She was too “urban,” Kravitz, 33, told the Observer of her attempt to audition for Christopher Nolan’s 2012 film “The Dark Knight Rises.”
“Being a woman of color and being an actor and being told at that time that I wasn’t able to read [lines] 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,” she told the British newspaper.
Kravitz added that she did not know if those directions came directly from Nolan. “I think it was probably a casting director of some kind, or a casting director’s assistant,” she said.
Representatives for Nolan did not immediately return an email from The Washington Post late Monday, nor did spokespeople for Warner Bros., which produced Nolan’s 2012 Batman film. A representative for Kravitz did not immediately return an email from The Post.
Kravitz’s story is only the latest example of what critics have described as racism in Hollywood. An analysis by The Post found that, in 2015, 89 percent of directors in the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences were male and 84 percent were White. Moreover, 87 percent of the academy’s executives were men and 96 percent were White.
Although Hollywood has taken steps to diversify itself, dozens of Black directors and executives have said the industry continues to fail them, as the Los Angeles Times has reported. In 2018, Viola Davis, now the most Oscar-nominated Black actress in history, said that even though she has won numerous awards — including an Oscar, an Emmy and two Tony awards — she has not commanded the same respect as her White peers.
“I have a career that’s probably comparable to Meryl Streep, Julianne Moore, Sigourney Weaver,” she said. “They all came out of Yale, they came out of Juilliard, they came out of NYU. They had the same path as me, and yet I am nowhere near them, not as far as money, not as far as job opportunities — nowhere close to it.”
Kravitz, the daughter of musician Lenny Kravitz and actor Lisa Bonet, previously spoke about the audition rejection in a 2015 Nylon profile. Without specifying who made the comments, she remembered being told she wouldn’t be cast even for a small role because the film wasn’t “going urban.”
“It was like, ‘What does that have to do with anything?’ Kravitz told the magazine. “I have to play the role like, ‘Yo, what’s up, Batman? What’s going on wit chu?’ ”
Kravitz has received positive reviews for her portrayal of Selina Kyle, better known as Catwoman. Taking a leading role in “The Batman,” which made $128.5 million from North American theaters in its box office debut, has brought her career to new heights following leading roles in HBO’s “Big Little Lies” and Hulu’s “High Fidelity.”
But it took Kravitz a long time to be confident in herself. When she was younger, she told the Observer, she felt “uncomfortable with my blackness” and often tried to alter her appearance.
“It took me a long time to not only accept it but to love it and want to scream it from the rooftops,” she told the newspaper.