Zoe Kravitz’ big-screen resume is stacked. After tackling roles in the action thriller Insurgent to the coming-of-age dramedy Dope, the golden child of rock star Lenny Kravitz and actress Lisa Bonet has joined the fourth installment of the Mad Max franchise, Fury Road. As Toast, the damsel-in-not-so-much-distress, she handles the assist to co-stars Charlize Theron (Furiosa) and Tom Hardy (Max). Here, the frontwoman of Lolawolf chats about the sandy dunes of a post apocalyptic world, her favorite movie she-ro, and drops her two cents on her friend, Jay Z’s Tidal streaming service. – Adelle Platon, with additional reporting by Camille Augustin
VIBE: Watching Mad Max as a woman, it was pretty badass to see you, the other four wives and Charlize Theron get in on the action. What did you have to do to mentally and physically prepare yourself for the role of Toast?
Zoe Kravitz: There was very little physical preparation, which was surprising because it’s such a physical film. It’s really interesting because George Miller, myself and the other women just wanted to make sure that these women didn’t become eye-candy in the back of a car or damsels in distress. We wanted these women to be actual people. We spent about a month of pre-production working really closely with George and the scripts, and working on back-stories with our characters. George flew in Eve Ensler who’s an amazing feminist who wrote “The Vagina Monologues” and works with women in the Congo who’ve been effected by human trafficking, sexual mutilation, rape, and all kinds of horrific things. She beat us into shape and really helped us understand what it would be like to be in that position, what the reality of that is. There’s so little dialogue in the script that we really wanted to find ways to be specific and just make sure that these women had real depth to them.
You were basically shooting in sand dunes for six months. What did you learn about working in that type of environment and would you ever do it again?
I would do it again with George Miller, I would do anything again with that man. I think he’s an absolute genius and I’m so psyched about the film. In general it was a difficult shoot just being away from home for so long and being in those conditions. Not about it being sand and dirt, it was fine. But when you see nothing but sand for a long time and you’re in that isolated environment 6 to 8 weeks, and it was actually really cold at the time as well, it just wears on you. You start to get a little crazy, no pun intended, a little mad.
Women are getting more hands-on in action films, like “Mad Max” and even Michelle Rodriguez in Furious 7. Is there a female action star you look up to?
Charlize [Theron] in this film was just absolutely badass. Obviously Angelina Jolie as well, she’s a badass action female star.
You recently did a beautiful shoot with Flaunt magazine. When did you become comfortable with really showing off your body?
I don’t know when exactly, but that day I was feeling confident. I just liked the idea of the shoot and the vibe they were going for. I didn’t think it felt gratuitous. It felt genuinely raw, beautiful and powerful. I think it’s important for women to be able to be seen in that light, in their bodies like that without feeling like they have to wear a push-up bra or whatever they think men’s ideas of what sexy is. I think it’s important for women to step into their power and take it back and be able to be bare like that without manipulating ourselves to cater to men’s ideas of sexy.
You’re also the front-woman of the band, Lolawolf. How did you transition from being in an actor’s headspace to an artist’s?
I don’t really do a transition, art is art. You basically approach whatever is right in front of you and however you feel like you need to, to do it well. You read the script and you show up on set and you say to yourself, ‘Okay what do I need to do to do the best job that I can, to make this feel real, to make this as honest as it can be, the most effective?’ It’s the same with music. You sit down, start writing a song and listen to the beat and say, ‘How do I make this the best version of what it can be?’ It’s not like you shift headspaces from one to another. It’s basically about art and what’s in front of you.
You also did the movie Dope with A$AP Rocky, which is a story set in L.A. about not just going from geek to the cool kid but ultimately embracing yourself. Why do you think the social media generation should check this film out?
I think everyone should check this movie out. The social media generation is the generation of now. I think that it speaks to now and to everyone. Basically I think Black people have been shown in the media in a very specific way for a very long time. I think that’s starting to change a little bit. For me whenever I would see a lot of “Black films” I didn’t feel represented in it. I didn’t feel connected to the characters, or the situations, or the humor. I think this film is an evolved portrayal of the Black community where it is right now for some people.
Last question, Jay Z is a friend of yours and as an artist, what are your thoughts on his new music streaming service, Tidal?
I don’t know much about it, but I’ve heard bits and pieces about it. I like the idea of it, but I haven’t used it myself so I can’t judge. Everything right now in the Internet age is an experiment. We’re all trying to figure out how to navigate it. I think it’s cool that he’s trying to shift things a little bit.
Mad Max: Fury Road hits theaters May 15.