Zoë Kravitz, Object of Desire

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Published October 8, 2010

 

ZOË KRAVITZ IN IT’S KIND OF A FUNNY STORY.PHOTO COURTESY OF FOCUS FEATURES/K. C. BAILEY.

 

21-year-old Zoë Kravitz comes with an impressive showbiz pedigree: Dad is rock musician Lenny Kravitz, and Mom is The Cosby Show‘s Lisa Bonet. But Kravitz has been proving her own acting chops over the last few years, with turns in films including No Reservations, The Brave One, The Greatest, and Yelling to the Sky, which co-stars Gabourey Sidibe. She also models (for brands including Vera Wang) and fronts a band, Elevator Fight—all in a day’s work.

In the new film It’s Kind of a Funny Story—a movie about a suicidal 16-year-old who checks himself into a mental facility, directed by Half Nelson‘s Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck—Kravitz plays Nia, the longtime unrequited crush of the protagonist, Craig. The industrious Ms. Kravitz is in London now, filming X-Men: First Class, but we caught her for a few minutes between takes.

ALEXANDRIA SYMONDS: Since we only have a little time, I just want to jump right in, if that’s okay.

ZOË KRAVITZ: Yeah, let’s do it. Cut the small talk.SYMONDS: So what was it like playing an obsession in It’s Kind of a Funny Story?

KRAVITZ: [LAUGHS] Flattering, very flattering! It’s very sweet to be cast as the quote-unquote “hot obsession chick.” I’m like the most approachable person on the planet, which is kind of the opposite of Nia. So it was very flattering.

SYMONDS: So how did you get into the character, if she’s so different from you?

KRAVITZ: I think I knew girls like that in high school, that all the guys are obsessed with and felt kind of untouchable, and acted oblivious but were very much aware of the power that they had. Those girls are around, so it was kind of fun to play one.

SYMONDS: What about in the fantasy sequence?

KRAVITZ: Oh, in the bathtub?

SYMONDS: Yeah, in the bathtub!

KRAVITZ: [LAUGHS] Actually, that was a funny scene, because we shot that on a soundstage and it was really cold outside. And the water was actually cold, and they put in Dr. Bronner’s peppermint soap to make bubbles. So my skin was like on fire, and I was in a freezing soundstage, and I was in a bathtub wearing almost nothing, and I had to act like I was comfortable. So that was definitely a challenging day. It was funny, actually, in retrospect.

SYMONDS: So you weren’t feeling sexy at all.

KRAVITZ: No, not at all. I was literally just trying not to shiver and, like, rip my skin off. [LAUGHS] I’d be like shivering and shivering, then they’d call action and I’d be like, “Hey, Craig! What’s up?” It was pretty funny.

SYMONDS: What was it like to be a character who only exists in Craig’s head space, though? I know it’s a short scene, but how did you prepare for that?

KRAVITZ: I just had fun with it! The cool thing about doing a fantasy scene is that it’s not real, so you don’t really have to worry about realistic ideas or being a little over-the-top: the phone and the room and the bubbles, it’s all kind of much. So it was just fun to be able to be a little over-the-top.

SYMONDS: So in the film your character makes reference to a checklist; presumably of places she would like to have… relations.

KRAVITZ: Intercourse!

SYMONDS: Yes. [LAUGHS] Do you have a checklist?

KRAVITZ: [LAUGHS] No, I don’t. I should probably make one, though, right?

SYMONDS: I mean, yeah! It seems like it was really important to your character…

KRAVITZ: Do you have a checklist?

SYMONDS: Oh my God, no. I’m not the kind of person who makes lists really.

KRAVITZ: Yeah, me either. I’m not a very organized person. I think Nia is a little more organized.

SYMONDS: Is there any one place that, if you did have a checklist, would certainly be on there?

KRAVITZ: [LAUGHS] I think I’d agree with Nia. A mental hospital would be pretty crazy.

SYMONDS: I was actually surprised that was on her list-because it seems like that’s no a…

KRAVITZ: I know, she’s a freak, right? Nia’s a little freak.

SYMONDS: That’s weird. That’s not a sexy place at all.

KRAVITZ: No, it’s not. [LAUGHS] Whatever floats your boat, though, whatever floats your boat.

SYMONDS: So do you want to tell me about what you have coming up?

KRAVITZ: Right now I’m in London shooting X-Men: First Class, so that’s been really fun; I’ve been in London for a month now. It’s cool being in a new environment and working with Matthew Vaughn and all of these amazing actors. And hopefully an indie film I did last year will be going to a few festivals this year, called Yelling to the Sky, with me, Gabourey Sidibe, Tim Blake Nelson, Jason Clark, and this amazing woman Victoria Mahoney, who wrote and directed it. And that’s a Sundance Lab baby, so hopefully it will go to Sundance or something. I’m attached to do Mad Max, but I’m not sure when that’s filming, but when it happens hopefully I’ll be in it.

SYMONDS: Have you had any time to enjoy London while you’ve been there?

KRAVITZ: Oh yeah, I have: I’ve been here for a long time doing pre-production stuff, which luckily gives me a lot of time to hang out. I love London, I could totally live here actually. I’m in New York most of the time and it really reminds me a lot of New York.

SYMONDS: Where do you like to go out in New York?

KRAVITZ: I don’t really go out “go out” that much anymore. I live in Brooklyn, in Williamsburg, so I just like to wonder around. Williamsburg’s such a cool little neighborhood community spot.

SYMONDS: Well, thanks so much—I loved the film.

KRAVITZ: Oh, I’m so glad! Me too!

 

IT’S KIND OF A FUNNY STORY (FOCUS FEATURES) OPENS TODAY.