Zoë Kravitz On ‘Good Kill’

Good Kill tells the story of drone pilot Thomas Egan (Ethan Hawke), who guns down terrorists from a trailer in the middle of the Nevada desert. Zoë Kravitz plays Thomas’ co-pilot Vera Suarez, who is the voice of skepticism that borders on contempt for the drone program that was launched following the terror attacks on 9/11.

On 9/11, Kravitz was in Miami, Fla., but her father, musician Lenny Kravitz, was in New York City. Like many Americans, the attacks hit close to home, but the military actions that were taken in response to them – specifically the drone strikes – were something that Kravitz was only aware of on a cursory level prior to taking the part in Good Kill.

“I knew [drones] were a thing that existed and that they were kind of controversial, and that they were started under the Bush administration and continued with the Obama administration,” Kravitz told uInterview in an exclusive interview.  “I didn’t know much about [the drone program], and I felt like that was a good reason to make a film about it.”

Working on Good Kill not only gave Kravitz greater knowledge of the drone program in general, it also encouraged her to be more empathetic towards those carrying out the controversial attacks.

“I think for me – I’m a very peaceful person. It’s easy, and also kind of ignorant in a lot of ways too, to be able to say, ‘I don’t believe in war. I don’t believe in violence and all that,’” Kravitz explained. “But, what I think [Good Kill] did for me for sure was open up my eyes, and have a lot more compassion for the people who are actually flying the drones.”

A good amount of Good Kill is shot within a small box in which the drone pilots and their commanding officer remotely fly the weaponized drones, shooting down suspects without having to be in the same country. Staring at computer screens, the pilots stalk their targets and keep their eyes on American soldiers in an effort to protect them. Though the screens provide much of the suspense for movie viewers, Kravitz didn’t have the harrowing visuals to work with on the set of Good Kill.

“All of the scenes we did in the box, when we’re looking at the screens, there was nothing actually there,” Kravitz revealed to Uinterview. “Andrew would just walk us through like the beats. So shooting this film was sort of like a strange acting exercise, like a sensory exercise because it’s all in your imagination basically. It was a really interesting process.”

Kravitz shared most of her scenes in Good Kill with veteran movie actor Hawke, which may have made the tough acting job a tad easier for the rising star.

“He’s kind of a dream come true, you know, he’s Ethan Hawke,” Kravitz gushed. “I grew up watching his films, so it was crazy for me when I realized I was going to be working with him. And he’s such a lovely person and so talented.”

In addition to Good Kill, Kravitz has blockbuster Mad Max: Fury Road coming out this weekend. Another film, Dope, will be hitting theaters in June, and features Vincent-N-Roxxy and The Road Within are slated for release later this year. Kravitz also has a career in music with band Lolawolf, with whom she plans on going on a European tour and releasing new music in the near future.

Good Kill hits theaters Friday, May 15.

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Q: Can you describe your character in the film? -

I play Vera Suarez. I’m a drone fighter pilot; I’m Ethan’s co-pilot. And, yeah, we are in these little boxes basically flying drones over Afghanistan.

Q: How familiar were you with the drone program before this film? -

Not very, you know. I knew they were a thing that existed and that they were kind of controversial, and that they were started under the Bush administration and continued with the Obama administration. So, I didn’t know much about it, and I felt like that was a good reason to make a film about it.

Q: Did this film affect your views on the drone program? -

Yeah, I think for me – I’m a very peaceful person. It’s easy, and also kind of ignorant in a lot of ways too, to be able to say, “I don’t believe in war. I don’t believe in violence and all that.” But, what I think it did for me for sure was open up my eyes and have a lot more compassion for the people who are actually flying the drones.

Q: What was working with Ethan Hawke like? -

It was great. He’s kind of a dream come true, you know, he’s Ethan Hawke. I grew up watching his films, so it was crazy for me when I realized I was going to be working with him. And he’s such a lovely person and so talented.

Q: What was the most challenging scene for you to shoot? -

All of the scenes we did in the box, because when we’re looking at the screens there was nothing actually there, so Andrew would just walk us through like the beats. So shooting this film was sort of like a strange acting exercise, like a sensory exercise because it’s all in your imagination basically. It was a really interesting process.

Q: How did you prepare for this role? -

We had actual drone pilots that would come and kind of give us the rundown, and they were also always on set to make sure we were doing everything right.

Q: Where were you on 9/11? -

I was in Florida. I was in Miami. I was living in Miami and I was in school but my dad was in New York so I remember I was really really scared.

Q: What other upcoming projects do you have? -

We have ‘Mad Max’ coming out soon, next month which I’m really excited about and ‘Dope’ comes out in June. Hopefully a film I did called ‘Vincent-N-Roxxy’ will come out at the end of the year and a film called ‘The Road Within’ as well.

Q: Are you still working with your band Lolawolf? -

Yeah, we just finished a tour like a week ago with Twin Shadow, and I think we’re going to do a European Tour and play Afro Punk Paris. Then we have some new music coming out soon.