Actress Zoe Kravitz wants to push boundaries on race, gender roles.
LOS ANGELES — Zoe Kravitz has heard enough talk and she’s ready for some change.
She might have an enviable perch in the entertainment ecosystem with recent film credits as diverse as “Dope,” “Mad Max: Fury Road” and “The Divergent Series,” not to mention her famous lineage, but she’s also seen her share of darkness in Hollywood, too, from discrimination to stereotyping.
“People have tried to do that to me over and over again and I’ve been fighting it and fighting it,” Kravitz said. “I would get auditions and it would be like ‘they want you to play the best friend.’ And it’s like ‘why can’t I audition for the lead?’ Then it’ll be like ‘OK now you’re the quirky black girl,’ or ‘now you’re a hippie.’
“I can play all kinds of people. I don’t have to play myself.”
She’s made up her mind to take a stand, not only in the kinds of roles she chooses, but also in how she’s going to create change for herself.
Take “Allegiant,” the latest entry in “The Divergent Series,” in which Kravitz reprises her role as the loyal, fierce Christina. Sure, she’s the best friend to Shailene Woodley’s Tris, but she’s one of many significant female characters in the film, which also boasts admirable racial diversity.
In the Oscar-nominated “Mad Max: Fury Road,” too, Kravitz plays one of the wives of Immortan Joe who is escaping captivity in the high-octane race across the wasteland.
And in last year’s “Dope,” a vibrant Sundance breakout from director Rick Famuyiwa, which Kravitz saw as an instant classic in the vein of “Friday” and “Boyz n the Hood,” she plays a suffers-no-fools dream girl with an edge.
Kravitz has faith in the industry, thanks in part to a poignant early experience in one of her first films — the 2007 Jodie Foster and Terrence Howard film “The Brave One.”
“(My role) was written for a blonde white Russian girl. I was like ‘I’ll audition for it anyway,”‘ she said. “It changed (director Neil Jordan’s) mind about how he saw that role.”
But in order to move things forward, Kravitz knows she’s just going to have to do it herself — write, direct and produce.
“I love the fact that there’s such an open dialogue right now about women in Hollywood and black women and black men in Hollywood and everything in between. Now it’s about us bringing the change,” Kravitz said. “We started the dialogue but I don’t expect any man to write a script that speaks for me. I don’t expect any man to write a script for me. I think we need to do that. If we want to be represented properly in Hollywood, let’s represent ourselves properly in Hollywood.”