Meet Zoe Levin, Hollywood's New Coppola Muse

Senior Fashion Writer

Paul Maffi

It’s no coincidence that some of our all-time-favorite style muses here at Lucky began as Coppola ingénues. That family just knows how to pick them. And by "them" I mean gorgeous, slightly offbeat actresses who exude both intelligence and style for days. There was Diane Keaton, wearing pearls and smock dresses in Frances Ford Coppola’s The Godfather trilogy. Decades later Kirsten Dunst was moody, ethereal perfection in writer/director Sofia Coppola’s first movie, The Virgin Suicides, followed by Scarlett Johansson (in briefs for Sofia's Lost in Translation) and Elle Fanning (in Prada for Somewhere). Now Gia Coppola, daughter of Frances’s son Gian-Carlo, is making her feature film writing/directorial debut with Palo Alto, a coming-of-age tale based on James Franco’s book of short stories. Out in limited release on May 9, the movie’s cast of indie all-stars includes Emma Roberts, Jack Kilmer (and his dad, Val), Franco and—one of our favorite new faces—Zoe Levin, whom we first took notice of in last year’s The Way Way Back. We recently caught up with 20-year-old Levin—who just finished starring in The Commons of Pensacola on Broadway alongside Sarah Jessica Parker—while on set at her Lucky photo shoot, where we chatted about what it’s like to work with Hollywood royalty, her high school wardrobe and her favorite '90s style icon.

Lucky: So, was Gia Coppola the coolest ever?

Zoe Levin: Actually, yes! Gia’s so fun to work with. And as a director, she’s super-specific and very direct. We really got to explore our characters. The set was very loose and laid-back. So we all felt really calm and comfortable with each other.

The rumor is she lent you something of hers to wear?

ZL: It’s true. I wear her leather jacket in the movie.

Levin With Nat Wolff in Palo Alto (Photo credit: Tribeca Film)

In Palo Alto, you and the other young actors [Emma Roberts, Jack Kilmer, Nat Wolff] play high school friends. Did you guys hang out outside of work?

ZL: When we started filming, I had recently moved to L.A. [from Chicago] and didn’t know anyone at all. So my movie friends actually became my real friends.

Did it bring you back to your high school days?

ZL: Well, I’m not that far removed! Actually, I still wear stuff I wore in high school.

Ooh, like what?

ZL: My favorite look right now is tights and dancer shorts—like, little black shorts. And a crop top. It’s what I wear when I’m going out with my friends. In high school I used to get dressed up at my one friend’s house and do these photo shoots wearing crazy Betsey Johnson dresses and makeup. But I do feel like now I’m graduating to my young adult style right now.

Are there any brands or designers you’re currently loving?

ZL: I really like Scotch & Soda. I love a '90s look. I think about Drew Barrymore from back then and start drooling. She’s perfect. Actually, Palo Alto has a '90s-esque feel.

Did you have a high school superlative?

ZL: Most Likely to Win an Oscar. I did one movie [Trust] in high school. And a lot of plays.

Speaking of, how was it doing a Broadway show with Sarah Jessica Parker?

ZL: It was surreal. Eight shows a week, with hundreds of people out there watching. She’s so great. The most down-to-earth person ever.

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