I must admit, when news first broke that Anne Hathaway had been cast as Catwoman, or rather, "Selina Kyle" as they termed it, I was none too pleased. Hathaway, a self-described "drama nerd", was not to my taste. Like posing on the covers of magazines and accepting starring roles in movies with promise of celebrity is "nerdy"? Come on. Anyways, I filed her away as a sort of faux-modest, "America's sweetheart" kind of girl. Though I secretly had seen "Becoming Jane" 3 or 4 times on basic cable, I maintainedthis judgement yet didn't quite hold it against her until it was revealed she would be next to fill Selina's boots. That's when I began to object to her more fully. I criticized her brown blonde hair as a symptom of actress-like neuroses, wanting to be a blond and brunette simultaneously to maintain a certain "safe" neutrality. Sophisticated enough to be brunette but fun-loving enough to have blonde highlights. Barf.
I know, right? Aren't I just so incredibly pleasant? Yeesh. I must say most of the celebrities I don't like usually have more to substantiate my feelings about them but for a time sweet, inoffensive Anne Hathaway playing my childhood...and, well, adolescence and adulthood idol were all too much. I let it stew for a while and began to think about it here and there a bit more, though I discouraged people from seeing "Love and Other Drugs" as it seemed insufferably puppy-like with both Anne Hathaway AND Jake Gyllenhaal in the lead, I sort of shut the casting right out of my mind.
It wasn't until, by very odd means, I came to think of things differently. After her Oscar performance, Howard Stern commented on her "desperation" on his show, he said that if you just look at her dating record and her history with men, it's obvious she's in dire need of approval. As usual, he was pretty biting but Howard Stern's assessment of her sort of clobbered my impression of her as being a simple ingenue and that possibly she may be a bit more eccentric and interesting. For whatever reason, it compelled me to look at her bio on Wikipedia which detailed the fallout between herself and her real estate developer Raefello Follieri. I began to think that perhaps I'd dismissed her a little bit too quickly as surely she is a person as well, 3 dimensional with pathos, flaws, and all. But it wasn't enough, it wasn't enough until I started to watch more interviews with her and I found over time that in the less-publicized ones she was almost awkward, sincerely nerdy, a bit nutzo and "off" in a compelling way when she was unguarded. Strangely, the things about her mannerisms and her neurotic nature all became somewhat endearing.
The more I see of her in movies, the more I notice about the way she preforms versus how she presents herself publicly has made me believe she may very well be able to pull Catwoman off in a way that's never been done before. Furthermore, I heard she was so involved in an action scene she accidentally pegged a stunt man in the eye with the
butt of a gun, that she kept tearing her costume because she was extending herself so much during fight sequences. Then, in what was probably the eve of the big reveal I saw her on the set of Batman dressed in some bizarre galaxy-themed t-shirt with distressed jean shorts, and a purse with excessive, almost obnoxious fringe...she looked reee-dic-ulous. Yet, within hours she ascended from the makeup chair looking impeccable with bright red lipstick, cat-eyed eyeliner, a black wife beater, black shorts, and a seemingly spontaneous grace. How she could look so ridiculous one moment and then so poised the next was just as mystifying as it was fascinating, she not only looked like a different woman, she appeared to act like one.
I saw two of her movies "Rachel Getting Married" and "The Devil Wears Prada" and suddenly I saw a remarkable talent I'd previously dismissed. She has a tremendous face that, when not fixed to a photogenic smile for the paps, is versatile and full of such liveliness. The subtlest expression is tenfold in effect with a beauty that couldbe all too intimidating were it not so versatile in it's playfulness and disarming vulnerability. Her physicality on screen is so much cooler and polished than I would've anticipated and nothing appears as rehearsed as I would've expected. And now here I am, someone who was a major critic, who is normally quite opinionated and quite decisive about how they feel actually feeling as though I'd been won over completely.
So, in the wake of this new Catwoman reveal I encourage fans to think more kindly of Anne Hathaway in spite of whatever the costume may look like. I've noticed a lot of the uproar compares her to Julie Newmar or Michelle Pfieiffer, claiming her to be too innocent-seeming or not nearly sexy enough to fulfill the role and where I would've once agreed, I'm more enchanted by her talent than ever before. I'm more sure that if anyone is to fall short on this it won't be Anne Hathaway. I almost feel as though she's lost her mind for this role and nestled comfortably into the complexities of the character in a way that could very well be both scene-stealing and image-changing for her. I understand the judgements and I understand the confusion with regards to the costume but I have a feeling these simple shots are only quick frames of what could be not only an extraordinary movie but a fantastic performance and portrayal of a beloved character.
ANNE HATHAWAY FTW!