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Why everyone hates Anne Hathaway as Catwoman

It seems that everyone likes to hate on Anne Hathaway as Catwoman ... but why?

Now I know what you’re thinking: “I don’t particularly care about the casting choice of Anne Hathaway in the upcoming The Dark Knight Rises movie.”

Or maybe you’re thinking: “I don’t hate that Christopher Nolan picked Anne Hathaway to play Catwoman.”

That’s enough, stop lying to me! You sound like me a few weeks ago with all that pretending not to care. You care and you also hate the idea of Anne Hathaway as Catwoman.

Artist’s Depiction of How You Think It’ll Be

Some people have been able to clearly explain why they don’t like the choice of Hathaway, and others are disappointed but can’t quite describe the reason. Among the verbal angry, are these reasons:

1) Acting

I’ve heard everything from “she’s a bad actress” to “she’s doesn’t have the acting range needed for the part”. Never mind that Anne had near universal acclaim for her part in Rachel Getting Married (including an Academy Award nomination) or had also received a not nearly as coveted Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Award. She has been accused of hammy acting and an over-reliance on klutzy physical comedy. But perhaps that’s due to the memory of her comedic roles being stronger than her dramatic ones — they were certainly far more popular.


But even among those who believe Anne Hathaway may be a good actress, they still don’t think she is the right fit for Catwoman. There is a desire for the role to be gritty, raw, dark, and totally confident in her abilities to kick ass. A very common feeling about Anne is that she is too “cute” or “bubbly” to pull off the depiction so craved by fans of the franchise. This is an example of Tonal Misplacement, a term I have basically invented.

A Princess of the Night

It just seems odd to consider Anne Hathaway, an actress mostly known for over-the-top roles in “chick flicks” to be in the shadowy if quasi-realistic world of Nolan’s Gotham.

Possible Solution: Consider her work in the bizarre movie Havoc, where she plays a dark and twisted person in many ways. But it’s not such a great movie, so … watch Rachel Getting Married instead.
2) Appearance

Quotes of relevance: “She looks odd!” and “She’s not hot enough to play Catwoman.” People like to nitpick the minor flaws of the preternaturally attractive, of course, and this is especially true for celebrity targets. Of course, people have their own opinions on what makes someone attractive, and all the People’s Most Beautiful People inclusions won’t make a difference if you think she looks weird. Another common complaint: “This is Maggie Gyllenhaal all over again!” — this is a reference to the common opinion that Maggie Gyllenhaal replacing Katie Holmes for the character of Rachel Dawes was a mistake, because even though Gyllenhaal is a better actress, she wasn’t “as hot.

There is this belief that Catwoman must be someone so attractive it is ridiculous to even comprehend. But compare the women who have played the character:

And then to how she is portrayed in other media where an actual human is not needed:

But then again, some people think Anne’s attractive enough on a superficial level but have a different issue altogether.

Possible Solution: Accept that no mortal woman could ever fully realize the artificial and wholly impossible character you’ve built up in your head.

3) Physical Disparity

In particular, this refers to the sort of slinky, catlike expectations of Catwoman’s physical presence. Anne Hathaway has a classy, prim presence that is at odds with the idea of someone sneaking across roofs or clawing a foe in the face. Perhaps someone with a dancing or martial arts background might be better. Unfortunately, you can’t change the underlying “feeling” of someone, although …

Possible Solution: Consider how effective training can be for actors to learn almost anything physical. Case in point: The Matrix

4) Comparison to the Past

Invariably, nostalgia rears its ugly head and people will say “<x> was already the perfect Catwoman.” This is most common with Michelle Pfieffer’s portrayal in Tim Burton’s Batman Returns, with her iconic and ridiculous black latex costume. First of all, the costume looks silly and Tim Burton-y like everything in that movie, and it doesn’t actually look that flattering. It’s also not skintight, so perverts, stop complaining about that aspect. Also, she plays a pretty ridiculous character, although I’m not complaining about that — I am one of the very few that liked Batman Returns in general, but even I acknowledge that the movie is nuts.

