‘High Fidelity’ and high expectations
Zoe Kravitz on romantic comedies and taking up the mantle of Catwoman
Zoe Kravitz is in the process of curating a pretty dope playlist.
After a few catchy early numbers and some recent jams like “Big Little Lies,” the actor, singer, model and now producer is pumping up the volume on her career with new Hulu series “High Fidelity” and, of course, Matt Reeves’ “The Batman,” in which she co-stars as Catwoman.
Variety caught up with Kravitz, 31, to talk romantic comedies, playing opposite Robert Pattinson and those “Big Little Lies” behindthe-scenes issues.
Q: Your character in “High Fidelity” is someone who lives and breathes music. Is that something you relate to?
A: Her inability to fully see herself is something I’ve experienced, something I’ve gone through. Someone who’s able to understand something like music so deeply and then struggle to understand how a relationship works is really interesting to me. I’ve had those moments in my life where I felt like I understand art and music really well, I can talk about that, I can do that — but love is more complicated.
Q: What romantic comedies, other than the original “High Fidelity,” were you looking to for inspiration?
A: “Sex and the City” was a major influence for me. There was a certain element of comedy and true drama and authenticity, wit and fearlessness that always attracted me, and it’s also just such a New York show; for someone who lives there, they did it correctly. I’ve always been drawn to the kinds of stories that revolve around people stuck in a place and the things they talk about, because it felt like what I do with my friends. You sit around, you smoke weed, you talk about movies, you argue about characters and actors and music. That’s some of my favorite (stuff ) to do. When it’s written well, when it feels real, it’s so fun to see.
Q: Talk to me about the regular fourth-wall breaks; what do they illuminate about your character?
A: When you do those, you have to break a habit, because your whole career you’re told to not look at the camera, not acknowledge it, so I had to allow myself to have a new relationship with the camera, to think of it as my friend. It’s good to imagine a person there, you’re talking to your friend because it can feel stiff and performative otherwise, because that device lets the audience into the character, especially because Rob is so guarded, it’s important that she’s able to feel vulnerable in those moments. I would literally picture a friend of mine in front of the camera and say I’m talking to a person right now.
Q: Those coupled with the subject matter feel very reminiscent of “Fleabag.”
A: I actually didn’t watch “Fleabag” on purpose ... because when we were writing it and people learned I was talking to camera, the first thing they would say is “Fleabag!” I felt like if I saw the show I would either imitate, or be intimated by, or compare myself to Phoebe’s performance. I did not watch the show until after, and then of course I loved it and thought it was ... perfect.
Q: Switching focus to “The Batman,” DC films
come with their own unique brand of pressure. Is that something you’re nervous about?
A: Definitely, I was excited when I got the role, and usually when you get a job, the people who are excited about it are you, your parents, your agent, your friends and that’s kind of it. But when the press release came, I got more text messages and calls than I’ve gotten on my birthday, on my wedding day. All of a sudden, the reality began to sink in about what this means not only to me but to everybody else culturally — and the fans of this universe are so dedicated and opinionated.
Q: You could certainly say that.
A: It was a little scary, but also whenever I get nervous about something, I feel it pushes me to a better place, so I welcome the nerves. If you start focusing too much on what people are going to think you’re doing yourself a disservice. Of course, I want to honor the fans and hope they like what I do with the role, but in order to do what I think I need to do with Catwoman, I have to go internal and forget about the rest of the world.
Q: How do you feel about Robert Pattinson as Batman? What has it
been like working with him so far?
A: I’ve never worked with him before, but we’ve been together for the last few weeks ... training together and rehearsing together, and he’s just a delightful person and such a wonderful, thoughtful actor. I think he’s perfect for the role, and it’s going to be such an adventure. I’m excited to have him as my partner in crime and to be there to support each other, because it’s intense. It’s going to be a long shoot and there’s a lot of pressure, and I know he has my back and I have his.
Q: Nicole Kidman said she would be open to doing another season of “Big Little Lies,” but she pointed to your busy schedule to say that a potential Season 3 won’t be here for some time.
A: Mine?! How about Meryl or Reese or Shailene? For wonderful reasons everyone’s busy, but I think we would all make time to make another season happen. It really feels like priority No. 1 for a lot of us, because we love each other, and we love the story and we love culturally what it means to people. I feel like all of us would clear whatever we could to make that happen. But don’t try and throw me under the bus, Nicole!
Q: Did you feel like Season 2 provided a satisfying ending to Bonnie’s story?
A: I don’t know if it felt like an ending, but it felt like there was a breakthrough, especially coming from Season 1 where she’s seen as this picture-perfect, very Zen person. It was nice to break that all down this season. It’s almost like we met Bonnie for the first time by the end of Season 2. It’s always a delight to get the opportunity to go deeper into a character, because you don’t always get a chance to do that.
Zoe Kravitz says “Sex and the City” was a big inspiration for her latest role in Hulu’s “High Infidelity.” “It’s such a New York show,” she said.