An all-new DC Animated Movie is heading our way, putting our favourite feline cat burglar at the centre with Catwoman: Hunted.
Animated in an entrancing anime style and featuring the voice talents of Elizabeth Gillies (Vacation) as Catwoman and Stephanie Beatriz (Encanto) as Batwoman, the film follows Catwoman’s attempt to steal a priceless jewel, which puts her squarely in the crosshairs of both a powerful consortium of villains and the ever-resourceful Interpol, not to mention Batwoman. It might just be enough to contain her. Or not…
With writing credits like Young Justice, Star Wars: Rebels and now Catwoman: Hunted to his name, Greg Weisman sure knows his genre and we spoke to him about what appealed to him about writing a Catwoman movie…
How did you first get involved with Catwoman: Hunted?
I pitched it! I knew that DC and Warner Brothers animation wanted to do another anime-style film. They had success with a Batman anime-style movie before and I knew they wanted to do another one. I thought Catwoman would be a good candidate for that.
I am a big fan of the [Hayao] Miyazaki film, Lupin III: The Castle of Cagliostro. I’m such a big fan that though I’ve seen it many times in the past, I intentionally did not rewatch it before writing this film because I was afraid it would take over my brain because it’s so good! I wanted to be influenced by it but not overwhelmed by it.
I just thought that idea of the cat burglar, the thief, would work really well in anime and I pitched that to the powers that be and they agreed with me, thankfully!
What is it about Catwoman that appealed for you to write a movie about her?
Catwoman is a fascinating character to me. When I’m adapting any character, Catwoman included, my job is to work my way through all that’s come before and try and dive down deep into the essence of the character. Try to figure out what is it that makes this character archetypal, that makes this character unique, and then try to jettison the stuff that doesn’t fit that.
A character like Catwoman’s got years of history, and literally hundreds and hundreds of writers, artists, editors, actors, who have influenced or done stuff with this character. You wind up with a character that’s got inevitably a lot of baggage because you’ve had so many interpretations. A lot of baggage, a lot of detritus that maybe doesn’t fit a classic interpretation of the character. But what I love about Catwoman is on the surface she is all grace and élan. Light and airy. Funny, clever, mad skills, all this great stuff. But a lot of that adds up to a mask that she wears to hide a more serious purpose. That, to me, makes for a fascinating character to write and I felt like I could weave a whole movie around her. So that was a very exciting thing to be able to do.
There are a lot of iterations of Catwoman as a character. What did you want for her to be like in Catwoman: Hunted?
I wanted her to be a cat burglar. I wanted her to be a thief with mad skills. That’s her origin. That’s where she started. That’s essential, but then I wanted to show that deeper purpose underneath, and I wanted to contrast those two elements as much as possible.
I’m influenced by a bunch of different versions of Catwoman. I grew up on the Adam West Batman TV series and Julie Newmar, Eartha Kitt and Lee Meriweather, but I’ve seen a lot of great interpretations since then, including stuff in more recent comics that deepen the character to a huge degree and modernise it.
You’ll see in the movie that she opens the film wearing that classic Catwoman costume with the long hair and the skirt slit up to her hip. For me, that’s a lot of nostalgia, because that’s the Catwoman I grew up with when reading comics in the Seventies and early Eighties. That’s where I first fell in love with the character. But I offer a more modern interpretation. So what we see is that that’s a mask she’s wearing over her mask. She says it herself in the film, she appreciates the classics. But she’s got to stay up to date.
Catwoman: Hunted features villains like Cheshire, Barbara Minerva, Nosferata and Black Mask. What made you decide to include these villains?
I wanted to do cat-themed stuff. That’s why Cheshire’s in there. That’s why Barbara Minerva’s in there. I just felt like, I’m going to do a movie about Catwoman, I want a cat fight. And then I want a big cat fight!
Then when we were teaming her up with Batwoman I thought, I want a bat-villain and I don’t mean one of Batman’s villains. I want a villain who’s literally bat-like. I have these cats-like villains. I want a bat-like villain. So we brought in this incredibly obscure character who I think is a lot of fun, called Nosferata.
Then this is a movie that, to a large extent, is about female empowerment. So I wanted some oppressive shirking men in there. So that gives us Black Mask and others who think that they’re going to be able to hold it all over someone like Selena and they’re wrong. Whether that’s Tobias Whale or Black Mask. It’s just is fun to bring those characters in.
We wanted a lot of strong female characters to be the primary antagonists. So you have Cheshire, you have La Dama, you have Barbara Minerva and Nosferata and others. So it winds up just being about strong women doing their thing. And the men thinking they can control it and they’re wrong!
What do you want audiences to take away from Catwoman: Hunted?
I’m really hoping they have a good time primarily, but that they also see, by the end, that Selina catches them off guard. That they simultaneously feel like ‘yeah, this is the Catwoman I’ve always wanted to see’ and yet, at the same time, they’re thinking ‘I’ve never seen a Catwoman like this’. That the character is both classic and contemporary. Both iconic and fresh.
I’m also hoping that they see that underneath all the fluff and the fun of the movie that there was a seriousness of purpose behind what Selena does. That there’s stuff that matters to her. Obviously I’m biased but I love how it turned out!
Catwoman is set for release on Blu-ray, DVD and Blu-ray Steelbook on 7 February 2022 and on Digital Download on the 8 February 2022.