'The Batman' actress shares how she feels about taking the director's chair for the first time and casting Tatum for the dark new role.
Kravitz will be making her directorial debut with Pussy Island, which features a script she co-wrote with E.T. Feigenbaum. The director shares that the story "was born out of a lot of anger and frustration around the lack of conversation about the treatment of women, specifically in industries that have a lot of money in them, like Hollywood, the tech world, all of that."
Having heard stories about powerful men inviting women to remote islands for hazy hedonist free-for-alls, Kravitz began writing five years ago, before the #MeToo movement kicked off a Hollywood shakeup, envisioning the version of reality that she would want to see instead.
"The title came from that world. The title is the seed of the story," she explains. "It represents this time where it would be acceptable for a group of men to call a place that, and the illusion that we're out of that time now."
The Batman actress is no stranger to the world of Hollywood, but working behind the camera is definitely new. "I'm learning a lot about what it takes to make a movie and how many fires are constantly being put out before the actors show up to set," she shares. "I'm just kind of sitting back and learning and trying to not constantly be in a state of panic. If you zoom out too much and think about the whole thing at once, it causes a lot of anxiety but if you focus on the present moment, it's really fun."
It helps that she's surrounded by peers who have the utmost faith in her ability to lead the set, which resides on the grounds of a lush Yucatán hacienda, a land of bacchanalia and vice that Kravitz herself has dreamt up.
Pussy Island star Channing Tatum -- whose company, Free Association, is co-producing the project -- says that he didn't know Kravitz before they met for the film and the project was "pretty different than its form now," but much of the core is essentially the same. "All the iterations it has gone through were all pretty punk rock, to be honest," he tells WSJ. "It's always really intriguing to have someone bring you something that literally no one else has ever thought of you for."
Although the duo didn't know one another before the film, they've since become close personally and professionally. When reflecting on her decision to cast the 42-year-old for the film, Kravitz says that she wanted Tatum for the role because he "hadn't played a dark character before."
"I think that's exciting to watch someone who's mostly played boy next door, good guy, love interest, all of that," she says. "I felt, even from afar, before I knew him, that he was a feminist and that he wasn't afraid of exploring that darkness, because he knows he's not that. That's why I was drawn to him and I wanted to meet with him. And I was right."
Kravitz is more reluctant to discuss their budding romance, ultimately sharing, "I guess what I'll say is when you make things with people it's a very sacred space, and when you're compatible with somebody creatively it often opens up other channels, because you're kind of sharing all of yourself. I'm really grateful that this movie has brought him into my life that way."
It's a sentiment that Tatum echoed when speaking exclusively with ET last month. The actor couldn't help but gush over what an incredible job Kravitz is doing on her directorial debut.
"I'm in awe," the 42-year-old actor effused.
"She's doing better than I did on our first movie with Dog," admitted Tatum, who starred in and directed Dog. "I mean, jeez, we barely survived and she's just killing it."
The Dog experience led Tatum to advise Kravitz not to wear both hats when working on her own film.
Tatum also revealed that he'll be playing a character called Slater King in Pussy Island and, while keeping tightlipped about storyline details, shared that his character is unlike any of his previous roles.
"This is just a completely categorically different thing," he said, referencing his background in romantic and action flicks adding that he was flattered to be viewed in a new light, gushing that Kravitz really "saw me."
"She's got a weird gift for that. She sees right through a lot of people's stuff and really, just who they are to her is really simple," he shared. "She's one of the more intentional people I've ever met in my life."
That energy appears to extend to the filming environment she has created on set, with Tatum likening the experience to "summer camp."
"We're doing some really, really cool stuff," he noted of the film. "It's super stylized and yet really fun, but has a very deep and I think a shocking sort of message at some point."