Jason Schwartzman

Jason Schwartzman Headshot

Actor

Birth Name: Jason Francesco Schwartzman

Birth Date: June 26, 1980

Age: 44 years old

Birth Place: Los Angeles, California

Parents: Talia Shire

Siblings: Robert Schwartzman

Despite being a part of a Hollywood legacy, actor Jason Schwartzman squarely earned his own regard as an actor with his knack for thoughtful, melancholy characters with a dry sense of humor. His unique screen presence was apparent from his debut as an oddly adult prep school student in Wes Anderson's "Rushmore" (1998). After the release of that critical darling, he would reteam repeatedly with the director, even co-scripting "The Darjeeling Limited" (2007). Schwartzman also had supporting roles in a mainstream studio films, but his sensibility leaned towards more inventive, character-driven projects like, "I (Heart) Huckabees" (2004), in which he played an idealistic young activist, and "Shopgirl" (2005), Steve Martin's novella adaptation that pitted Schwartzman as a ragtag roadie and aspiring artist against Martin as the sophisticated older man vying for the love of a woman.

Schwartzman also found creative success as a musician with the indie band Phantom Planet and as a composer whose work appeared on well-known film and television soundtracks. His first outing as a television cast member was short-lived but he found more success when he was cast in the lead in HBO's "Bored to Death" (HBO, 2009-), a quirky comedy well tailored to the actor's talent for frustrated artists with an offbeat, intellectual charm.

Born on June 26, 1980 in Los Angeles, Schwartzman was the son of producer Jack Schwartzman and actress-director Talia Shire. Also among his family of Hollywood notables were his grandfather, Oscar-winning composer Carmine Coppola, cousin Nicolas Cage, uncle Francis Ford Coppola, and cousin Sofia Coppola. Although he auditioned for the role of Tom Hanks' matchmaking son in 1993's "Sleepless in Seattle" - a role that went to Ross Malinger - acting was not Schwartzman's primary focus, and he was actually reluctant to embark on a career in the movie industry, which he accurately labeled "the family business."

At age 14, he made his first mark as a musician, forming the alternative pop rock band Phantom Planet, in which he served as drummer and songwriter. Phantom Planet was signed to Geffen Records and released its debut album, Phantom Planet Is Missing, in late 1998, promoting the new release with a band guest spot on the series "Sabrina the Teenage Witch" (ABC, 1996-2000; WB, 2000-03). That was just one of the landmark events of Schwartzman's eighteenth year. He also graduated from the L.A.'s Windward School that spring and made his feature film debut in Wes Anderson's smart, stylized indie comedy "Rushmore" (1998).

The leery actor was introduced to the film's casting director by cousin Sofia, who was familiar with Anderson's screenplay and thought Schwartzman was a good fit for the part of a creatively talented, non-academic overachiever with a penchant for older women. "Rushmore" was released to rave reviews, and the engaging newcomer with the bushy eyebrows and perpetually thoughtful expression seemed entirely at ease acting opposite comedy veteran Bill Murray. With his debut earning such an endearing spotlight, Schwartzman chose his subsequent roles carefully, making his next appearance in the short-lived but critically acclaimed high school drama, "Freaks and Geeks" (NBC, 1999-2000) in a guest spot as a student who deals in fake IDs.

Schwartzman remained partial to smaller projects with his role as a horror filmmaker brought in to assist a sci-fi movie production in 1960s Paris in cousin Roman Coppola's directorial debut "CQ" (2001), but gave in to the allure of mainstream Hollywood - first, in the anti-high school comedy "Slackers" (2002), followed that same year, with a small supporting role in "S1mone" (2002), starring Al Pacino as a down-and-out Hollywood director who turns a computer-generated woman (Rachel Roberts) into a star. Meanwhile Schwartzman continued recording and performing with Phantom Planet, whose second album, The Guest, marked their breakthrough thanks to the track "California" being picked up as the theme song for the popular teen drama series, "The O.C." (Fox, 2003-07).

