Zoë Kravtiz wasn’t exactly jumping at the chance to star in Hulu’s “High Fidelity” reboot.
“’Oh no, please don’t,’” she recalls about her first reaction to the pitch. “Genuinely, that was the first thing that went through my mind. It’s funny because I had this whole thought about like, ‘Should I be lying about that?’ But I think it’s okay. I think it’s like, ‘No, I’m wary of the reboot and I’m wary of the gender flip.’”
Fast forward to today, and Kravitz has been in the awards conversation for her starring role as Rob, a Los Angeles record store owner in the TV adaptation of “High Fidelity.” It’s a gender swap from the 2000 movie, in which John Cusack played an employee at a Chicago store.
“I went back and read the book again, which I hadn’t read in seven years or something, and I just fell in love with the world all over again,” Kravitz, 31, says on Thursday’s episode of the Variety and iHeart podcast “The Big Ticket.” “And then I felt really protective. I thought, what if I don’t do this and they f— it up? I thought, I have this opportunity to be involved in a project with source material that I love, before the season’s written, before the cast has been cast.”
Variety caught up with Kravitz from London, where she’s been living since production of “The Batman” — she’s playing Catwoman opposite Robert Pattinson as the Caped Crusader — was halted due to the pandemic.
What do you like about playing Rob?
When I watched this movie and read this book years ago, I always identified with the Rob character, but I romanticized him. And then, of course, looking back you’re like, this guy’s an asshole. He’s a misogynist asshole. Why would I think that was cool, and why did I think that was sexy, and why did I think that was interesting? To come back and play his character from a different point of view, it wasn’t like, “Oh, I’m playing this really cool, sad, f—ed up person who just can’t get it together. And we love that about her.” It was more, “I think I was this person at one point in my life. I’d like to think that I’m past that now. It’s these really uncomfortable growing pains when you have to figure out who you want to be.
How uncomfortable and messy did it get for you to figure out who you were?
Oh man, one of my best friends the other day started sending me all these old photos from 2005. It really sent me into this crazy spiral because I thought we looked really cool at the time, and looking at these photos, I was just like, “Dude, what? What?” My friend said, “I think we were playing a game where we would get dressed in the dark with no mirror. And then anytime we caught our reflection anywhere, we would take a shot.” It just looked so messy.
And now you’re 31 and married.
I’m married, and less bad choices — I would like to think. You know, life is an ongoing struggle, so of course, there’s always work to be done. But there’s that first step where it’s like, I’m an adult. Oh wait, I have so much more work to do.
Is there going to be a second season of “High Fidelity”?
We haven’t been told. I would love to. I think the show has a lot of potential. I think there’s a lot more growing to do for everybody and a lot more trouble to get into. There’s a lot of places we could go and I would love to go there.
So what was it like seeing yourself for the first time as Catwoman?
It’s cool, man. It’s cool. I can’t say it wasn’t cool, but I’ve been really trying to not think too much about just what that character means to everybody else. Just because it can be distracting in the wrong way, especially when you’re trying to become someone else. When the announcement came out that I had gotten this role, my phone rang more than it has ever. More than my birthday, more than my wedding, more than anything. So I felt that immediate pressure. The script is phenomenal. The story’s really strong. I feel very clear on who Selena is and what she wants, and I’m trying to stay more focused on that.
Have you spoken to Michelle Pfeiffer or Halle Berry?
I spoke to Michelle. We sat at the same table at the Golden Globes, and I’ve met her a bunch over the years because of David E. Kelley. She’d always been so nice. I had just gotten cast so I was really nervous to be around her, and she was so sweet. She just gave me a big hug and said, “You’re going to be great.” That was really just amazing. Both Halle and Anne [Hathaway] were really sweet on Instagram and Twitter. [They] sent really sweet, encouraging messages when that was announced. So I feel supported by my girls.
Why is Robert Pattinson perfect to play Batman?
Good question. First of all, he’s just a really good actor. He started out as this kind of teen pop sensation, and then I think we all kind of saw through his work that there was a lot more going on. He’s a really interesting artist, and that is very much Batman in a way. We have the illusion of Bruce Wayne, and then we have Batman in the shadows that has a lot more complicated things going on. So just in that, I think he’s perfect for this role. He can relate in that way, and he looks good in the suit, man. He looks good in the suit. That’s a good jaw line. But he’s just a great actor and he brings so much to everything he does. I think that it’s a really hard role because people are expecting a lot. Also it’s restricting in a lot of ways. You’re wearing the suit, and you can’t see their eyes, and you can only move in a certain way. So you have to get really creative in terms of how can you portray a multidimensional character? He’s way up for the challenge and has really interesting ideas already. I think he’s perfect, perfect casting.
Now I have to ask you about your Britney Spears fandom. [Kravitz sent social media into a tizzy last year when she posted a photo on Instagram of when she met Spears at age 12.]
She was the biggest star in the world when I was a kid, and I got to meet her. There’s no one bigger than Britney Spears in a lot of ways. That was long ago, but ‘NSync is still a big deal to me. Britney Spears is still a big deal to me.
Tell me about meeting her.
My dad surprised me. He was gone a lot on tour and all of that. So he was really sweet about when he would come into town to try and do something fun and surprise me, take me to Disneyland or whatever. Looking back it’s like, I really just probably wanted to spend time with him and that’s all I wanted. But [photographer] Mark Seliger, who’s a dear family friend, was shooting Britney’s [“Oops, I Did It Again” album] cover that day. I remember my dad taking me somewhere, not telling me where we were going, and then getting out of the car and going into this dark studio, and then looking and seeing this weird little set in the distance. As I got closer I was like, “Oh my God, it’s Britney. It’s Britney Spears. She’s right there.” And then got to take this picture. And then also at the time, didn’t even realize that it was her album cover shoot and that it would, of course, become this iconic cover shoot. And yeah, it was very cool. It was very, very cool.