flashback friday: three's company
reread our 2012 cover story with zoe kravitz, bella heathcote, and juno temple!
photographed by marvin scott jarrett
Apart from her vast circular bed, which is the size of a small helipad and made from crimson velvet, Zoe Kravitz's apartment, on the ground floor of an old clapboard house in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, is much like all the others rented by the young, creative class in New York City. There's a little kitchen, with a metal table that could fit no more than three dinner plates edge to edge, handwritten note on the window ledge, and dirty dishes in the sink. There's a modest living room with a antique velvet couch, a large American flag hanging upside down on the wall, clusters of vintage pictures, and a stick of incense smoking on a side table. There are even cockroaches. "Oh my God! It's in my bedroom and I think it's still alive," Kravitz squeals, as her friend goes to the rescue, capturing and releasing the bug into her ramshackle backyard. "Well," she says with a laugh, pulling on an Alexander Wang leather jacket over a plaid shirt and an oversized, ripped T-shirt that was once white, but never will be again, "that was a good way to start!" She digs around in a kitchen drawer filled with sunglasses and selects a round, gold-rimmed pair. "Wanna go get a coffee?" she asks, then, more hopefully: "Or maybe a drink?" A short walk later we are settled into the back of a dive bar up the street--she with a straight Jameson, me with a beer, deep in a conversation that feels so natural I initially forget I'm meant to be recording it. Kravitz fits in here as well as the dilapidated furniture, peeling wallpaper, and stained carpet, and you get the impression that she would act no differently if she were at her friend Jay-Z's house ("I'll go over and watch the Superbowl at his place, stuff like that"); crashing on Jennifer Lawrence's couch in Los Angeles, like she was last weekend; or shooting the next M. Night Shyamalan movie, as she was yesterday, in Philadelphia. In the film, After Earth, which is due out next year, Kravitz plays the daughter of Will Smith's character as they explore a new planet in a future where Earth is no longer inhabitable. "I don't know what I'm allowed to say about it," she says, which, like most of Shymalan's projects, is shrouded in secrecy. "But there are aliens. It's funny--I never thought I was going to do any kind of big-budget action films. I thought I was going to do theater and indie films. But things did not turn out that way."
After relocating, she quickly found a manager and, rather than take the first thing that came her way, decided to play the long game. "I understand that we've all got to make a living, but at the same time I feel like your 'no's' shape your career as much as, if not more than, your 'yeses,'" she says, wisely. Not Fade Away, in which Heathcote plays the girlfriend of the singer (played by John Magaro) of a band in New Jersey in the '60s, was Heathcote's first big role in the States. "I think I was in a constant state of anxiety the whole time I was making it," says Heathcote of the film, which also stars James Gandolfini. "David [Chase] was extraordinary to work with, though. As far as giving notes to actors, he's the best I've ever worked with--not that I've worked with many. It was really comforting being on set with him, because you just feel like he's going to take care of everything."
"I am definitely an emotional person," she says, over a caprese salad on the patio of a cafe in Santa Monica. "I'm a very sensitive person, too. I get very affected by things. But I want to be honest. And that means I want to be honest through a character. My dad always said to me, 'Oh, my darling, if you are going to do a movie, whether it's for three days, three weeks, three months, you have to be ready to live and breathe that character for every moment of that time. You have to be ready to be so passionate about who you're playing that, even if they're a nut job, you want to jump in their skin and be them.'" It's sage advice: Her dad is Julien Temple, whose friendship with the Sex Pistols in the '70s led to him recording their performances and making documentaries and music videos with the band. He has since made music videos for everyone from David Bowie to The Rolling Stones to Blur, as well as many documentaries and feature films, including one, Vigo: A Passion For Life, in which he cast his daughter when she was just nine years old. "It was my first ever movie and I got cut out!" Temple says, laughing. "I actually can't wait for us to find an incredible project to do together. I can't wait to be directed fully by my father in an adult role that he can mold me into."
Temple's childhood, in the verdant countryside of the south west of England, was bucolic. "I grew up in a 600-year-old farmhouse on a bunch of land, and my dad built me this crazy hedge that starts short and gets higher, so I could feel like Alice in Wonderland when I ran up and down it," she says, pushing her voluminous blond hair out of her face. "My parents"--her mother, Amanda Pirie, is a film producer--"are very much about knowledge is the key to life, so just fill your brain with however much you possibly can. I'm really lucky with them, because they're like, 'Just fucking be you. Stay true to that and see what happens.'" She laughs, then takes a bit of mozzarella. "I have.I'm a bit of a stubborn fuck about that."
Temple--whose name comes from a rocky outcrop in the Grand Canyon, which her parents visited when her mother was pregnant--moved to Los Angeles from England, and currently lives in Los Feliz, within walking distance of her favorite vintage store (the Luella for Target leather jacket she's wearing, which is about two sizes too big for her, is from there). "When you get off the plane in L.A. it's like no one gives a shit what you've done; they wanna know what you're going to do," she says. "It's kind of a great way to look at life." Roles in Dirty Girl and Greg Araki's Kaboom quickly established Temple as an actress who is not afraid to take risks, but now she is pushing herself further.
Temple has never been better than she is in Little Birds, in which she plays Lily, a girl growing up in the arid sulphuric wasteland of the Salton Sea, a ghost town in the desert outside L.A. A troubled and flawed girl, she decides to escape her rotten home and lush of a mother (Leslie Mann), and go to L.A. to find a skater she fell for when he passed through her town on a road trip. Best friend Alison (Kay Panabaker), whose life is just as tragic and her mom (Kate Bosworth) just as much of a mess, reluctantly agrees to go with her, but when the two arrive in L.A. and track down the skaters, who are squatting in an abandoned hotel, things get dark very quickly.
A few months after the film premiered to rave reviews at Sundance in 2011, the film's director, Elgin James, was sentenced to a year in prison for the attempted 2006 extortion of a Chicago musician (over 60 letters of support were sent on James's behalf, including from Sundance founder Robert Redford). "There's just something about Juno," says James, a few weeks after being released (he served ten months). "There's something so real and honest, and she seems to have this naked vulnerability, but she's probably one of the toughest and bravest people I know. I'm not saying that just as words. I was in a gang for 20 years, you know, and hands-down this little English thing is the most loyal, tough, brave friend that I have. There was no reason--especially for a young actress starting out--to be tied to me and to what I had going on. And she did the opposite, she just gave more of herself."
"I'm only 22, and sometimes I wonder if shit's gonna get jaded," says Temple, as we go out onto the sidewalk so she can smoke. "I hope not. I get so excited when I book a job. To me, it's like the coolest fucking thing ever. And, you know what, dude? I'm fucking lucky to get any work at all. How many people want to do this?"