Growing up in a somewhat showbiz family, her father Caleb Deschanel is an Academy Award-nominated cinematographer, best known for his work on acclaimed films such as "The Right Stuff" and "The Passion of the Christ."
Her mother Mary Jo Deschanel starred in the cult David Lynch TV series "Twin Peaks." Named after one of the title characters in J.D. Salinger's novella "Franny and Zooey," Deschanel became interested in films when her father brought home a collection of Alfred Hitchcock movies. This opened the door for a newfound fascination with the works of Stanley Kubrick and the French New Wave.
It wasn't a natural start into the acting. "I started auditioning for things and I didn't get cast in anything because these people were like, 'we don't know what to do with her," she says. "She's not like a cheerleader, she's not like nerdy, and we don't know where she fits."
Despite her family's connection to the business, there have been some awkward moments. "I remember when I went to the Toronto film festival where 'Mumford' premiered and seeing it for the first time," she says. "It's a really strange experience seeing yourself for the first time and your face that big. It was in this huge theater, sitting in the balcony and I'm like 'oh my gosh, this is so weird.'"