The Batman cleaned up the box office last weekend, with Matt Reeves’ fresh spin on Gotham City proving to be a hit with fans and critics. The cast received universal praise which is curious, since at least one member had made a play for a Batman movie in the past. Zoë Kravitz, who plays Catwoman in the new movie, revealed that she auditioned for a small role in Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises but was turned away for being too “urban.”
“I don’t know if it came directly from Chris Nolan,” she told 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.”
Kravitz has been open in the past about how her famous parents helped open a lot of doors for her acting career (“I was incredibly privileged,” she told Elle. “I got an agent easily.”) but all the fame in the world doesn’t change how some casting directors perceive skin color.
This isn’t the first time Kravitz has spoken about her experience of wanting to read for The Dark Knight Rises. “They told me that I couldn’t get an audition for a small role they were casting because they weren’t ‘going urban,’” she told Nylon in 2015. “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?’”
But Kravitz has been vindicated. A small role on Mad Max: Fury Road led to prominent gigs on shows like the High Fidelity television adaptation and HBO’s Big Little Lies. And now she’s got a genuine blockbuster on her hands with The Batman — a role she took very seriously. She said (jokingly?) that she drank milk out of a saucer to prepare for the part.
You can read our review of The Batman here.