Zoe Kravitz, Pussy Island, Channing Tatum, thriller

Zoë Kravitz (The Batman, Big Little Lies) is stepping behind the camera for an upcoming thriller titled Pussy Island. Channing Tatum (Magic MikeLost City of D) will star and be working off a script penned by Kravitz and E.T. Feigenbaum. Bruce Cohen, Kravitz, Tiffany Persons, and Tatum’s Free Association are lined up to produce, with plans to bring the feature to the Cannes market next week.

Deadline broke the story on Tuesday afternoon, and provided the following description:

Frida is a young, clever, Los Angeles cocktail waitress who has her eyes set on the prize: philanthropist and tech mogul Slater King (Tatum). When she skillfully maneuvers her way into King’s inner circle and ultimately an intimate gathering on his private island, she is ready for a journey of a lifetime. Despite the epic setting, beautiful people, ever-flowing champagne, and late-night dance parties, Frida can sense that there’s more to this island than meets the eye. Something she can’t quite put her finger on. Something a bit terrifying.

Many know Kravitz from her starring roles in films like Mad Max: Fury Road, X-Men: First Class, Divergent, and Hulu’s High Fidelity, which she also executive produced. Soon she’ll become a part of the DCEU by playing Catwoman in Matt Reeves’ The Batman. It’s been said that Kravitz has been heading in a direction that takes her towards a director’s chair for several years. From what I can gather, she was waiting for the right project and wanted to make something that explores such topics as gender dynamics and corrupt power constructs.

Kravitz recently spoke with Deadline about Pussy Island and had this to say about the film’s provocative title:

“The title means a lot of things,” Kravitz said. “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. 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.”

Later in the interview, Kravitz explains that she expressly wanted Tatum for the role of Slater King. After landing him to play the key character, the two began developing the script together.

“Chan was my first choice, the one I thought of when I wrote this character,” Kravitz said. “I just knew from Magic Mike and his live shows, I got the sense he’s a true feminist and I wanted to collaborate with someone who was clearly interested in exploring this subject matter.”

Tatum then told Deadline that he was rather surprised by the offer, but was intrigued nonetheless.

“It’s terrifying to talk about anything, when you start putting your toes over the line, and talking about men and women today, as things are starting to bubble to the surface and everybody is starting to have accountability,” Tatum told Deadline. “When Zoë called me about this, I was shocked. I didn’t know her. I’d watched her in movies, knew she produced High Fidelity, and had seen that, but I didn’t know she was creating on a level like this, where she wanted to direct. This came out of nowhere and the subject matter made me say, wait, why are you thinking about me for this? No one gives me a chance to play a role like this, everybody throws me down a different alley and expects me to do a certain thing. It was scary and liberating, just to be able to have a free conversation, where I was allowed to mess up, and say the wrong things. It became less about men and women and more of a human thing that will open people’s eyes, rather than us drawing lines in the sand, you’re a man, I’m a woman, it’s us against you thing. This goes deeper in a direction I’m fascinated by and I’m interested in seeing how people receive this and break it down in their own lives. And what they think the movie means and how would they have made decisions.

“Slater is a wild character, an extremely committed version — psychotic possibly — but an extreme version of myself,” Tatum said. “I’m very interested to see what humans are capable of, physically, mentally, spiritually, energetically, all of it. He wants to know what people are capable of, what they want, and what they are capable of when they want something. And how far are you willing to push yourself to get the thing you want. For me, that supersedes gender, race or religion, creed. That’s wildly fascinating to me.”

For more on the evolution and creative process for Pussy Island, be sure to check out Deadline’s extensive interview.

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