Christopher Nolan Was ‘Nervous’ About Including Catwoman In ‘Dark Knight Rises’

Director tells Empire magazine that his brother Jonathan convinced him 'there would be a great way to do it.'

Christopher Nolan‘s first two Batman films firmly established the tone and terms of his version of Gotham City. The character would feel more real. Bruce Wayne’s gadgets would have basis in actual military technology. Overall, Nolan’s Caped Crusader would feel truer to today’s world, allowing for parallels to exist more organically.

So it almost seemed out of character when Nolan announced Catwoman and Bane as the two newest additions to the universe in “The Dark Knight Rises.” A cat-themed burglar and a luchador-mask-wearing, Venom-dependent super-genius doesn’t naturally fall under the categories of “realistic” and “organic.”

In the latest issue of Empire Magazine, Nolan opens up about his decision to include Catwoman in his take on the Batman mythos; not surprisingly, it took some convincing on the part of his brother Jonathan.

The brothers Nolan collaborated on the screenplays for “The Dark Knight Rises” and “The Dark Knight” with David S. Goyer, and when it came time to decide whether Selina Kyle would make an appearance in the series before it came to a close, Jonathan strongly supported the notion, eventually convincing his older brother of the same.

Why did Jonathan Nolan feel so strongly about including Catwoman? He tells Empire that for their vision of Batman to be complete, they simply couldn’t leave her out. “What we’re endeavoring to do here is tell a complete take on the Batman mythos. And a complete take of the Batman mythos without the character for me was sacrilegious,”
Nolan said. “You’ve gotta have her, because she has a delicious greyness to her that helps define who Batman is. She keeps wavering on this line of, ‘Is she a good guy or a bad guy?’ Well, she’s kind of neither. And that’s why, to me, that relationship and that character only enhances the universe — and the Batman character.”

But fitting her into the world provides a challenge unto itself. Part of that transformation manifests itself simply in the character’s name. According to the article, Selina Kyle is never once referred to as Catwoman in the script. Most of the translation, however, comes with the basic conception of the character.

“Catwoman is a very iconic figure in the Batman pantheon,” Christopher Nolan conceded. “I was nervous about how she would fit into our world.
But [Jonathan] was very much convinced that there would be a great way to do it and eventually turned me around. Once I got my head around the idea of looking at that character through the prism of our films, saying, ‘Who could that person be in real life?’ we figured it out.
She’s a bit of a con-woman, something of a grifter. A hard-edged kind of criminal.”

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