Zoe Kravitz The Batman

The Batman exclusive: Zoë Kravitz says referencing white privilege in The Batman was "absolutely" important

Posted by for Film

The Batman is out in cinemas now, and while it’s all set to be a cinematic success, Zoë Kravitz sat down with us to talk about what she wants women to take away from her character. 

It’s the action movie that you have to find the time to watch, even if you don’t typically like typical action movies. The Batman – as well as being talked about greatly in the run-up to its premiere – is released in cinemas today and, trust me, you’re in for a treat.

Matt Reeves’ (Cloverfield, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes) version is dark, moody and holds a mirror up to our current society in a way that many other classic superhero movies don’t manage to do.

Robert Pattinson (Twilight) leads the movie in the dual role of Gotham City’s vigilante detective (Batman) and his alter ego, the reclusive billionaire Bruce Wayne. It’s a role that suits him surprisingly well and, compared to previous iterations of the fan-favourite character, Pattinson manages to bring a new kind of edge and grit to The Batman.

As well as a star-studded cast including Colin Farrell, Andy Serkis and Paul Dano, the film also puts badass women front and centre, primarily in the form of Zoë Kravitz. Kravitz may be known to many of us through her roles in Big Little Lies and High Fidelity, but here we follow her first as Selina Kyle and later as the enigmatic Catwoman.  

The Batman
Zoë Kravitz and Robert Pattinson in The Batman.

When we sit down to talk all things The Batman-related, Kravitz simply refers to Selina as an “independent, badass bitch”. It’s so quick off the tongue that we both laugh, but it’s true – Selina is the type of mysterious, confident woman we can all only ever strive to embody.

But that’s only part of her charm, Kravitz goes on to explain. Yes, she’s the “femme fatale” of the movie, but Kravitz hopes that people will watch the movie and “see Selena as a three-dimensional person”.

She says: “I think her story is so important. What I was really excited by was where we meet Selina – before she’s even Catwoman.”

In embodying her, Kravitz explains, she also got to dig deeper into “the psychology” and “understanding the emotional state of why a person would become this character [Catwoman] that we all know and love so, so much.” 

Zoe Kravitz The Batman
Zoë Kravitz stars as Selina Kyle in The Batman.

We first meet Selina as a nightclub waitress and come to learn that she’s quietly infiltrating Gotham’s underground world to further her own agenda. As you watch the events of the film unfold, you begin to understand just what fuels her and why Kravitz remains in awe of her.

She explains: “You know, she’s overcome so much. She’s so tough, she’s a survivor, she’s had a lot of trauma. But taking the time to watch her liberate herself from that trauma so that she can become this wonderfully free character that we all love – it’s a really wonderful thing to explore.”

As well as deeply enjoying the whole filming process, the standout scene for Kravitz – and will likely become the fandom tagline of the film – is the exchange between her and Pattinson in her apartment. It’s one of Kravitz’s favourite scenes: “You’ve got a lot of cats,” says Batman. “I have a thing about strays,” Catwoman replies deadpan. 

“It really captured so much about who Selena is and her connection to cats but also, why she’s attracted to Batman,” Kravitz tells Stylist. “It really is this thing of seeing someone who has also been alone and then abandoned from a young age with her desire to connect and take care of other people who don’t have support.” 

The Batman
Robert Pattinson and Zoë Kravitz at the premiere of The Batman.

The “deeply human” aspect of The Batman is something that Kravitz loves and knows fans will love also. “It’s so grounded in humanity,” she explains. “We don’t have superpowers and it’s really about human beings making bold choices and standing up for what they believe in.

“I love the way that this film (and a lot of the Batman films and comics) explore the gray area. It’s not about black and white and good and evil, heroes and villains. We identify with the villains just as much as we do the heroes.

“I think it’s really about exploring what it is to be a human in such a crazy world. Gotham really represents, I think, the world that we live in.”

When we talk about how reflective The Batman is of current times, Kravitz admits that there’s a thoughtfulness behind this movie, but Reeves never intended for it to be “too literal”. In one scene, Selina simply states to Batman that all the people in power at the top are “white and privileged”.

On asking Kravitz if that was an important sentiment to include in this modern remake, she nods: “Absolutely.” 

It wasn’t something she had to suggest in the script and she loved that. “It wasn’t heavy-handed; it doesn’t feel like it’s there to check some kind of inclusivity box. It’s just real.” 

The Batman
Kravitz admits that she "really had to access a different part of myself" for this Batman role.

In terms of the logistics of filming and embodying Selina, that came with its own set of difficulties to navigate, Kravitz explains.

The fight scenes were “great” and “intense”, but just as she learnt the choreography for the fight scenes, it was time to don the catsuit and do it all over again. Spending a month learning it was hard enough but Kravitz explains that she felt “so in my power”. That all changed in the suit, though. “I realised I could hardly move the way I did before,” she tells me.

“I remember just crying because I’d come so far and then really had to start from square one again and learn how to make those movements so fluid and easy. There are so many layers to the choreography that it’s crazy.”

Although the sequences look effortless, Kravitz assures me they really were not. Embodying the sultry undertones of Selina was also a challenge, she admits. “I really had to access a different part of myself. In terms of feeling comfortable in my body and feeling confident and taking my time.

“The thing I kept on reminding myself before any scene was: this woman knows that she deserves to take up space. And so, I can take my time with my movements and my words, and I can be smooth and slow.” 

Even looking to cats – the way they move and behave without thinking about anything “but themselves” – was a “really wonderful thing”, Kravitz says. “It was good for me for my own confidence.”

Although imposter syndrome is something many of us experience regularly, it was the last thing I expected Kravitz to admit feeling within this role. “Did you ever feel any of that?” I ask.

“Oh my goodness, every day. Every day, all the time and still. The movie’s coming out and I’m really nervous,” Kravitz states.

Filming was a rollercoaster of nerves, excitement, being able to finally relax and then remembering that the world is yet to see it and “this journey is still going”, she continues.

“The only thing that would really get me through that was my love for Selena and my love for this world and knowing that that self-conscious energy wouldn’t serve the character. I really had to overcome that in order to really embody who Selena is.” 

The Batman
Kravitz plays the dual character of Selina and Catwoman in The Batman.

It’s a journey and energy Kravitz hopes women in particular will take away from the new film. “I really think she feels like a relatable human being. She’s not just wearing a slinky outfit and saying cute lines or there to look hot.”

She adds: “This is a real human being and so I think – and hope – that women feel connected to her and feel just represented as humans, as three-dimensional, layered people. We and all women are so complicated, you know?”

Selina is most definitely a complicated character but that’s what makes her the perfect match to The Batman’s own dark world and vigilantism. As well as being realistic and layered, Kravitz hopes to return to Gotham City soon. 

“Hopefully we’ll make more of these Batman films. I loved making this film so much and loved working with Rob and Matt and the fans are just incredible.” 

Zoe Kravitz The Batman
Zoë Kravitz at the premiere of The Batman.

In terms of now, though, Kravitz smiles as she talks about her own upcoming project. “I’m directing a film that I wrote and we’re shooting this summer,” she reveals.

“That’s scary, but I’m really, really excited to step behind the camera and learn more about filmmaking and storytelling.”

We can’t wait to see what Kravitz has in store for us, but for now, you’ll have to run to the cinema and catch a screening of The Batman to see Selina/Catwoman in fearless action.

The Batman is available to watch in cinemas from today (4 March). 

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Images: Warner Bros.

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