloé’s Fall 2023 show.
Beetz talked to me about her “boho weird” style, how she chooses which roles to take on and, of course, Paris — her “dream city.”
Have you been to Paris before?
I studied abroad here when I was 20. I lived with an older woman and I came into myself. I really do think of my life as kind of a pre- and post-Paris experience. It was an incredible, incredible thing to be somewhere on your own that isn’t home and where shape who you are and for those reasons, Paris has remained a city that is just so close to my heart. It means so much to me and I would love to live here someday. It’s my dream city.
How would you describe your personal style?
My personal style — if I were to give it a name — would be “a little boho weird.” My personal style of how I dress myself every day is a little different from my red-carpet style. (My red-carpet style is less daring than what I wear on my own.) For example, if I’m dressed to the nines in one way, then I like to have one part that’s a little fucked up — like my hair isn’t glam or my makeup isn’t glammed or the other way around. If one part of me is super glam, I need something else to be not. I’m kind of a mix of high, low, and just very emotional and creative. I like to play characters in my clothing, but all within the realm of wanting to be able to live practically in my clothing.
Atlanta wrapped last year. What have you been working on since?
I’m not working on anything right now. Actually, I’m always sort of in a space of developing. Me and my partner, David Rysdahl, we are writing and producing some shows that will hopefully get off the ground in the next year. I’m also always reading scripts, taking meetings, and trying to place the next project for myself. I’m always working on stories, trying to get something that will get some traction and can go. Oh, and I just finished filming an HBO show. But I don’t know when that will come out. I’m kind of all over the place.
What draws you to a role?
The number-one rule really is, “Is the script good?” It happens all the time that if the script isn’t fully there yet, people say, “We’re going to work on it,” and that never happens. I found that if something is ready to go and I don’t resonate with it then I just don’t want to do it.
I don’t want to say that I’m more particular to a certain genre or certain type of story because a good script is just a good script, and you can turn your nose up at anything, but then a good version of that is really good.
Also, who I am continues to change. I’m drawn very much right down to psychological exploration of the human state around morality and around how we perceive ourselves and pain and joy.
I’m also into comedy. History of the World: Part II premieres on Hulu in a few days and we had such a great time shooting it. That’s not about the pain of human existence, but I think it’s a wonderful, fun, totally different thing on the other spectrum of genre, so I’m open to anything.
You attended the Chloé show this morning. What were the highlights for you?
Chloé is just so very archetypically French. Everything about it feels so French and chic. I lived in Paris for a year and I studied French and so Chloé just is, for me, such an important part of French fashion. There was this dress that was super multicolored — I don’t know how else to describe it — It just really popped and compared to some of the more neutrals that were presented, I loved that. I was also really into a lot of the knitwear. I’ve been really into knitwear recently, maybe because I like to knit, so I’m like, “Oh, I can make this stuff?”