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Zoë Kravitz is getting strong reviews for her portrayal of Selina Kyle, aka Catwoman, in Matt Reeves’ The Batman.
But the actress says she wanted to audition for a role in Christopher Nolan’s 2012 epic The Dark Knight Rises — and was shot down because she was too “urban.”
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“I don’t know if it came directly from Chris Nolan,” the 33-year-old said in an interview with The Guardian. “I think it was probably a casting director of some kind, or a casting director’s assistant. … 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.”
The Mad Max: Fury Road actress previously talked about the experience in a 2015 interview with Nylon, when she said, “They told me that I couldn’t get an audition for a small role they were casting because they weren’t ‘going urban.’ It was like, ‘What does that have to do with anything?’ I have to play the role like, ‘Yo, what’s up, Batman? What’s going on wit chu?'”
The actress later added on her Instagram stories that such a stance was hardly unusual for roles at the time: “I did not mention this to point any fingers or make anyone seem racist, namely Chris Nolan, the film’s producers or anyone on the casting team, because I truly do not believe anyone meant any harm. I was simply giving an example of what it was like to be a woman of color in the industry at that time. Again, this was many years ago when words like that were thrown around very casually and although I’m very glad that we are attempting to evolve – let’s all calm down.” The actress also slammed stories that misreported her comments as claiming she was auditioning to play Catwoman in The Dark Knight Rises rather than a small role.
Kravitz trained for four months to prepare for her physical performance in The Batman and studied videos of big cats to perfect her character’s stride and movements.
Warner Bros. and Nolan had no immediate comment on the casting story.
Kravitz added in the interview that she hasn’t been interested in doing roles that are explicitly about race. “At one point, all the scripts that were being sent were about the first Black woman to make a muffin or something,” she said. “Even though those stories are important to tell, I also want to open things up for myself as an artist.”
The Batman has soared to a domestic box office of $134 million — only the second movie since December 2019 to cross $100 million on its opening weekend. The three-hour film centers on Bruce Wayne’s (Robert Pattinson) early days of fighting crime and features a rogues’ gallery of Batman antagonists. Paul Dano also stars as the Riddler and Colin Farrell plays the Penguin.
March 8, 12:24 p.m. This story has been updated with Kravitz’s clarification on her Instagram stories.
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