‘The Batman’: New Catwoman Zoë Kravitz Was Considered Too ‘Urban’ for ‘The Dark Knight Rises’

The Batman hasn’t even entered production yet, but it feels like we’ve been talking about it forever. With Robert Pattinson set to don the cape and cowl, director Matt Reeves (Dawn of the Planet of the Apes) promises to create a fresh new vision of Gotham City. While casting rumors abound, Zoë Kravitz — who will play Selina Kyle/Catwoman — is only the second actor confirmed for the 2021 release.
The actress seemingly hinted that she was in talks for The Batman nearly a month before her casting was announced, and once it was, the news was met with a mostly positive reaction by fans. Ironically enough, the last time Catwoman appeared on-screen, Kravitz was denied the chance to even audition for a role.

Zoë Kravitz on the red carpet
Zoë Kravitz on the red carpet | Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images

Too ‘urban’ for Gotham City?

In a 2015 interview with Nylon, Kravitz admitted that her race prevented her from trying out for a role in Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises, the 2012 film in which Oscar winner Anne Hathaway played Catwoman opposite Christian Bale’s Batman.

“In the last Batman movie, they told me that I couldn’t get an audition for a small role they were casting because they weren’t ‘going urban,’” Kravitz said. “It was like, ‘What does that have to do with anything?’ I have to play the role like, ‘Yo, what’s up, Batman? What’s going on wit chu?’”

Now that Kravitz is joining the franchise — and in such a prominent role — this earlier brush with Gotham City no doubt smacks of delicious irony for the actress and her fans alike. Reeves was among the first to formally welcome his star to the film.

Growing into the role of Catwoman

Of course, the notion that Kravitz was denied even the chance to audition for a small role in The Dark Knight Rises based on her race is horrible. After all, she had already earned comic book movie cred with a supporting role in 2011 film X-Men: First Class.

Since then, however, she’s developed a much more storied career, which no doubt gave her a competitive edge when it came to The Batman. In the last five years, she’s appeared in the Divergent series, Mad Max: Fury Road and the Fantastic Beasts films. The fact that the latter two in that list are Warner Bros. productions likely further helped her win over studio executives.

Perhaps the biggest argument for her casting as Catwoman? She’s already played the role, albeit in animated form. Kravitz provided the voice for Catwoman in the 2017 hit The Lego Batman Movie. Consider that a taste of what we might expect when The Batman hits theaters.

Who would Zoë Kravitz have played in ‘The Dark Knight Rises’?

The revelation that Kravitz attempted to win a role in The Dark Knight Rises raises the obvious question of which part she would have auditioned for. Although there’s no telling how the script might have changed from that point until the finished product, there’s really only one character it could have been.

While the grand finale to Nolan’s Batman trilogy has a sprawling ensemble cast, it severely lacks a female presence. Because Kravitz would have been vying for a small role in the film, that counts out Hathaway’s Catwoman and Marion Cotillard’s Miranda Tate. So the obvious answer is that of Jen, Selina Kyle’s friend and accomplice.

In the film, Juno Temple plays the role, which amounts to a couple of brief scenes that show what Selina is up to during Bane’s rise to power. With little screentime and nearly nothing to do, the character gets lost in the scope of Nolan’s final Batman film. In the end, such a meager credit would have done little for Kravitz’s career, as she is far better suited as Catwoman.