Despite Zoe Kravitz being cast in some pretty diverse roles as of late, the young actress says she is often typecast into auditioning to play the quirky Black girl or the hippie best friend.
She recently sat down with ABC where she talks about how Hollywood typecasts black actors and how she’s learned to resist the status quo.
“People have tried to do that to me over and over again and I’ve been fighting it and fighting it,” Kravitz said on a recent afternoon interview. “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.”
On Auditioning For “White Roles”:
“(My role in 2007’s ’The Brave One’) 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.”
On Black Actors Working Toward Diversifying Hollywood:
“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.”
Kravitz has also started a collective of filmmaker friends, including cinematographers, directors, actors and writers, to put her words into action. The goal is to write a script together and they meet weekly to work.
“It’s our responsibility to say ‘I’m not going to take the same role over and over again.’ I mean, of course actors gotta eat, but if it’s something you believe in, we have the power to break the stereotypes by (a) writing our own things and (b) saying ‘no’ to the same thing over and over again,” Kravitz said.
“This industry is not colorblind, but I think actors can be.”