Zoë Kravitz on Road Trips, Manic Pixie Dream Girls, and Mad Max vs. Divergent

Zoë Kravitz. Photo: Gilbert Carrasquillo/FilmMagic

Zoë Kravitz is having a busy summer. First, a road trip in The Road Within, a bittersweet dramedy (now on VOD) about three 20-somethings who ditch a clinic for the open highways. They're all facing issues: OCD, anorexia and Tourette's syndrome — with Kravitz playing a mysterious girl with an eating disorder she refuses to acknowledge. Then, Mad Max: Fury Road, the remake in which Kravitz plays apocalypse survivor Toast — nothing new for the actress. She's done dystopias before. (Remember Divergent?) We chatted with Kravitz about the open road, the Fury Road, and which future would suit her best. 

The Road Within is a pretty heavy movie.
In parts it is. The conditions that these people have, yes. But it does have some really great, light, funny moments.

The character you play has an eating disorder, but she could have easily come off as a manic-pixie-dream-girl-esque foil to the male lead. Is that something you were aware of?
Very. The whole manic-pixie-dream-girl thing is a pet peeve of mine. I’ve struggled with some eating stuff, some food stuff, so it was really important to me, and I didn’t want to glamorize it. I didn’t want to make young women want to smoke cigarettes and be thin. She’s a cool chick, I can see that, but she’s struggling. She’s trying to control everything she can, starting with herself.

It ends up being more about friendship than love. Even when the two leads get together, it can’t work.
She’s not painted as this unattainable, beautiful mess. She really is a mess, I think. Especially when you see her exposed. It’s not pretty.

In essence, it’s a road-trip movie, and there are so many good ones out there. Do you have a favorite?
Probably Thelma & Louise.

Talk about a tragic ending.
I know, man. It’s funny because I hadn’t seen that movie. I saw it a few years ago for the first time. It was one of those movies that I knew I needed to see, but I just hadn’t. I saw it, and I so didn’t see the ending coming. I was like, holy shit!

I like the idea of a road trip as a healing mechanism.
I mean, it makes sense. I think a lot of people do go on road trips when they’re just trying to get away. There’s no destination.

What about the world of Mad Max? Talk about an escape. Were you allowed to get really dirty, or is that all Hollywood dirt?
We’re actually out there in the sand dunes. So it’s everywhere. After a while, it made us all start to go a little crazy. It wasn’t the fact that it was dirty, I don’t mind some sand or anything, but it was also cold.

How does Mad Max’s postapocalyptic world compare to a Divergent’s?
Divergent is very organized. Max Mad is some chaotic shit. Everything is shot at speed, it’s all for real, we’re always actually on the go in the middle of nowhere, in the desert, with cameras following us. Almost nothing is done in postproduction here. Every stunt, for the most part, is really happening.

Which end-of-world would you prefer? Divergent or Mad Max?
In real life?

Divergent would probably be more comfortable of a world, but Mad Max would probably be more fun. I love both of those worlds. It’s hard to compare them. Right now, I find that Mad Max is so punk-rock, and I’m in that zone.