How Anne Hathaway Overcame Michelle Pfeiffer Fear For Catwoman

Actress tells MTV News she had to 'switch gears immediately' when Christopher Nolan told her she would be playing Selina Kyle.

Earlier this year, “Dark Knight Rises” director Christopher Nolan revealed to Empire that he was hesitant at first to add Selina Kyle, the notorious burglar known as Catwoman, to his realistic take on Batman and Gotham City. The character and the world didn’t seem to fit.

Even Anne Hathaway, the actress who would eventually play Kyle in the final film of Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy, admitted during her sit-down with MTV News’ Josh Horowitz that the character’s presence in a Nolan film surprised her.

“I found out during my sit-down with Chris [Nolan], which was about a two-hour meeting, that at the end of the first hour it was going to be Selina Kyle, Catwoman, which surprised me,” Hathaway said. “I didn’t think that he was going to go there.”

The unexpected reveal during Hathaway’s initial meeting with Nolan did add some complications for the actress, but as her character describes herself in the film, she’s adaptable. “I was just so convinced that it wasn’t going to be [Catwoman], that I kind of had another character in mind that when he told me it was Catwoman, I kind of had to switch gears immediately,” she said. “I was thinking Harley Quinn.”

The main reason for Hathaway’s surprise was how synonymous Catwoman had become with Michelle Pfeiffer’s take on the character from Tim Burton’s “Batman Returns,” but Kyle wouldn’t be the first character reimagined for the Nolan Batman films.

“[Pfeiffer's performance] was so iconic and so beloved,” Hathaway said. “Then I guess, [Jack] Nicholson’s Joker was the exact same way, and [Nolan] didn’t have any fear with that, and obviously, Heath [Ledger] did the most extraordinary job with that. I don’t know why it didn’t occur to me.”

Previously, Nolan told Empire that it took his brother and co-writer Jonathan to persuade him to include Catwoman in their take on the world. ” “Catwoman is a very iconic figure in the Batman pantheon,” Nolan said. “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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