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How Zoë Kravitz Auditioned for ‘Big Little Lies’ Director Jean-Marc Vallée

For Variety’s latest issue, we asked Jean-Marc Vallée to write a tribute to Zoë Kravitz, one of 50 people to make our New Power of New York list. Here’s why Kravitz, a co-star star of “Big Little Lies,” represents a new generation of movers and shakers that capture the best of Manhattan. For the full list, click here.

“Zoë est tombée dedans quand elle était petite.” That is what we say in French when someone makes something look easy, when someone is predisposed to excel in something. We all know that something is plural in Zoë’s case. What she already has accomplished at her young age is well known and is one of the reasons why she’s on this list. She walks in somewhere, and we get it: This is a person who loves to be creative from head to toe, whether she’s onstage, on a screen, or in her personal life.

My first meeting with Zoë lasted 45 minutes, and I was quite impressed by her presence, and by how comfortable she seemed to be as she was talking about herself and the part that she was about to portray in “Big Little Lies.” Our conversation felt like one of two friends. Music lovers, I thought, there is often a connection.

We started to work together, and as I was watching her playing her character, effortlessly, being so natural, I felt there was something else about her that I couldn’t tell until recently, when she asked me if I could read a script of hers that she would like to direct.

I knew it. No wonder she was watching silently between takes and shots. How could you not be curious and not have the desire to be creative on all fronts when you spent your childhood years watching two amazing artists doing their magic? No wonder she’s always in the moment. Zoë takes it all in. She loves what she does and wants it to be great and mean something. She, too, loves to believe that art can make a difference.

Respect, my dear Zoë. Please keep on doing what you do, and being who you are. The world needs your voice.

Jean-Marc Vallée is the director of the first seasons of HBO’s “Big Little Lies” and “Sharp Objects.”

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