Zoe Kravitz says she was denied audition in ‘Dark Knight Rises’ because of skin color, being too ‘urban’

The actress-singer wanted to read for a small part in "The Dark Knight Rises," but she was reportedly rejected.

Zoë Kravitz is the latest Hollywood beauty to portray Catwoman on the big screen, but landing that role was not her first attempt to join the Batman franchise. 

The actress-singer said she wasn’t able to audition for a small part in Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises years ago as was rejected because of her skin color, according to Variety.

Actress-singer Zoe Kravitz plays Catwoman in the latest “Batman” film, opposite Robert Pattinson. (Photo: Theo Wargo/Getty Images)

“I don’t know if it came directly from Chris Nolan,” Kravitz told The Guardian in a recent interview. “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.”

In a 2015 Nylon story, Kravitz shared that she “couldn’t get an audition” because the film wasn’t “going urban,” she said. 

“It was like, ‘What does that have to do with anything?’” she added at the time. “I have to play the role like, ‘Yo, what’s up, Batman? What’s going on wit chu?’”

When word circulated that she would be playing Selina Kyle/Catwoman in director Matt Reeves version, which was released March 1, Kravitz said her “phone was blowing up more than any birthday I’ve ever had.” She stars opposite Robert Pattinson in The Batman, which centers on Bruce Wayne in the early stages of his transformation into the Caped Crusader. 

Kravitz told Empire how she studied cats to help inform her Catwoman performance. 

“We watched cats and lions and how they fight, and talked about what is actually possible when you’re my size and Batman’s so much stronger than me. What is my skill? It’s being fast and tricky,” she explained. “So we did some really interesting floor work that incorporated different kinds of martial arts and capoeira and a kind of feline, dance-like movement.”

The Batman - Special Screening
Robert Pattinson and Zoe Kravitz attend a special screening of The Batman at BFI IMAX Waterloo on Feb. 23, 2022, in London, England. (Photo: Joe Maher/Getty Images)

“This is an origin story for Selina,” said Kravitz. “So it’s the beginning of her figuring out who she is, beyond just someone trying to survive. I think there’s a lot of space to grow and I think we are watching her become what I’m sure will be the femme fatale.”

The LOLAWOLF lead singer joins Halle Berry, Anne Hathaway and Michelle Pfeiffer as just a few of the A-list stars who have portrayed Catwoman in a Batman film. 

She said she interpreted her iteration of the character as bisexual, as it is implied in The Batman that Selina’s relationship with her friend, Anika, is more than just platonic. In one scene, Selina calls Anika “baby.” 

Asked by Pedestrian if this suggests Selina is down with the LGBTQ community, Kravitz said, “That’s definitely the way I interpreted that, that they had some kind of romantic relationship.” 

Reeves told the outlet, “In terms of her relationship with Anika, I spoke to Zoë very early on and one of the things she said, which I loved, was that [Kyle is] drawn to strays because she was a stray and so she really wants to care for these strays because she doesn’t want to be that way anymore, and Anika is like a stray and she loves her. She actually represents this connection that she has to her mother who she lost, who was a stray anymore.”

The Batman is now playing in theaters nationwide and reportedly earned $128 million at the box officer over opening weekend.

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