“Film is a strange thing.”
Steven James Zahn was born on this day in Marshall, Minnesota in 1967. He is 45 years old.
He started acting in high school when he discovered improv. After a year at Gustavus-Adolphus College and two years at the American Repertory Theatre he moved to New Jersey. Based in Hoboken he acted in New York and did odd jobs to pay the rent. He did a national tour of Bye, Bye Birdie directed by Tommy Tune. The gig last 13 months and Zahn met his future wife Robyn Peterman.
Zahn co-starred with Ethan Hawke in the play Sophistry and Hawke recommended him for a part in the 1994 film Reality Bites. It was a break out role for Zahn and he followed it up with Crimson Tide and That Thing You Do!
He has made “an art out of portraying dysfunctional losers and likable freaks,” [AMG All Movie Guide: Steve Zahn] and he always made it look fun. From his turn as Rosencrantz in Michael Almereyda’s 2000 version of Hamlet to Wayne Wayne Wayne Jr. in Happy Texas it is hard to take your eyes off him when he is on-screen.
There are some dramatic roles in his CV, to be sure. For his part as Duane in Rescue Dawn. Zahn lost 40lbs.
He currently plays Jazz loving Davis McAlary on HBO’s Treme. He taps into his musical side for the show and sings and plays on screen.
Zahn lives on a farm in Kentucky with his wife and kids. He raises hay on the farm because it is easy, it allows him time away from the farm to work, and it is just funny to say.