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Von Iva Backs Up Zooey Deschanel in “Yes Man”

Singer Jillian Iva of the San Francisco-based electro-rock trio Von Iva thought that getting a cool display at one of the most popular record stores in Los Angeles would spike CD sales. Then, as a bonus, the Bethany native and her bandmates ended up in the new Jim Carrey movie, “Yes Man,” backing up Zooey Deschanel.

Iva and her bandmates, keyboardist Becky “Bex” Kupersmith and drummer Kelly Harris, show up in “Yes Man” as three-quarters of the indie-rock band Munchausen By Proxy, led by free-spirited rocker Renee Allison (Deschanel). It all came together because of some great product placement that caught the right person’s attention.

“The music supervisor, Jonathan Karp, who’s worked on all the Judd Apatow movies — I’m just name-dropping that because I love those movies, ‘Pineapple Express’ and all that — he went to a record store in Hollywood, Amoeba Music, and a friend of ours who worked there put us on the endcap display,” Iva said. “He (Karp) saw the album cover, caught his eye, and he listened to it and realized we would be perfect for what he and Peyton, the director, were envisioning for the movie with Zooey.”

Iva, who attended Putnam City West High School but moved to California when she was 16 (“I was a little too big for my britches in Oklahoma — my poor mother,” she said), said that Von Iva had nearly 100 percent creative control over their songs, with Deschanel contributing some lyrics. But that autonomy did not extend to wardrobe.

“You wouldn’t see me in a chicken costume or a yellow vinyl dress to save my life,” she said. “But the costume designer was hilarious. I was like, ‘You’re mocking us, aren’t you? You hate me. What did I do to you?’ And he cracking up and was like, ‘Trust me — it’s going to translate so great on film, it’s just going to be ridiculous.’”

Also, Iva said she was hoping for a better name for the band, mainly since Munchausen By Proxy sounds like an obtuse punk-metal disaster, but none of Von Iva’s ideas received legal clearance.

“I think the one we really wanted was Yaz Hands,” Iva said, referring to the classic early ‘80s synth duo, Yaz. “We even had keytars with hands coming out from them — we had the graphic and everything. One I wanted that was pretty funny, tongue-in-cheek, was Not Bad. “Like, ‘Hello everybody, we’re Not Bad.’”

Fortunately for Von Iva, the trio gets plenty of face time in “Yes Man,” and the movie seems to get the aesthetic of Los Angeles’ indie-rock scene better than most mainstream films might have achieved. Still, Iva has not seen the band’s big-screen debut.

“We’re going to wait, let it marinate and see what happens, and be shocked when we see it,” she said. “Hopefully a good kind of shocked.”

Posted: 17 Dec, 2008 |