Anne Hathaway reveals insights into her “Dark Knight Rises” character, Catwoman, and how she was guided, not by the actresses who preceded her in the role, but by the actress who inspired the original comic book character.
Bob Kane, who co-created Batman for DC comics was inspired by both 1930s Hollywood sex sirens Hedy Lamarr and Jean Harlow. The character was first introduced in 1940, and was alluded to as Batman’s lover.
In Christopher Nolan-directed movie, the last of three Batman films in the dark series, Hathaway told the Los Angeles Times she studied Lamarr.
Hathaway said she also dove into the old comic books. Women have come a long way since then, she noted.
“I like that when she made her first appearance she meets Bruce Wayne and says ‘Let go of me or I’ll claw your eyes out,’ and he says, ‘Careful, claws in or papa spank,’” Hathaway said. “So I’m glad we’ve come a long way since then.”
Hathaway is the fourth woman to play Catwoman in a Batman television series or on the big screen, and the fifth if Halle Berry’s role is counted in the 2004 film “Catwoman.”
The film was a quasi-spinoff of the Batman film series and also starred Sharon Stone, Benjamin Bratt, Lambert Wilson, Frances Conroy and Alex Borstein. It bombed miserably, and Batman fans have largely disowned it.
Before that Catwoman was played by Julie Newmar in the 1960s TV series “Batman,” starring Adam West. She was later followed by Eartha Kitt, who played the role on a recurring basis from 1967 to 1968.
Then Michelle Pfeiffer reprised the role in the 1992 Tim Burton film “Batman Returns,” starring Michael Keaton. Burton was the first to turn Batman into a darker character and the film was a major success.
“What’s come before doesn’t limit or even affect this new version,” Hathaway said.
“It doesn’t affect me because each Catwoman – and this is true in the comics as well – she is defined by the context of the Gotham City created around her. Catwoman is so influenced by Gotham and whoever is creating Gotham at the time.
“Michelle Pfeiffer’s Catwoman was informed by Tim Burton’s Gotham and Eartha Kitt was informed by Adam West’s Gotham. You have to live in whatever the reality of the world is and whatever Gotham is.”