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Zoë Kravitz Won’t Rename Directorial Debut ‘Pussy Island’: That’s the ‘Seed of the Story’

The title started as a joke, but she says "it represents this time where it would be acceptable for a group of men to call a place that."

Zoë Kravitz "The Batman" premiere

Zoë Kravitz

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Zoë Kravitz’s directorial debut is firmly, provocatively, and permanently titled “Pussy Island.”

Kravitz spent five years penning the script with E.T. Feigenbaum (“High Fidelity”) before the #MeToo movement made her rethink the premise and rewrite the script “a million times.”

“The title came from that world,” Kravitz told The Wall Street Journal Magazine. “The title is the seed of the story. It represents this time where it would be acceptable for a group of men to call a place that, and the illusion that we’re out of that time now.”

“Pussy Island” centers on cocktail waitress Frida (Naomi Ackie), who accepts an invitation to visit the remote private island owned by a tech mogul (Channing Tatum). The film, co-produced by Tatum, was “born out of a lot of anger and frustration around the lack of conversation about the treatment of women, specifically in industries that have a lot of money in them, like Hollywood, the tech world, all of that,” Kravitz explained.

Kravitz sent the script to “Kimi” and “Magic Mike” director Steven Soderbergh, as well as “Atlanta” creator Donald Glover, for feedback. Glover noted to WSJ that “Pussy Island” is a “dangerous” tale about the twisted corruption of gendered power. Lead star and producer Tatum applauded Kravitz’s script changes for being “pretty punk rock.”

MGM purchased the film after Kravitz directed a sizzle reel to showcase a “dark, funny, sexy, frightening” tone, as WSJ reported. However, Kravitz admitted to having a “fear of judgment” presenting “Pussy Island” to the public.

“The truth is, with almost everything I do, if I can get it to the point where I truly think it’s good, then I can kind of let things drop away where I’m not so concerned about what other people think,” Kravitz explained. “It’s a scary time to have an opinion or to say the wrong thing or to make controversial art or statements or thoughts or anything. It’s mostly scary because art is about conversation. That should, in my opinion, always be the point. The internet is the opposite of conversation. The internet is people putting things out and not taking anything in.”

Kravitz concluded, “I was reminded that I’m an artist. Being an artist is not about everybody loving you or everyone thinking you’re hot. It’s about expressing something that will hopefully spark a conversation or inspire people or make them feel seen. I think I’m in a place right now where I don’t want to express myself through a caption or a tweet. I want to express myself through art.”

Kravitz previously told Deadline that the title of the film “means a lot of things.”

“I started writing this story in 2017. As a woman in general, and a woman in this industry, I’ve experienced some pretty wild behavior from the opposite sex,” Kravitz said earlier this year. “The title was kind of a joke at first, this place where people would go, bring women, party and hang out. The story evolved into something else, but the title wound up having multiple meanings. And it alludes to this time and place we claim to not be in anymore, in terms of sexual politics. People are evolving and changing but there is still a bad taste in a lot of people’s mouths from past behavior. It’s a nod to that, but it’s also playful, and a really playful film in a lot of ways. I like that the title leads with that and has some heavy meaning beneath it.”

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