Why Zoe Kravitz Was ‘Too Urban’ For ‘Dark Knight Rises’ Role

It’s no surprise that there’s a huge diversity problem in Hollywood. Zoe Kravitz is just another voice to come forward in that fight to be heard. Kravitz, is known for her roles in Californication, X-Men: First Class, Divergent, and Mad Max: Fury Road.

Although these are high profile projects, Kravitz hasn’t had it easy. The daughter of Lenny Kravitz and Lisa Bonet has had challenges breaking into Hollywood because of her race. The actress opened up to Nylon about how she’s been turned down for not even roles, but auditions because she’s considered “too urban” for some casting directions.

“Too urban” is really just code for “too African American.” When she sat down with Nylon, Zoe Kravitz pointed to one film that wouldn’t have her audition. According to Kravitz The Dark Knight Rises wouldn’t let her audition because of her race.

“In the last Batman movie, 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?'”

In the interview Zoe talks about having to separate white culture from Black culture when she was growing up. Her ideas of what Black culture represented all came from narrow minded depictions that stemmed from Hollywood itself.

“I identified with white culture, and I wanted to fit in. I didn’t identify with black culture, like, I didn’t like Tyler Perry movies, and I wasn’t into hip-hop music. I liked Neil Young.”

She continued, “Black culture is so much deeper than that, but unfortunately that is what’s fed through the media. That’s what people see. That’s what I saw. But then I got older and listed to A Tribe Called Quest and watched films with Sidney Poitier, and heard Billie Holiday and Nina Simone. I had to un-brainwash myself. It’s my mission, especially as an actress.”

Zoe also opened up about her desires as an actress. Despite her race she wants to play broader roles, and she should be able to. “I don’t want to play everyone’s best friend. I don’t want to play the role of a girl struggling in the ghetto. It’s not that that story isn’t important, but I saw patterns [in the scripts she was getting] and was like, ‘I don’t relate to these people.'”

[Photo by Frazer Harrison / Getty Images]