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The Controversial Reason Zoe Kravitz Was Turned Down For The Dark Knight Rises

The Matt Reeves film "The Batman" is the latest attempt to bring the story of Bruce Wayne, aka Batman, to the big screen. The story of the superhero, who operates in the fictional DC city of Gotham, has previously been told in live-action films by filmmakers such as Tim Burton and Zack Snyder.

In this incarnation, Wayne, played by Robert Pattinson, goes up against a number of villains, including The Riddler, played by Paul Dano, The Penguin, played by Colin Farrell, and Carmine Falcone, played by John Turturro. A number of supporting characters round out the film, including Jeffrey Wright as Lt. James Gordon, and Zoë Kravitz as Selina Kyle, aka Catwoman.

The latter character is one of the key aspects of "The Batman," and is an integral figure in the DC comics world. Kyle is a thief who has a complex relationship with Batman in the comics, and has previously been portrayed onscreen by women such as Michelle Pfeiffer and Eartha Kitt, as well as Camren Bicondova in the TV series "Gotham."

However, this is not the first time Kravitz has been up for a role in a Batman film. In a recent conversation, Kravitz opened up about her involvement with the 2012 Christopher Nolan film "The Dark Knight Rises," the third and final entry in his "Dark Knight" trilogy, where she wanted to audition for a role. However, she was pre-emptively rejected, and this is the reason why she was turned down for the part.

Kravitz was deemed too 'urban' for the film

In an interview with The Observer, Zoë Kravitz spoke about how she's had to deal with rejection in the industry, getting help from her mother, actress Lisa Bonet, in trying to get over roles she really wanted but didn't end up landing. However, one particular rejection, from "The Dark Knight Rises," has stuck with her because it wasn't her lack of skills that caused her to miss the part, but because she was deemed too "urban" for the role, to the point that she was rejected even before auditioning for the part.

"I don't know if it came directly from Chris Nolan," Kravitz said of the statement, "I think it was probably a casting director of some kind, or a casting director's assistant... Being a woman of color and being an actor and being told at that time that I wasn't able to read because of the color of my skin, and the word urban being thrown around like that, that was what was really hard about that moment."

While Kravitz did not specify what role it was that she had wanted to audition for, speculation has suggested that it was for the part of Jen, a character who, in the movie, is the roommate of Selina Kyle, aka Catwoman, played in the film by Anne Hathaway. The role of Jen ultimately went to "Ted Lasso" star Juno Temple (per The Independent).

The cast of "The Dark Knight Rises" only includes a handful of Black performers in roles with character names, including Morgan Freeman as Lucius Fox and Daniel Sunjata as Captain Jones (via IMDb).

Kravitz drew praise from all quarters for her performance in The Batman

In the same interview, Zoë Kravitz went on to add that her casting in "The Batman was met with a wave of enthusiasm from the people she knew. "It was crazy," Kravitz said of the immediate reaction to the announcement that she would be playing Catwoman. "My phone was blowing up more than any birthday I've ever had."

Some of these reactions were made public as well, with singing superstar Taylor Swift openly praising Kravitz's performance on social media. "[Kravitz] is the Catwoman of dreams." Swift gushed in her Instagram stories (via People).

Critics were similarly enamored with Kravitz's performance. Reviewer Princess Weekes at "The Mary Sue" wrote, "from the moment she appears onscreen and as the story continues, it's clear that she embodies Selina Kyle. From the start, we see Selina as not just a sexual object, but also someone with great empathy and love for people." Weekes went on to add that she "found [herself] wishing there was more of her and that the story spent a little more time diving into her background," and that the film "has solidified Kravitz as this generation's Catwoman."

Clarisse Loughrey of The Independent similarly praised Kravitz's work in the film, noting, "Kravitz delivers the role with slinky, milk-sipping elegance, her every entrance telegraphed by the meow of Michael Giacchino's strings. She brings a sensuality that feels otherwise extinct from the comic-book genre."

The praise Kravitz is garnering for the role, as well as the calls to see more of Catwoman, and her performance by extension, suggests that Matt Reeves' team made a better call than Christopher Nolan's team in choosing to cast her.