Name: Zoe Lister-Jones

Notable past credits: Lister-Jones has appeared in numerous projects including shows like “Life in Pieces” and “New Girl.” She also directed, wrote and starred in films including “How It Ends” and “Band Aid.”

SXSW Project: Lister-Jones wrote, directed and stars in the upcoming Roku series “Slip,” which is premiering at the festival on Thursday. The show follows an unmoored married woman who finds herself jumping between alternate realities after a one-night stand. 

The origin of “Slip”: “I started writing it in quarantine,” said Lister-Jones, who landed in Austin several days before the show’s screening. “Like so many of us I was grappling with some pretty big existential questions and that sense of restlessness that came into such hyper focus as we were all isolated and being forced to look at our lives. There was also a lot of reflection that was happening about paths not taken in our pasts and I became pretty interested in what we do with those ‘what ifs’ and how they sort of plague us. And so the show was born out of that question: what do we do with our insatiable need for something more?” she added. “And when that comes to relationships and sexual intimacy, that felt like a very ripe area.”

Choosing a series format to tell the story: “I was really interested in television as a filmmaker,” she said. “I’ve made a number of films, and I think the format of television just allows for such expansion and storytelling in a way that I hadn’t been able to explore. The nature of this show specifically, because of the world jumping, was so exciting to do in series rather than as a feature.” 

Writing roles for herself: “It’s the best. From a young age, right when I graduated college, I started writing for myself. It allowed me to create the work that I wanted to be in, because as an actor you have so little control. I just love the intersection of acting, directing and writing because it’s the ultimate storytelling.”

Connecting with show producer Dakota Johnson: “Slip” marks the television launch of Johnson’s TeaTime Productions company. “I love Dakota Johnson. I think she’s not only incredibly talented, but she has incredible taste — and I’m not saying that because she chose my show,” said Lister-Jones. “She really is such a cinephile. The show was brought to her alongside her producing partner, Ro Donnelly, and they just loved it and believed in it so wholeheartedly. It’s been an incredible partnership.”

Lister-Jones credits Roku and TeaTime for giving her creative freedom throughout production. “It’s probably one of the purest artistic experiences I’ve had,” said Lister-Jones of the experience. “I wrote all of the scripts in quarantine and handed seven scripts to Roku, and they green-lit [the show] without giving me any notes, which is unheard of. From page to screen, it was completely uncompromised.”

Bringing her fashion friends into “Slip”: “We worked with a lot of designers that were either friends of mine, or people whose work I love, like Batsheva and Collina Strada and Rachel Comey, Sandy Liang. There’s some really great pieces showcased in the show.” 

What’s next: In addition to the release of “Slip” on April 21, Lister-Jones stars in two films coming out this spring. The first is “A Good Person” on March 24, written and directed by Zach Braff; the film costars Florence Pugh and Morgan Freeman. Lister-Jones also appears in Ari Aster’s horror-comedy “Beau Is Afraid,” led by Joaquin Phoenix — which will be released the same day as “Slip.” “So it’s an exciting spring,” said Lister-Jones. “It’s really fun for me to be able to create my own work and be in charge of the entire thing, but then to also get to just go act and be a part of other people’s visions.”

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