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Interview: Zoe Kravitz - 'Yelling To The Sky' (Opens In NYC Tomorrow, 12/14)

Photo of Tambay A. Obenson By Tambay A. Obenson | Shadow and Act December 13, 2012 at 10:34AM

Zoe Kravitz stars in Victoria Mahoney's Yelling To The Sky, which opens in NYC tomorrow, Friday, December 14th.
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Zoe Kravitz stars in Victoria Mahoney's Yelling To The Sky, which opens in NYC tomorrow, Friday, December 14th

Continuing with our revisiting of our interviews with the filmmaker, and its star (read Stephanie's 3-part interview with Victoria Mahoney, HERE), here's Monique Landsberger's interview with Zoe Kravitz; and while not quite the 3-parter that Victoria's interview was, is still chock-full of info and personal insight.

Read it below:

Zoe Kravitz started her career in film during the Summer after her 10th year of high school. She had a small role in the angst-ridden drama, The Brave One, starring Jodie Foster; which soon led to another part, this time alongside Catherine Zeta-Jones in No Reservations. The rest is history...

This week, I spoke to Zoe about her new film, Yelling To The Sky. We talked about how she found a spiritual connection with Writer/Director, Victoria Mahoney (whose life the film was based on), and how, although, her character's upbringing was far different from her own—she was able to make it her own! During our conversation we also discussed her work in cinema, from its beginnings, to where she is today and where she's headed. We also spoke about how she balances her other love, music, with a blossoming film and TV career; and how hard it is to be away from her fellow “Elevator Fight” band-mates (whom she refers to as her best friends).

Below is my interview session with Ms. Kravitz. Check it out and give us your feedback, we would love to hear from you!

NM: Zoë,  you started in film [The Brave One] when you were a senior in High school. It must have been quite the experience working in the business during that time in your life, especially with an actress like Jodie Foster. Having started in the industry at a young age, herself, did Jodie share any words of wisdom with you and what did you learn from observing her on set?

ZK: I shot the film during my Summer break between 10th and 11th grade. It was my first job and a great experience! I wouldn't say that Jodie gave me any specific words of wisdom, she was just really nice to me. She's a strong and grounded person. To work with: mind-blowing, so focused and 'at it' every minute. I learned a lot from watching her, and the others on the movie.

NM: Let's talk about 'Yelling To The Sky.' More than 200 young women were considered for the film, and that was narrowed down to only 40 for the audition; what do you think you did to set yourself apart for the role of “Sweetness”?

ZK: Victoria Mahoney [Director] had a lot of talented actresses that she saw for the part and liked. I just think that she and I are kindred spirits. We connected; and I was in awe of her; the way she worked with me during the audition. I opened up to her--opened up my spirit and soul and let go of my ego.

NM: In what ways are you completely different from “Sweetness”?

ZK: Obvious things: her situation, the way she had been treated and ignored. But the similarities are there too. And since she is based on Victoria's life it was easy to commit to this character. Victoria and I, we finish each other's sentences!

NM: You’re working with such an eclectic cast on Yelling To The Sky, what lessons did you learn from your peers?

ZK: I wouldn't say that I learned lessons but it was an amazing ensemble; It was grassroots; we did everything ourselves.

NM: What was the “Precious” connection you have with co-star Gabourey Sidibe?

ZK: Well, I knew her from before. I was interning for Lee Daniels [Director] when he got the script for Precious, in which Gabby starred. It was just a coincidence that we were cast in this movie together.

NM: With the connection you had with Gabourey and the spiritual connection you made with Victoria, was working on this film like being a part of a family?

ZK: Definitely. There's not a lot of money and of course, it's not like we're there for the money anyway. And I believe it has to be that way, or else it would be miserable. So yes, it was like a family, where we all helped out with many things like make-up, wardrobe and hair.

NM: You've also taken on a role in in television, currently starring as Pearl in the showtime drama, Californication. Had you been a fan of the show before being cast?

ZK: Yes, I was a fan of the show; I like that show a lot and the writing's really good. There are very talented actors on that show.

NM: What appealed to you about the concept of the series and the role of Pearl in particular?

ZK: I heard that they were looking for a band and I felt it was a good opportunity to sing and do music. Which I love.

NM: You have a diverse array of projects both upcoming and previously. Are you purposely being a chameleon, or are you simply taking roles that interest you and to expand your craft?

ZK: The second one. I have no plan in any way, shape or form. I guess it seems to some I make strange choices in film but I've never seen it that way. I didn't think they were so diverse at the time, it wasn't deliberately so.

NM: Where does your band Elevator Fight fit in between TV and film jobs?

ZK:It's been a bit difficult, they all live in Philadelphia and I just got back from the UK. But when I'm in NYC, it's great because I take the train over to Philly. Even when we're separated, we definitely keep it going. We're actually recording our album next week in Philly. They're really my best friends.

NM: Besides acting and music, what are some of your other creative outlets?

ZK: I like photography and I write; I also write music. One day I would like to direct [films] as well .

NM: You've been cast in the upcoming movies X-Men: First Class and Mad Max (which I'm personally very excited about)... and with projects on the horizon both indie and big budget flicks, your future seems pretty bright! How do you keep centered in the midst of all these opportunities, and stay grounded and connected to friends and family as the Hollywood lifestyle comes calling?

ZK: I think I'm lucky having parents that have been in show business for a while and they don't care about the shiny stuff so much. They raised me in that way-- to stay grounded, not to chase the shiny pretty things. I stay in the moment, because when you do that the hype goes away. Like on the X-Men set, we did our job and worked hard but some of the people on that set became my best friends. I see the human in everyone and everything. No one is more important than anyone else; I still hang out with my high school friends.

NM: So, I have a younger sister about your age; and she absolutely loves the outfits you put together and how you present yourself in public. You have such a unique sense of fashion; Is that interpretive of whatever mood you're in or are you more deliberate in regards to your personal style?

ZK: Definitely a mood thing, I don't put that much thought into what I'm wearing. It's about what inspires me and not taking it too seriously-- what I do is express myself.

NM: What's the best advice you've received from family or friends in the business and what would you like to share with those out there juggling jobs and auditions, hoping to make it?

ZK: Not to take it too seriously, don't let the fun come out of the craft; just remember why you are doing it.

NM: I would like to give a big thank you to Zoë Kravitz for taking the time to speak with Shadow and Act! Be sure to check out Yelling To The Sky when it hits a theater near you!


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