Getting underneath Catwoman’s skin

The Dark Knight Rises – which hits theaters on July 20 – is one of the biggest events in geekdom this year.  

It’s the last of the Christian Bale/Chris Nolan trilogy, and obviously has a lot to live up to. There’s a fantastic heritage of Batman (which the recent Nolan films saved), and the first two in his trilogy were great movies. 

If the third movie doesn’t deliver, it would be tragic, but let’s try not to think negative. After all, filmmakers are striving very hard to make sequels as good, if not better than the originals, and we all know with every geek watching, Nolan’s not gonna phone it in if he knows what’s good for him.

The big test, of course, will be the villains. Bane hasn’t gotten a lot of fanboys excited, again, another part of the Batman legacy Joel Schumacher helped wreck, and Catwoman, which could very easily skid into camp territory if not handled right. Anne Hathaway is the new Catwoman, and we’ve obviously seen the costume, yet not enough of the performance in the trailer, so the jury’s still going to be out for a while.

Recently the L.A. Times did an interview with Hathaway, who told Geoff Boucher, “I love the costume because everything has a purpose,” referring in part to the goggles that turn into cat ears. 

”Nothing is in place for fantasy’s sake, and that’s the case with everything in Christopher Nolan’s Gotham City.”

She added that, “Chris [Nolan] has give us all such complex, definite, sophisticated worldviews that it’s just a matter of doing your homework and getting underneath the character’s skin.”

Hathaway has done her homework into the role, and she found out that Catwoman was partly inspired by the famous actress Hedy Lamarr, who interestingly enough, at least according to a new biography of the actress by Richard Rhodes, was a revolutionary inventor in addition to being one of the most beautiful women in Hollywood. 

Hathaway said Lamrr’s onscreen breathing “was extraordinary. She takes these long, deep, languid breaths and exhales slowly. So I started working on my breathing a lot.”

How the movie ultimately turns out we won’t know for some time, but we already know this much: former Catwoman Julie Newmar has given Hathaway her enthusiastic endorsement, saying she’ll be “marvelous” in the role.