SPOILERS: Anne Hathaway Learned To Breathe Like Catwoman
When The Dark Knight Rises finally hits theaters in July, fans will have parsed out so many details from trailers, clips, posters and interviews that it's a wonder anything will be left to surprise. But if the buzz surrounding the latest trailer is any indication, one thing's for sure: all eyes will be scrutinizing Anne Hathaway's portrayal of Catwoman. Can she play the iconic role to the satisfaction of moviegoers?
To hear Hathaway tell it, she's certainly given it her all. The actress, who recently honored her idol and pal Meryl Streep with some impressive splits, says she did a Streepian nose dive into the role with the requisite homework. Her subject of study? Classic silver screen beauty Hedy Lamarr, upon whom the original Batman comic books based the first Catwoman character.
Just as Streep had to rethink her breathing patterns to match Margaret Thatcher's oratorical cadence in The Iron Lady, Hathaway said she had to learn how to pace her inhales and long exhales to sound like Lamarr. "I know this sounds odd, but her breathing is extraordinary," Hathaway told The Los Angeles Times. "She takes these long, deep, languid breaths and exhales slowly. There's a shot of her in (the 1933 film) Ecstasy exhaling a cigarette and I took probably five breaths during her one exhale. So I started working on my breathing a lot."
But what, fans wonder, about the costume? When the first pics of Hathaway in her catsuit were revealed, many worried that the famous feline character had been stripped of her essential playfulness and sex appeal in favor of a bland, utilitarian version. Hathaway, at the time, tried to assuage concerns. “I love the costume,” she said. “I love the costume because everything has a purpose, nothing is in place for fantasy’s sake, and that’s the case with everything in Christopher Nolan’s Gotham City.”
That sounds like a far cry from what Catwoman afficionados are used to. Julie Newmar's, Eartha Kitt's and Michelle Pfeifer's Catwomen — as well as Halle Berry's much-maligned iteration — all combined, in varying proportions, campy playfulness with sultry sex appeal. But Hathaway is sticking to her guns, claiming that while she's done her research, history was meant to be revised — not repeated. “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.”
We hear you, Anne. And don't worry — no matter what you come up with, we'll be watching.
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