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Lenny Kravitz For Interview Magazine



Lenny Kravitz has evolved from a soul stirring singer into a noteworthy actor. Kravitz, who turns 48 this year, gave a memorable performance as the compassionate Nurse John in the critically acclaimed movie Precious. That acting role caught the eye of director Gary Ross, who cast Kravitz in his latest film, Hunger Games, due in theaters March 23.

In Hunger Games, contestants are chosen to fight to the death on national television. Kravitz had some interesting things to say about the film’s concept relating to today’s scripted reality shows.

Kravitz recently spoke with his longtime friend singer/songwriter/producer Raphael Saadiq for Interview magazine.

On getting the role in Hunger Games without an audition:
LENNY KRAVITZ: “Gary [Ross] saw Precious and said that he liked the character of Nurse John, so he thought I’d be right for the role in Hunger Games… So he called me down here in the Bahamas— I was actually making the album at the time. He said, “Hi, I’m making this movie called The Hunger Games. I think you’d be great. If you want it, you’ve got the part.” No audition. I was really flattered, but I had not read the book. So I downloaded it. I remember I started it late one night and I needed to go to bed—I was tired and had been recording all day and night—but I couldn’t stop reading because I was captured by the story. So I finished the book and called him back and said, “I’d love to do it.” You know, the film definitely represents these times—from government on down to reality television. It’s interesting that we’re living in these times. Really, when you go back to being in junior high school and reading George Orwell’s 1984, you’re, like, “Man, here were are . . .” Our characters have changed, our sensibilities. We’re definitely morphing into something different.”


On Zoe Kravitz, his daughter with ‘Cosby’ actress Lisa Bonet:
KRAVITZ: “It’s beautiful. She was in the latest X-Men movie last summer. She also did this really beautiful independent film, Yelling to the Sky, which went to the festivals. She’s in this band called Elevator Fight, and they’re making some really cool music. I went to a gig of hers in Brooklyn not that long ago. She just watched everything as a child. She was around a lot of great, creative people, being with me and her mother [Kravitz’s ex-wife, actress Lisa Bonet]. She just finished making her album. It’s just wonderful to see her doing her thing.”

On his late mother’s groundbreaking role on TV’s ‘The Jeffersons’
KRAVITZ: “When people understood that my parents were an interracial couple, some of them were like, “Is that guy on The Jeffersons your dad?” I was like, “No, not both my parents are on the show.” [The late actor Franklin Cover played Roker’s husband on The Jeffersons.] But that was the first interracial couple on prime-time television, and The Jeffersons was on for 11 seasons. You had All in the Family and Good Times and all of these other shows that Norman Lear did at the time that were really important because they actually dealt with those kinds of issues.”

On American kids not knowing their music history like European kids:
KRAVITZ: “Well, since I’ve been on the scene—for 23 years—I think kids in Europe have developed a deeper knowledge of music and of black music in particular. You go to Europe, and these kids know about all this obscure funk and soul that kids over here wouldn’t know. I think it’s getting better in the States, though, with the age of the Internet. I mean, my daughter, Zoe and her crew—those kids know everything. But that has taken time to happen over here. It’s definitely been more of a European thing. Or, if you go to Japan, they’re still buying vinyl, and they want the education. They know who’s playing on what tracks from the ’60s and the ’70s—who the guitar player is, who the drummer is, who the producer was, what studio it was recorded in. That’s how you and I grew up listening to music. We bought albums. We read the liner notes. It was important to know the whole history behind it.”

Would you ever want to do a comedy?
KRAVITZ: Oh, I love comedy. I like dark comedies. Things like . . . Well, obviously, Woody Allen and Wes Anderson. The Royal Tenenbaums [2001] is one of my favorites. And I actually just watched Fantastic Mr. Fox [2009]. George Clooney and Meryl Streep were flawless. I love Wes’s work. I mean, if I ever got to work with somebody like him, it would be a dream. I did this thing for Funny or Die called “Lenny Kravitz Is Angry.” My daughter and I were talking, and we thought it would be really funny. She said, “You know, you’re known as this Let Love Rule guy—Mr. Love and Peace. What if you just kind of go off on people?” So that’s how it happened. It was actually her idea, that skit.

Do you have any brothers or sisters?
KRAVITZ: I have two sisters whom my dad [late television producer Sy Kravitz] had from his first marriage, but we didn’t grow up together. I grew up as an only child.

Do you feel like Europe is more advanced than America?
KRAVITZ: Well, since I’ve been on the scene—for 23 years—I think kids in Europe have developed a deeper knowledge of music and of black music in particular. You go to Europe, and these kids know about all this obscure funk and soul that kids over here wouldn’t know. I think it’s getting better in the States, though, with the age of the Internet. I mean, my daughter, Zoe and her crew—those kids know everything. But that has taken time to happen over here. It’s definitely been more of a European thing. Or, if you go to Japan, they’re still buying vinyl, and they want the education. They know who’s playing on what tracks from the ’60s and the ’70s—who the guitar player is, who the drummer is, who the producer was, what studio it was recorded in. That’s how you and I grew up listening to music. We bought albums. We read the liner notes. It was important to know the whole history behind it.







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Tags: lenny kravitz, music / musician
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