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Can The Batman bring us a fresh take on Catwoman?

The best actors know they each need to bring their own distinctive take to every role they take on. For characters who have been played many times over the years, such an approach is even more essential. After all, those performances which don’t distinguish themselves are doomed to unfavorable comparisons with what’s come before.

In a business fueled by comic book cinema, this has perhaps never been truer. Sure, countless heroes and villains exist in the pages of Marvel and DC comics alone. But only a few are in regular rotation. Catwoman is most definitely one of them, meaning Zoë Kravitz has her work cut out for her.

Zoë Kravitz at the Golden Globe Awards
Zoë Kravitz at the Golden Globe Awards | Christopher Polk/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

A long history of unforgettable Catwomen

Batman’s rogues gallery is almost unmatched in the world of comics. Several actresses — from Lee Meriwether on the 1960s Batman TV series to Anne Hathaway in The Dark Knight Rises — have slipped on Catwoman’s claws. And that’s not even counting all the actors who have played her in TV, animated, and video game appearances.

Yet, all the actresses who have played the character have had to build a new version from the ground up. Some lean more heavily into her feline mannerisms, complete with an endless supply of cat puns (we’re looking at you, Halle Berry). Others, such as Hathaway, provide a more grounded approach to Catwoman.

Zoë Kravitz brings a new version to ‘The Batman’

However, if one definitive big-screen Catwoman performance exists, it is easily Michelle Pfeiffer’s in Batman Returns. In fact, this appears to be Kravitz’s favorite version of the character as well. She recently chatted with Indiewire about her upcoming role in 2021’s The Batman.

“I think Catwoman is an iconic character,” Kravitz said. “I was never into a lot of comic books, but that world was always really intriguing to me. And then, of course, Michelle Pfeiffer — her performance has always been super inspiring to me. It just felt iconic.”

Truly, the power in Pfeiffer’s work is how she manages to make Selina Kyle both empathetic and imposing at the same time. Even non-comics fans like Kravitz connected with her interpretation, which perfectly balances the playfulness and danger inherent in the character.

The actress speaks to the ‘feminine power’ of Catwoman

Speaking of Catwoman’s power, it’s specifically this element of her character Kravitz hopes to capture when she goes toe to toe with Robert Pattinson’s Dark Knight, she told Indiewire.

I think Catwoman/Selina Kyle represents really strong femininity, and I’m excited to dive into that. I think femininity represents power, and I think it’s a different kind of power than masculine power. That’s something that’s really interesting about Batman and Catwoman. I think Batman represents a very kind of masculine power, and Catwoman represents very feminine power — slightly more complicated, and softer, too. I like the idea that you can be soft, you can be gentle and still be very powerful and still be very dangerous.

With The Batman, writer/director Matt Reeves promises to introduce moviegoers to a version of Gotham City unlike any we’ve seen before. Hopefully, the same can be said of Kravitz’s take on Catwoman. Her comments indicate she has a strong instinct in what makes the character tick. Plus, we know she’s going for a more comics-inspired look. At this early stage at least, it seems like The Batman‘s Catwoman will be, well, purr-fect.