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Zooey Deschanel denies nepotism, insisting having six-time Oscar nominee dad didn’t advance her career

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Zooey Deschanel has insisted that having parents in film and TV did not make it easier for her to break into the industry.

The New Girl actress has been labelled a “nepo baby” because her father Caleb is a cinematographer, who has worked on movies including The Lion King, The Patriot, My Sister’s Keeper, The Passion of Christ, The Godfather and Titanic. He has also been nominated for six Oscars throughout his career.

Meanwhile, her mother is Twin Peaks’ Mary Jo Deschanel, who also appeared in The Right Stuff and an episode of House. Her sister Emily is also an actress, who has starred in the likes of Bones and Spider-Man 2. 

In a new interview on The School of Greatness podcast, Deschanel denied her family connections helped her much when she was establishing herself as an actress.

“It’s funny because people be like, ‘Oh, nepotism’, I’m like no. My dad’s a DP [director of photography, another term for cinematographer],” she said. “No one’s getting jobs because their dad’s a DP. It’s definitely not.”

However, she did say she benefitted from her family in a creative sense. “My mum is an actor and my dad is a cinematographer and a director. I can’t possibly emphasise enough how much creative help I had from my family unit.

“My dad is a great creative mind and such a talented person. My mum is a great actor and is so nurturing. My mum would coach me when I didn’t have an acting coach, she would help me, read lines with me. She’d be so supportive.

She continued: “I would have so many great discussions about film and filmmaking with my dad. They both would help me. My dad would also read lines with me and give direction. Then having a sister whose an actor.

“It just makes you automatically have a community, and how much our communities help us – whether its our families or our found communities.”

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