Zazie Beetz

Actor / Soundtrack

Birthdate – June 1, 1991 (31 Years Old)

Birthplace – Mitte, Berlin, Germany

Soon after graduating from Skidmore College—after, she says, spending a year “broke and waiting tables,” Zazie Beetz (birthname: Zazie Olivia Beetz) first made her mark in film and TV with her recurring role as Van Keefer on the hit Fox series, Atlanta (2016-present), although she had already acted in Josh Mond’s indie feature, James White (2015), with Christopher Abbott and Cynthia Nixon, and Onur Tukel’s Applesauce (2015), with Max Casella and Dylan Baker.

Beetz was part of the ensemble of Bart Freundlich’s IFC release, Wolves (2016), with Michael Shannon and Carla Gugino, and acclaimed indie filmmaker Matt Porterfield’s drama Sollers Point (2017), with Jim Belushi and Marin Ireland. Beetz’s extremely diverse filmography is her trademark, appearing in such big budget genre vehicles as Dean Devlin’s Geostorm (2017), with Gerard Butler, Abbie Cornish, and Ed Harris, though the $120 million budgeted film lost money for distributor Warner Bros.; Deadpool 2 (2018), Beetz’s first collaboration with director David Leitch, and starring Ryan Reynolds; and Todd Phillips’ Oscar-nominated Joker (2019), with Joaquin Phoenix, which became the highest grossing R-rated film in history with a worldwide return exceeding $1 billion.

In contrast, Zazie Beetz has also acted in several distinctive indie films, including Cathy Yun’s Chinese comedy, Dead Pigs (2018), with Vivian Wu; Babak Anvari’s first English-language feature, Wounds (2019), with Armie Hammer and Dakota Johnson; Steven Soderbergh’s snappy look at the sports business, High Flying Bird (2019), with André Holland; Benedict Andrews’ biopic on Jean Seberg, Seberg (2019), with Kristen Stewart and Jack O’Connell; Noah Hawley’s outer space drama, Lucy in the Sky (2019), with Natalie Portman and Jon Hamm; Edson Oda’s Sundance-premiering Nine Days (2020), with Winston Duke and Benedict Wong.

One of Beetz’s most successful American indie films appeared in 2021, with Jaymes Samuel’s stylized Western, The Harder They Fall, with Jonathan Majors, Idris Elba, Regina King, Delroy Lindo, and Lakeith Stanfield. Beetz reunited with director David Leitch for the action comedy, Bullet Train (2022), with Brad Pitt, Sandra Bullock, Joey King, and Aaron Taylor-Johnson.    

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Personal Details

Born in the Mitte section of Berlin, Zazie Beetz’s parents are African American mother Michelle, and German father, Thomas Beetz. Michelle and Thomas Beetz separated when Zazie Beetz was a young girl. By the time she was eight, Beetz was growing up in Manhattan’s Washington Heights neighborhood, performing in community theater and attending Muscota New School and the Harlem School of the Arts in New York.

Beetz graduated from LaGuardia Arts High School, where she specialized in theater and acting. Zazie Beetz graduated with a BA in French from Skidmore College. Her younger brother is Justin. She is engaged to actor-writer David Rysdahl, with whom she has been involved in a relationship since 2014. Her height is 5’ 6”. 

Filmography

Nine Days

Emma (2021)

Joker

Sophie Dumond (2019)

Lucy in the Sky

Erin Eccles (2019)

Sollers Point

Courtney (2018)

Still Here

Keysha (2020)

Bullet Train

(2022)

The Harder They Fall

(2021)

Some Facts About Zazie Beetz

Bilingual: Zazie Beetz grew up speaking German and English at home. She considers her German identity extremely important.

Childhood Idols: Beetz’s show business heroes growing up were Josephine Baker, Nina Simone, and Billie Holliday.

East to West: Beetz’s father Thomas emigrated from East Germany to the U.S. after the fall of the Berlin Wall, working as a janitor and studying to become a cabinetmaker.

 

Awards

Nominee, Best Supporting Actress, Emmy Awards (2018).