Zoe Kravitz's directorial debut 'Pussy Island' will star Channing Tatum

'Chan was my first choice, the one I thought of when I wrote this character.'
Published June 15, 2021 5:18 p.m. EST
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Zoe Kravitz isn’t letting the cancellation of High Fidelity get her down (even if we’re still bummed about it). Instead, she’s embarking on a career as a director, lining up her feature film debut with Channing Tatum in the lead role.

“This is my first feature and it’s taken many years to get to this point and I’m very excited to step into this new phase,” she told Deadline.

Pussy Island (you read that correctly) will see Tatum cast as a tech billionaire (what other kinds of billionaires are there these days?) turned philanthropist… with a dark side. Kravitz co-wrote the script alongside E.T. Feigenbaum, a writer who also worked on High Fidelity where Kravitz first tested her writing skills. She and Feigenbaum have been working on their Pussy Island script since 2017 and Tatum was her number one pick to play the male lead.

“Chan was my first choice, the one I thought of when I wrote this character,” she 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.”

The movie’s synopsis reads: “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 that is a bit terrifying.”

Kravitz says that at the film’s heart it’s a genre thriller, “There’s absolutely a thriller element to the film, but it has comedy, drama and real heart.”

As for that attention getting title? Kravitz has her reasons for it. Several of them. “The title means a lot of things,” she explained. “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,” said Kravitz. “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.”

Tatum told Deadline that he found the gender dynamics and sexual politics of the project to be both frightening and freeing, which pushed him to sign on to the film with the first-time director. “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,” he said. “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, the 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.”

 

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