Zoe Kravitz is a badass, but she gets it from her mama. “I’ve been raised by the most badass woman in the world,” she recently told ESSENCE. “My mom has an amazing group of friends, and growing up they kind of adopted me.” The 26-year-old actress and singer leaned on her innate feminine strength for her role in Mad Max: Fury Road, the long-awaited sequel of the classic post-apocalyptic trilogy.
In Mad Max: Fury Road, Kravitz plays Toast, one of the murderous villain’s five wives, who end up right in the thick of the conflict when Furiosa (Charlize Theron) frees them from captivity. Although the wives have been kept under lock and key and sheltered from the roughness of the desert, once free, they battle to keep their freedom.
“[Toast] rises to the occasion, she really joins the fight, and she understands the harshness of the wasteland,” Kravitz explained. “I really love the transition. Initially she’s more of an accessory, and the next thing you know she’s loading guns and driving cars.”
Filming Mad Max wasn’t easy. Unlike most action movies these days, it isn’t full of computer-animated special effects. According to Kravitz, it was shot “at speed,” meaning the crazy explosions, acrobatic fights, and high-speed chases audiences see on-screen actually happened. Even more challenging? The film was shot in the barren deserts of Namibia during the winter.
“Being taken out of your element and being put into the desert for six months and working six days a week, you really see nothing but sand, the cars, and each other,” Kravitz said. “We were living in that world. It made the shoot really emotional for everybody, but it also made everyone better.”
Although filming the movie was both physically and emotionally taxing, Kravitz said she relied on her upbringing, and the strong women in her life, as inspiration for the role.
“I’m a very strong believer in the warrior woman, and I just wanted to channel that.”
Kravitz exhibits that same “warrior woman” strength off-camera as well. Although she grew up with famous parents—rocker Lenny Kravitz and actress Lisa Bonet, to be exact—and has followed in their footsteps (she’s the front woman of the band, Lolawolf), the star doesn’t feel pressured to duplicate her parents’ success.
“People compare me to my parents all the time, but I can’t pay attention to it,” she admitted. “I love my parents. I don’t feel pressure at all. I’m supportive of them, and they’re supportive of me, and we love each other.”
See Zoe Kravitz in Mad Max: Fury Road in theaters nationwide.