Zoe Kravitz: I Was Rejected as Too 'Urban'

Current Catwoman says a previous Batman movie wasn't as welcoming
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 8, 2022 4:10 PM CST
Catwoman Zoe Kravitz: I Was Denied Audition Over Race
Zoe Kravitz poses for photographers upon arrival for the screening of the film 'The Batman' in London Wednesday, Feb. 23, 2022.   (Photo by Joel C Ryan/Invision/AP)

Zoe Kravitz may be the new Catwoman, but nabbing that dream movie role was a lengthy process—one that involved a rejection based on the color of her skin, the biracial actor-musician tells the Observer. A decade before her debut as Selina Kyle in Matt Reeves' The Batman, which topped the domestic box office over the weekend, the daughter of actor Lisa Bonet and musician Lenny Kravitz says she intended to audition for Christopher Nolan’s 2012 Batman flick The Dark Knight Rises but was told "I wasn't able to read [for a role] because of the color of my skin."

"I don't know if it came directly from Chris Nolan. I think it was probably a casting director of some kind, or a casting director's assistant," says the 33-year-old Kravitz, star of HBO's Big Little Lies. "Being a woman of color and being an actor and being told at that time that I wasn't able to read because of the color of my skin, and the word urban being thrown around like that, that was what was really hard about that moment." In 2015, she told Nylon that she couldn't even read for a small role, per the Washington Post. It was as if it was assumed that "I have to play the role like, 'Yo, what's up, Batman? What’s going on wit chu?'" she said.

As a young person, "I was uncomfortable with my blackness," Kravitz tells the Observer. "It took me a long time to not only accept it but to love it and want to scream it from the rooftops." Yet Kravitz won't read scripts that are explicitly about race for fear of being pigeonholed. She says her parents "focused on trying to make sure I understood that despite the color of my skin I should be able to act or dress or do whatever it is I want to do." Anne Hathaway was ultimately cast as Catwoman in The Dark Knight Rises. A decade later, Reeves clearly saw Kravitz's potential. Per the Observer, the director describes her as "smart, funny, honest, unpretentious" and "a great creative partner." (Read more Hollywood stories.)

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