The Batman Star Zoe Kravitz Was Rejected from The Dark Knight Rises Casting For Being "Too Urban"

On Monday it was announced that Zoe Kravitz has been cast as Selina Kyle/Catwoman in Matt Reeves' upcoming The Batman joining Robert Pattinson who was previously cast as the titular hero as well as Jonah Hill and Jeffrey Wright who have also been reported to be involved. However, even as the fan world reacts to Kravitz's casting, this isn't the first time Kravitz has tried to be part of a Batman film. The Mad Max: Fury Road actress had previously looked to be part of The Dark Knight Rises but was denied an audition for being too urban.

Back in 2015, Kravitz recounted her experience in a feature in Nylon and revealed she wasn't even able to get an audition for a small role. She told the magazine that she was told that she couldn't even audition because she was too urban for the film, a comment she attributed to being about her racial background.

"In the last Batman movie [The Dark Knight Rises], 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 at the time. "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?'"

While it could possibly be argued that the "going urban" comment could have been a reference to the overall tone of Christopher Nolan's film -- all three films in that trilogy have a distinctive tone to them that could be described as being a bit polished for being set in the gritty, crime-ridden Gotham City -- the term "urban" is frequently used as a sort of slang or shorthand to mean "black" in a derogatory sense as opposed to its more accurate meaning as being defined by Merriam-Webster as "of, relating to, characteristic of, or constituting a city". That slang usage of the term and very real likelihood that Kravitz may have been denied an audition due to her race is a troubling one, but one that also makes her casting as Catwoman for The Batman both more satisfying but also a sign of the shifts Hollywood has made in terms of more diverse casting in the past four years. Change may be slow, but it is happening.

As for The Batman, that film appears to be set to have a specific tone itself. Reeves has previously described the film as being a noir-driven, point of view Batman story definitive of the character.

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"I went on a deep dive again revisiting all of my favorite comics. Those all inform by osmosis," Reeves said last summer. "There's no continuation of the Nolan films. It's very much trying to find a way to do this as something that for me is going to be definitively Batman and new and cool."

Joker is in theaters now. Upcoming DC movies include Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) on February 7, 2020, Wonder Woman 1984 on June 5, 2020, The Batman on June 25, 2021, The Suicide Squad on August 6, 2021, and Aquaman 2 on December 16, 2022.