Tuesday, March 13, 2007

My Two Cents

There has been a lot of talk recently about the casting for the upcoming Christopher Nolan Batman Begins sequel and it’s had me thinking about casting ideas for the eventual appearance of Catwoman.

Since I was a kid Catwoman was always a character who fascinated me.
I think my first introduction to her was in reruns of the 60’s Batman TV Show. Played by 3 different actresses Julie Newmar, Ertha Kitt and Lee Meriwether it was Newmar’s portrayal that intrigued me most; strong, flirtatious and beautiful. Newmar’s Catwoman had a playful streak giving her the uncontrollable urge to commit crimes yet she always seemed regretful, almost apologetic when caught and stopped by Batman. Of course I’m really not sure if it was because she was truly contrite, if it was her attraction to Batman that made her want to submit to his ideals or if she was trying to flirt her way out of a tough spot.

As the years passed I was exposed to some of her other incarnations in print and on screen and its interesting to see how the character has changed and evolved through the years from her first appearance as the villain in Batman #1, to the slinky vigilante she would become in Batman Returns. God Michelle Pfeifer was a great Catwoman wasn’t she! In my mind she is sort of the definitive Catwoman, free-thinking, fierce and strong yet distinctly feminine in every way. So how do you top that in another movie…my answer is you don’t; you try a new and interesting take on the character.

In Nolan’s Batman Begins we’ve seen the origin of the caped crusader, the life-changing events that shaped his identity and how he learned to cope with the demons inside. I assume in Nolan’s next Batman film, The Dark Knight, we’ll see his first real challenge as our hero faces the nihilistic insanity of The Joker so as these things go I can only assume Catwoman would be next on the list.

We’ve seen the silly flirtatious Catwoman in Julie Newmar, we’ve seen a sort of near insane, animalistic Catwoman in Michelle Pfeiffer and we’ve seen the sort of pedestrian feminist everyday ordinary thief/ vigilante in the comics so what I’d love to see in the new movie is an older wiser Catwoman. A post-feminist Catwoman who is strong and stands on her own two feet, but it’s not her defining attribute.

And she should be played by someone a little older than Christian Bale like Cate Blanchett; someone who looks like she could have a past, who’s been in the game a lot longer and understands the world a little more than the young Bruce Wayne. This Catwoman started off as an idealist, but her years of experience have taught her that not everything is black and white, good and bad; the world is made up in shades of grey. She’s a thief but does that really make her evil? Does that really make her in the wrong? This Catwoman should make Bruce question his own ideals, as he is getting older and wiser himself and of course finds himself falling for her…Batman always falls for Catwoman.

Of course knowing how they always cast these things, they will probably pick some quirky little ingénue of the moment (like how they cast Jessica Alba in Fantastic Four as Sue Storm or Kate Bosworth as Lois Lane in Superman Returns) and make the character boring or pointless…but this is Christopher Nolan and he does have a pretty good track record thus far so maybe my fears are unfounded.

Then again I think we all remember this travesty...
I mean really! Who fights crime in open-toed shoes!


Anonymous said...

Casting Catwoman is a tough call. Cate Blanchett sounds like a very interesting choice, though. If she didn't ham it up like Uma Thurman as Poison Ivy, it could definitely work.

MC said...

That picture sort of sells the idea of Cate Blanchett.

Part of me still wanted to see Sean Young's vision of the character on celluloid.

primalscreamx said...

I tend to follow Frank Miller's vision of catwoman from Batman: year one. If memory serves, that version had Selina Kyle as a prostitute and thief. I'm not saying Cate couldn't grub down for the role, but that she lacks a natural sort of seediness and apparent damage. All of Batman's serious foes are pretty damaged people. Charlize Theron maybe would be my choice, because of Monster and Aeon Flux.

SamuraiFrog said...

I love the idea of Cate Blanchett, but I'm biased because I love her and I think she could play anything. They need to take the character from simple revenge on the world of men and into something more fun to watch.

Anonymous said...

Me Darlin' Becca, go check yer email. Th' Cap'n sent ye a link...

Becca said...

My gosh was Uma Thurman BAD as Poison Ivy! Kill Bill barely makes up for her ruining Poison Ivy and Emma Peel in movies.

Sean Young would have been interesting indeed! Poor Sean Young didn't have anything near the career she should have.

I keep meaning to read that but haven't...it's sitting in the library so I'll get to that sooner than later.

I'm not a huge fan of Theron. I think she can be good when directed well but her overall body of work kind of dissapoints me. Still she's not a terrible choice by a longshot.

She could play anything because she's the man...ur I mean lady.

Thank you, you made my night! Now go check your inbox.

MC said...

If they were looking for an older woman in the Eartha Kitt mould, I think Vanessa Williams could pull that off.

SamuraiFrog said...

Still, I don't blame Uma for Poison Ivy. That was Joel Schumacher's idiot decision to have her play it as Marlene Dietrich, something Uma just wasn't able to pull off. Bad direction counts for a lot.

Emma Peel I totally blame her for, though.

MC said...

There are very few people who could have filled the leather boots of Diana Rigg in that role.

Becca said...

Boy! Vanessa Williams would be perfect! She is still so very beautiful!

True Joel Schumacher had alot to do with the suckiness of Poison Ivy. He just ruins everything he touches.

I don't think anyone could have filled Diana Rigg's shoes, they are awfully big shoes to fill. They probably should have come up with an orginal character for the movie.

Dr. Zaius said...

I think that you guys have inadvertently hit on the answer - the perfect Catwoman would be a 1965 Diana Rigg! The British accent would only add to the role, and she certainly has the stage presence to pull it off credibly.