Schwartzman toured and supported the album with the band but the following year, while recording a follow-up, the actor's increasing show business demands led to his decision to put his music career on hold. He was back in front of film festival audiences in the gritty but darkly comic "Spun" (2003), a generally well-received effort that starred Schwartzman as a meth addict enduring a high drama weekend and running afoul of the law. In the spring of 2004, Schwartzman was cast by screenwriter Mike White to star in the sitcom "Cracking Up" (Fox, 2004), about a dysfunctional Beverly Hills family, but even a rotating guest roster of alternative comedy kingpins (Jack Black, Kyle Gass, Amy Sedaris) and positive reviews were not enough to draw in viewers.

Schwartzman rebounded with his return to offbeat, cerebral feature films, playing an environmental activist who hires husband and wife "existential detectives" (Dustin Hoffman and Lily Tomlin) to help him uncover meaning in his life in writer-director David O. Russell's "I [Heart] Huckabees" (2004). From his supporting role as Will Ferrell's truth-impaired Hollywood agent in the dismal adaptation of the 1960s TV series "Bewitched" (2005), Schwartzman went on to earn critical notice for "Shopgirl" (2005), the screen adaptation of Steve Martin's bestselling novella in which he co-starred as an uncultured, not-so-successful bachelor competing with a wealthy sophisticate (Martin) for the affections of a salesgirl (Claire Danes).

Next, Schwartzman was recruited by Sofia Coppola to play the romantic male lead in her stylish costume romance, "Marie Antoinette" (2006), where he gave a slyly detached performance as the young King Louis XVI. Returning to music, he released the album Nighttiming under the project name Coconut Records. The album produced the track "West Coast," which was featured on "The O.C." and on the soundtrack to the film "Cloverfield" (2008), as well as the single "Summer Day" which appeared on the "Spider-Man 3" (2007) soundtrack. The actor, musician, composer and songwriter revealed further talents in 2007 when he co-scripted "The Darjeeling Limited" (2007) with filmmaker Wes Anderson and cousin Roman Coppola.

The story of three brothers (Schwartzman, Owen Wilson, Adrien Brody) who embark on a train trip across India to visit their ex-pat mother, was positively received. Schwartzman's starring role as a man unable to move beyond his years as a high school musical star in "The Marc Pease Experience" (2008), from filmmaker Todd Louiso, was only given limited release, but the actor went wide the following year in the Judd Apatow production "Funny People" (2009), as a comic who finds his breakthrough into the sitcom world is not all he had hoped it would be. In addition to Schwartzman's solid performance, two songs from his sophomore Coconuts Records effort, Davy, were featured on the soundtrack.

Five years after Schwartzman's first attempt to translate his indie film sensibilities to primetime audiences, he returned to television comedy with HBO's "Bored to Death" (HBO, 2009-2011). The series about an aspiring (and depressive) writer who, on a whim, launches a side business as a detective, co-starred Zach Galifianakis as his comic book-loving best friend. The series was further boosted by alternative comedy and indie film mainstays like guest directors Paul Feig and Nicole Holofcener and players including Parker Posey, Oliver Platt, John Hodgman and Jim Jarmusch.

Schwartzman scored a big screen success with "The Fantastic Mr. Fox" (2009), Wes Anderson's animated adaptation of the Roald Dahl book co-scripted with Noah Baumbach. Schwartzman also appeared in small roles in the director's next two films, "Moonrise Kingdom" (2012) and "The Grand Budapest Hotel" (2014), and starred opposite Charlie Sheen in Roman Coppola's surreal comedy "A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charles Swan III" (2013). He next co-starred in the '60s-set Hollywood comedy-drama "Saving Mr. Banks" (2014) as Disney songwriter Richard Sherman, with B.J. Novak as his brother and creative partner Robert. A starring role in the romantic comedy-drama "Listen Up Philip" (2014) was followed by supporting roles in Tim Burton's "Big Eyes" (2014) and the quirky suburban-life satire "The Overnight" (2015).

Schwartzman next appeared on the big screen starring in the indie comedy-drama "7 Chinese Brothers" (2015), while also playing a supporting role in the long-awaited TV series "Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp" (Netflix 2015).

Credits

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