On Becoming Catwoman
Zoë Kravitz, although famous since the time of her birth, has managed to fly under the radar for a good chunk of her life. She mainly starred in indie films and toured with her lowkey band, Lolawolf, but now with her role as Catwoman receiving worldwide attention, her star has risen to its fullest potential.
When Kravitz discovered she landed the role of Catwoman in the upcoming The Batman film, she was shocked. She didn’t think she would ever be cast in a major blockbuster like a DC film. “I really thought I was going to do theater and indie films,” she said. “That was what I liked growing up. And also, that was what I thought I was suited for. I didn’t see a lot of people who looked like me in big movies.”
What Kravitz means by that comment is that she didn’t see a lot of people of color in major films like the one she is about to star in. She is of African-American and Ashkenazi Jewish descent, with her parents both being super famous. Her father is rockstar Lenny Kravitz, known for songs like “American Woman” and “It Ain’t Over ‘till It’s Over.” Her mother is Lisa Bonet, an actress most recognized for her role as Denise Huxtable on The Cosby Show.
Kravitz’s story up until this point in her career is a lengthy one. She was born on December 1, 1988, to Lenny Kravitz and Lisa Bonet, in Los Angeles, California. Her parents split when she was just two years old and her mother began a relationship with actor Jason Momoa a few years later in 2005. The pair married in 2017 and have two children together, a 13-year-old daughter, Lola Momoa, and an 11-year-old son, Nakoa-Wolf Momoa.
After her parents’ divorce, Kravitz lived with her mother in Topanga Canyon, where she enjoyed an outdoorsy lifestyle, living amongst the mountains. At age 11, she moved to Miami to live with her father to experience a different lifestyle: one with more glitz and glamor. Her mother had raised her in a sort of sheltered way—their house only had a VCR and a monitor. When she moved in with her father, she got to experience the joys of cable television. “I just wanted to feel normal,” she said, “and the way my mother was raising me felt very abnormal, even though looking back, it was the coolest.”
While living with her father she got a feel for just how famous her parents were. Lenny shared a label with the Spice Girls at the time and Zoë got to sit with them at the Grammy Awards one year. Another time, she woke up to find Ashton Kutcher cooking in her kitchen, with no idea why he was there. “I went downstairs and had pimple cream on my face and was wearing a T-shirt. There [Ashton] was, making an omelet,” she remembered.
Of course, this star-studded lifestyle came with its downsides as well. Her father would routinely date supermodels and her mother is extremely beautiful, causing Zoë to become insecure about her own appearance. In high school around 16, due to an increasingly negative view of her body, Zoë became anorexic and bulimic.
By the time Kravitz was 25, she thought she was nearly past her decade-long eating disorder, but she had a relapse. In 2013, she accepted the role of Marie, a twenty-something anorexic girl, in the film The Road Within. She lost weight for the part, dropping down to a 90-pound frame. Although her rib cage was showing, Kravitz wasn’t satisfied. She couldn’t see how much weight she had lost. “I was just trying to lose more weight for the film but I couldn’t see: You’re there. Stop. It was scary,” she admitted. After she finished shooting for the movie, she became very ill due to her extreme weight loss.
It wasn’t until New Year’s Eve of that same year that Kravitz broke out of the toxic cycle. She had an epiphany where she all of a sudden felt differently—and knew she needed to stop starving herself.
Something that helped her break free from this disorder was making music with her band Lolawolf, named after her half siblings, Lola and Nakoa-Wolf. The band was founded in 2013 while she was shooting the aforementioned film and consists of herself and drummer and producer Jimmy Giannopoulos. Lolawolf can be described as an R&B and electropop duo. They released their first album, Calm Down, on October 21, 2014 and went on to open for Lily Allen and Miley Cyrus at their respective concerts. In 2016, Lolawolf even collaborated with Miley Cyrus on a song called “Teardrop” due to how well they worked together in the past. Lolawolf’s second album, Tenderness, just dropped this year on July 3rd.
Although she has more freedom when it comes to music, she still enjoys being on the big screen as well. It’s what she pursued initially, after all. Her acting career began at a young age, when she was still a senior in high school. She starred in No Reservations (2007) alongside Catherine Zeta-Jones and The Brave One (2007) alongside Jodie Foster. She was able to play lead roles a few years later, indicating that that her natural talent was budding faster than she had thought. In 2010 she starred in Beware the Gonzo, which also featured Amy Sedaris and Ezra Miller. The film is about a young journalist (Miller) who decides to start his own underground newspaper in high school— Zoë plays the female lead and love interest.
Kravitz then took it up a notch with features in major action movies over the next years. In 2011, she took part in X-Men: First Class, where she played Angel Salvadore, a mutant with the ability to fly with insect-like wings that were tattooed on her body. Then in 2013, she starred in After Earth with Jaden Smith and Will Smith, and in 2014, Divergent, alongside Shailene Woodley and Kate Winslet.
At this point, Kravitz began to have even more doors open for her, clearing a pathway toward bigger films where she could enjoy more creativity with her roles. In 2015, she acted with Charlize Theron and Tom Hardy in Mad Max: Fury Road, where she played Toast the Knowing. She also appeared in the popular 2015 comedy-drama Dope about Malcolm, a geek who’s surviving life in a tough neighborhood. The film was very well-known the year it came out thanks to a character played by A$AP Rocky, a New York rapper.
She discovered major triumph in the world of acting when she pivoted toward television. She played the role of Bonnie Carlson in the wildly popular TV show Big Little Lies. The star-studded cast—which included Laura Dern, Reese Witherspoon, Shailene Woodley, and Nicole Kidman—became very close over the two years the show was filmed. It lasted from 2017- 2019 over two seasons and won four Golden Globe awards. The show’s premise revolved around the apparently perfect lives of upper-class mothers whose worlds unravel to the point of murder when a single-mother moves to their quaint Californian beach town. The cast considers each other as family, with Kravitz mentioning that Reese Witherspoon is one of her best friends.
“I learned so much from my Big Little Lies family,” she said. “Much as everyone would like us to have been b*tchy and competitive, we all got along so well.”
Then came her most prominent role yet as Robyn “Rob” Brooks in the Hulu series High Fidelity. Kravitz played a Brooklyn record store owner whose life and romantic life is going nowhere particular. She decides to take a trip down memory lane, recounting her failed romantic relationships to discover more about herself. The show is a TV adaptation of the book by Nick Hornby and is executive produced by Kravitz. It was turned into a movie in 2000 and featured John Cusack in the main role, with Kravitz’s mom Lisa Bonet playing one of his love interests. The fact that Kravitz’s mom was once involved in High Fidelity made accepting the role all the more special.
“High Fidelity was one of the few pieces of art that my parents had been a part of that I was really able to separate from them.…It became a film that I loved and watched and could quote,” Zoë shares.
The show only ran for one season before it was cancelled, which left numerous fans upset, but Zoë has far grander things on the horizon, like her role as Catwoman. The Batman 2022 production will be directed by Matt Reeves with Robert Pattinson playing Bruce Wayne. This isn’t the first time Zoë has played Catwoman—she actually voiced the character in 2017’s The Lego Batman Movie. The stakes are definitely higher with this new role but Kravitz, although nervous, is confident in what she can bring to the table. “It’s a little scary but whenever I get nervous about something, I feel it pushes me to a better place anyway, so I welcome the nerves… I want to honor the fans and hope they like what I do with the role,” Zoë says.
By Selene Rivera