Considering that younger millennials had not been born when “Killing Zoe” was released in 1994, this Lawrence Bender production offers a few interesting clues about the societal views of the generation that preceded them.
“Killing Zoe” is a dark film about a young American who travels to Paris to help a friend with a poorly planned bank robbery that results in terrible bloodshed. The role of Zed is played by Eric Stoltz, an actor whose body of work during the 1980s and 1990s made him a cinematic ambassador of Generation X.
In 1992, Lawrence Bender had already scored a hit with “Reservoir Dogs,” a film that introduced audiences to the stylish crime fiction of director Quentin Tarantino. During the production of “Reservoir Dogs,” Lawrence Bender came across a location that he thought would be ideal to film a bank heist scene; moreover, it was an extremely affordable site. Bender’s business acumen prompted him to keep this Los Angeles location on file; a few months later, he called up his screenwriters to ask if they had any bank heist scripts.
Director Roger Avary did not really have a script ready for Lawrence Bender when he got the call, but this did not stop him from writing one in record time. Avary wrote the script with Stoltz in mind for the role of Zed, a thoroughly disaffected member of Generation X who pretty much waltzes through life with a careless outlook.
“Killing Zoe” presents the strange friendship between Zed and Eric, a deranged Frenchman who traded a journalism career for crime, drugs and dangerous sex. As a high school exchange student, Eric met Zed in Florida, where they robbed convenience stores for fun; both eventually settled on crime as a career, and the film presents them as men who would be amenable if they only cared about the direction of their lives. This blasé attitude was a dark societal trait of Generation X.
After “Killing Zoe,” Lawrence Bender would be nominated for three Oscars. He has received an Independent Spirit Award and two Circuit Community Awards. Bender was born in The Bronx and lives in Southern California; he is 60 years old and has a son with actress Leasi Andrews.