Zooey Deschanel is America's indie sweetheart. She acts! She sings! She stares at you with a quirky yet distant gaze! And she co-stars as a less-than-faithful lesbian in this weekend's ensemble comedy 'Our Idiot Brother.' After a memorable but small role in 'Almost Famous,' Deschanel rose to fame co-starring in 'Elf' and the surprisingly polarizing '(500) Days of Summer.' But! Every actor has an origin. Some origins can be embarrassing, some a glimpse of what is yet to come. With that, let's look at seven early performances from Zooey Deschanel – which, inexplicably, includes a music video by The Offspring and sharing a scene with Vanilla Ice.
'Veronica's Closet' (1998)

In Deschanel's first ever on-screen credit, she plays want-to-be model Elena opposite Kristie Alley's Veronica in this late '90s NBC comedy. Veronica doesn't seemed surprised at Elena's aspirations, mentioning that she has "big eyes," naturally. Also, Deschanel attempts some sort of an accent in this scene. At least I think she does. I mean, at 3:44, that's certainly not her normal voice. But then, soon after, it is. This should be today's contest, "Is Zooey Deschanel trying to attempt an accent or not when she was on 'Veronica's Closet'?"

'She's Got Issues' The Offspring

The good news: You get the chance to see a hair-dyed-red Deschanel prance around in this video from The Offspring – displaying the charms that will one day make her a star. The bad news: You have to listen to a song by The Offspring.

'Mumford' (1999)

'Mumford,' about a psychiatrist who is not actually a psychiatrist, is quite the enigma of a film. Charming enough, and filled with a surprisingly eclectic cast, the film starred a fairly unknown (and still fairly unknown) Loren Dean who, too, is charming enough. In other words: 'Mumford' just kind of exists, charmingly. Regardless, it was Deschanel's first film role – a role in which she plays one of Dr. Mumford's patients who seems to quite often enjoy a cigarette.

'Almost Famous' (2000)

"One day, you'll be cool." Yes, this was Deschanel's first real introduction to America – as many very uncool young males can contest. Oh, also there was absolutely no doubt that she was talking directly to each and every one of us individually – certainly not to just young William Miller.

'Manic' (2001)

Oh, and you thought that '(500) Days of Summer' was the first time that Deschanel and Joseph Gordon-Levitt stared opposite each other as lovers? Though, for fans of '500 Days,' it may be a tad shocking to watch Levitt slam Deschanel up against the wall in a fit of rage. Both are patients of a psychiatric ward (and not in the cute, whimsical way); Levitt for an assault he committed and Deschanel after being raped. So, yeah, there are no Hall & Oates songs on this film's soundtrack.

'Frasier' (2002)

Deschanel plays Roz's cousin, Jen, who is visiting Seattle from London. And is also blond for reasons not explained. I contend that this appearance is exactly why every hipster loves Zooey Deschanel. You see, she thinks that Seattle is lame. When pressed, we discover that she also thinks London is lame. In fact, she's so over everything. This 2002 episode of 'Frasier' could very well be the origin of the blasé hipster uprising that we are faced with today.

'The New Guy' (2002)

"Squat on this, puke face," Yeah, Zooey Deschanel probably wants this one back. Not so much the line itself, or even the movie. But the fact that line was directed at Vanilla Ice. So, yes, if you were ever thinking to yourself, I wonder what it would be like to see Zooey Deschanel and Vanilla Ice in a movie together, well, today is your lucky day.

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categories Movies