Thursday 20 January 2011

Batwatch | Casting Catwoman

Off the starboard bow, the first legitimate casting news for the next and last Batman movie on Christopher Nolan's slate has broken, and like Bruce Wayne - the bloody lunatic - I'm in two minds. What we know thus far, in concrete terms, amounts to these three things.

Presumably to capitalise on the box office inherent in having The Dark Knight in your title, Batman 3 will henceforth be known as The Dark Knight Rises, and not, as I'd have liked - being a sucker for symmetry and all - Batman Ends.

As of the latest reports, Anne Hathaway is set to play Selina Kyle. For those of you who haven't read a decade's worth of dodgy Batman comic books to tide you over through the dark days between Tim Burton's take on the Caped Crusader and Christopher Nolan's time bearing the mantle, Selina Kyle's alter ego is Catwoman. Rrrrr. And now Katie Holmes/Maggie Gylenhaal's character - whose name I think it says a great deal I can't for the life of me remember - is out of the picture, courtesy of Harvey Dent (thank you very much), it's likely Selina Kyle will also act as a new love interest for our gruff-voiced vigilante.

The other little titbit to have come out this past week is that Tom Hardy, who the world raved about stealing scenes in Nolan's somewhat underwhelming last effort Inception, will be playing Bane. Bane being the brute who broke Batman's back in the Knightfall event, leading to months - nay, years - of a foppish half-wit running around pretending to be Batman while Bruce Wayne recovered from his injuries.

Knightfall seemed to me the obvious place to take the film continuity, having been blown away by The Dark Knight in theatres a couple of years ago, and having - as aforementioned - a mind intent of describing circles in everything, but I'm much less certain it's the right thing for this story, and frankly I'm a touch taken aback to see Nolan going down such an unsurprising path.

Of course there's no guarantee that is what Nolan's doing. Two bits of early casting news are hardly the ingredients entire for such a conclusion. The one director to rule them all probably has something much more worthwhile up his sleeve, and I can do patience. I can.

(Can too!)

However. Tom Hardy and Anne Hathaway? I didn't even notice Tom Hardy in Inception, and sure, he's a bit buff, but short a metric tonne of prosthetic muscles, he hardly seems the type to be playing a villain the sheer steroid-ridden strength of whom is enough to overcome all Batman's wiles. And Anne Hathaway, the Ice Queen from last year's Alice in Wonderland? That Anne Hathaway?

Not exactly an actress known for her edge, if you know what I mean. Easy on the eye, I duly agree - though I'd love to see a properly bedraggled, crazy-cat-lady take on Catwoman now that you mention it - but she's no Michelle Pfeiffer, is she?

I wasn't so exhilarated by Inception last Summer as many were, but I have a lot of faith in Christopher Nolan: however much trouble he might have embellishing warmth, connection and emotion on his ideas, his ideas alone have always been worth the price of entry. Recall the folding city of Inception; the backwards-forwards narrative of Memento; the tricks and traps of The Prestige; and the horrifying bent on Scarecrow and the Joker he's given us in his incredible Batman movies.

So I trust the man to make a hell of a film. I just don't know that this - this thing I can't help but imagine now - is it.

Then again, what do I know? For the Batwatch has only just begun...


  1. Considering Nolan's slightly more considered and grounded take on the comic book world I don't see why prosthetic muscle should come into it. Bane was in no way just a huge brute. It could be interesting to pare down the steroid look and focus more on the way Bane used his intellect to break Batman mentally before he broke him literally.

    When it comes to Anne Hathaway then I'm just going to have to trust Nolan's judgement. Which he has earned.


  2. In which case we're pretty much on the same page. No doubt Nolan has some neat twist on Bane in his box of tricks, and I'll be fascinated to hear and finally see what it is... though I'm less sure about Anne Hathaway.

    Nolan's earned our admiration and our patience in many respects, agreed, but I'd argue his casting of women - short Carrie Anne Moss in Memento - has rarely been his strongest suit: see Katie Holmes in Batman Begins, Maggie Gylenhaal in The Dark Knight and even Juno in Inception (though she did alright). Given all of which, I rather fear the unwelcome whimsy Anne Hathaway stands to bring to The Dark Knight Rises.

    Is all.

    But more Batman. Can't be a bad thing! :)

  3. I haven't seen enough of Anne Hathaway's films to judge her range and whether or not she can pull this off. I agree with you entirely on Nolan's use of female characters, they are always given very little to do. Even though Ellen Page's character was more involved in Inception, because it was Cobb's story everyone else got pushed to the edges.

    I'm going to be optimistic though. Maybe this is a conscious decision by Nolan to change things and give a female character equal attention. Maybe Hathaway recognised an opportunity to change the path of her career and avoid turning into just another Jennifer Aniston or something. Think of someone like Jim Carrey, who broke out of his comic actor comfort zone and turned out some strong dramatic roles. You just never know.

    Anyway, it's still so early. I'll wait for a trailer before I start whooping or crying!

    (yay more Batman!)


  4. You're only going to upset me, Richard, reminding me of Jim Carrey's serious year. Oh how I adored The Truman Show! Makes me a sad Scotsman, thinking how he turned back to gurning for a living.

    Though there is I Love You, Philip Morris to come. At some point. Perhaps. That is if we're very, very good movie-goers and we eat all our sprouts and swear not to cuss.

    Same with Robin Williams, now I'm thinking about it. Whatever happened with him and his revival?

  5. Don't go forgetting Eternal Sunshine, which I thought was his best performance. Unless you didn't mention it because you don't like it. That would make you a crazy person.

    No idea why Robin Williams went back to making less challenging stuff. I can only think they're both so typecast, serious roles never get sent their way. Or they're both filthy rich and really couldn't give a crap.


  6. I enjoyed Inception. I didn't think it was the masterpiece everyone wants it to be. That being said, though, I rather enjoyed Batman Begins a bit more than I did The Dark Knight.

    I love Tom Hardy, so I am on board with this decision. He was great in Inception, one of the best things actually, and I am surprised you found his role so unnoticeable.

    I have no feelings for Anne Hathaway, which should say everything. In case it doesn't; I don't really care for her in this role.

    Out of curiosity, did you enjoy the Tim Burton Batman films (just the two he directed, I mean)? The reason I ask, is because it seems to be rather popular on the 'nets amongst genre fans to bash those films these days. I'm not sure if that's the younger folk looking back and seeing them as hokey or what, but I remember them being very popular back in the day. I'd go so far as to say that before Batman (Burton's film) comic book movies weren't taken seriously at all, or given near the budgets they are now.

    Thanks for the fodder.

    The Sound and Fury of Kristopher A. Denby