With beauty, brains and brawn, Anne Hathaway’s Selina Kyle stole The Dark Knight Rises scenes and snatched Bruce Wayne’s heart.
“I didn’t think that he was going to go there.”
Anne Hathaway was surprised an hour into her first meeting with The Dark Knight Rises director Christopher Nolan. She thought Nolan had a completely different role in mind for her in the climax to his Batman film trilogy.
“I was just so convinced that it wasn’t going to be her,” Hathaway told MTV. “I kind of had another character in mind, that when he told me it was Catwoman, I kind of had to switch gears immediately. I was thinking [The Joker’s sidekick] Harley Quinn.”
Nolan himself first doubted that Catwoman could fit the tone and vision of this saga’s Gotham City. But when the first image of Hathaway in costume astride a motorcycle went public, it was clear that everyone involved made a very, very wise decision.
“We felt very strongly that we should have Catwoman in this film, but we always look for an organic way of grounding the characters in our world,” Nolan says. That included having the character keep her given name, Selina Kyle (“Catwoman” is never uttered in the movie). “Selina is a cat burglar, a grifter, a classic movie femme fatale, really. That was my way in, and we drew the iconic figure of Catwoman from that.”
Selina enters the picture eight years after the events of The Dark Knight. Batman (Christian Bale) is in self-imposed exile, taking the fall for D.A. Harvey Dent’s murder. Bruce Wayne is mourning the loss of his love, Rachel Dawes. Selina turns a benefit at stately Wayne Manor into a jewel heist, and her encounter with Bruce becomes the catalyst for events that change them both and affect Gotham City’s fate.
“I think Bruce owes Selina a big thank-you, because he was leading a pretty lonely life until she came in and got his blood pumping,” Hathaway says.
Watching Hathaway clad in the iconic Catsuit is more than enough to get the blood pumping. “It doesn’t really hide much, so I worked with a movement coach to make sure that I was going to be very comfortable in my body,” she says. “If you had to wear a Catsuit in front of the entire world, I guarantee you would get your butt to the gym.”
The skintight outfit couldn’t just be sexy for sexy’s sake. It also had to serve a purpose for the character. “Her Catsuit is also very practical, enabling her to disappear into the darkness and be ready for action,” says costume designer Lindy Hemming. Night-vision goggles flip up to suggest cat ears, and spiked heels double as weapons.
As designed, the costume gave Hathaway freedom of movement for action scenes but posed some challenges. “The actors were doing some pretty remarkable stuff, but Anne was having to do it backwards and in high heels,” producer Emma Thomas says. “She did almost all of her stunts herself.”
There was one big stunt Hathaway couldn’t do. Professional rider Jean-Pierre Goy had been the only one to tame the two-wheeled beast that is the Bat-Pod. “I was standing there with [special-effects supervisor Chris Corbould], looking at the Bat-Pod, and he was telling me about Jean-Pierre and how he’s the only person in the world who can drive it,” Hathaway recalls. “And I turned to him and said, ‘Can he look like a woman?’” No, he couldn’t. But professional motocross racer Jolene Van Vugt filled in nicely.
Next up, Hathaway appears as Fantine in the star-studded movie musical Les Misérables, being released on Christmas Day. She sings “I Dreamed a Dream” (Susan Boyle would be proud), but she could’ve used a stunt double for one aspect of the role. “I’ve now done backflips out of windows. I’ve jumped off of buildings. And cutting my hair reduced me to mental-patient level crying,” she said in a Live! With Kelly interview. “I was inconsolable.”
Perhaps her new husband would offer a shoulder to cry on. Hathaway married actor/jewelry designer Adam Shulman Sept. 29 in Big Sur, Calif. Being attached to star in the romantic comedy The Low Self-Esteem of Lizzie Gillespie from Mindy Kaling (The Mindy Project) should also lift her spirits.
Hathaway won’t return to cohost the Oscars, but she’ll likely have a shot at accepting one or more of the awards in February. Warner Bros. is pushing her TDKR performance for Best Actress, while Universal wants her to be the Best Supporting Actress frontrunner for Les Mis.
Sweeping both categories would be Catwoman’s biggest heist yet.
The Dark Knight Rises > Movies On Demand > Dec. 4
The Finest Feline Femme Fatales From Film And TV
Julie Newmar TV series 1966-67
The statuesque beauty played Catwoman with a sly, slinky sultriness that gave Batman “strange stirrings” in his utility belt.
Anne Hathaway The Dark Knight Rises 2012
With beauty, brains and brawn, Hathaway’s Selina Kyle stole TDKR scenes and snatched Bruce Wayne’s heart.
Michelle Pfeiffer Batman Returns 1992
Pfeiffer cracked the whip in head-to-toe pleather, playing the part with tons of sexy and a whole lot of crazy.
Eartha Kitt TV series 1967-68
Smoky-voiced songstress Kitt gave Catwoman more claws, amping up the evil and toning down the Bat-attraction in the TV series’ third and final season.
Lee Meriwether Batman movie 1966
Miss America 1955 had a one-off Catwoman role in the campy ’60s film, but spent much of her screen time masquerading as a Soviet journalist in a plot to kidnap Bruce Wayne.
Halle Berry Catwoman 2004
Berry’s awful performance and costume were the perfect complement to a film that belongs in a litter box.
Photos: © 2012 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. and Legendary Pictures Funding LLC. Credit: Ron Phillips