She’s not as hot as <x>” — I have heard this comment in reference to literally all other actresses that have played Catwoman. For this one, see Reason 2 above.

Possible Solution: Take off your Nostalgia Blinders and think about whether or not Anne Hathaway is good for this movie’s Catwoman. Really, otherwise it’s a pretty silly reason.

5) Why Catwoman At All?

This is a bit of a different reasoning than the rest; instead of complaining about Anne Hathaway’s deficiencies in some way, people will say that Catwoman isn’t a good character for the Dark Knight Rises movie at all. But why? It could be more Tonal Misplacement, a character that seems too fantastical to fit in Nolan’s Gotham. Or perhaps you don’t like Catwoman as a character, ruined by Halle Barry’s terrible movie Catwoman. You may even be worried that the film will succumb to “Far Too Many Villains Syndrome” like Spiderman 3. All fair points. But the truth is, all people really care about is whether the character will make sense in the story and be enjoyable to watch. So …

Possible Solution: Hope for the best, and be prepared for the worst.

These all are all legitimate reasons, in a certain way, because they all involve some subjective opinion that can’t really be argued with other than “I disagree.” But then there are the other reasons:

The Stupid Reasons:

  1. “The ears look stupid”This sort of comment is meaningless until we’ve seen the actual movie — a photo without context is utterly pointless to make any judgments.
  2. “I don’t know why, she’s just … I don’t know”If there is no reason you can adequately put forth for your opinion, maybe you shouldn’t voice that opinion at all. Or perhaps you’re just prejudiced against Anne Hathaway.
  3. “I’d prefer … <x>”Perhaps someone else could have been a better choice, but it’s too late now for that — at least for this trilogy. It’s more constructive to decide what you think of Anne’s portrayal this time around after you’ve seen the movie than arbitrarily decide who could have been a better choice. I’ve seen quite a lot of “alternatives,” such as:
    Yeah, so… wait, is that Tilda Swinton? Um, okay…
  4. “I don’t like you”Well, there’s no need for you to be so insulting!

In conclusion, does it really matter? Should we really “trust Nolan?” That’s a big question, so perhaps that should wait for another time.



Photo Credit: PR Photos, DC Comics, Walt Disney Pictures, 20th Century Fox, Warner Bros, Midway, PR Photos

Categories: Features, General, News

14 Responses to “Why everyone hates Anne Hathaway as Catwoman”

January 11, 2012 at 12:35 PM

I actually like Hathaway a lot in the few movies I’ve seen her in. I think she’s a great actress. But I wasn’t pleased with her being cast as Catwoman. The short glimpse of her in the Dark Knight Rises trailer did not make me feel any better about it.

My primary reason is that she looks and acts too young to play opposite Christian Bale. No matter how many movies she has done since The Princess Diaries, she still looks/sounds like a teenager. In The Devil Wears Prada, I really had to suspend disbelief to accept her as a college graduate. I think of Catwoman as being a mature woman, and Anne comes across as a teenager.

Just looking at the photos you included at the end of your post, I think Olivia Wilde (whom I don’t particularly like) is an example of someone who looks young but at the same time has a worldliness and maturity about her that would suit Catwoman, I think.

All of that being said, I am more than willing to trust Nolan’s judgment for now and hope that his unexpected casting choice turns out to be a stroke of genius instead of a mistake. We’ll have to wait and see.

January 11, 2012 at 10:26 PM

The immaturity angle is another good one – the age disparity. I suppose Hollywood is used to pairing older guys with young girls already.

January 11, 2012 at 1:02 PM

I had no idea there was so much Anne Hathaway hate. I like her. I guess, just like with my concern with Taylor Swift being cast in Les Miserables, we’ll have to wait and see if Nolan can get the performance he wants from her. Coincidentally, Hathaway is also in Les Mis!

January 11, 2012 at 1:18 PM

1) I thought it was good casting. Most people complaining about Hathaway’s acting couldn’t possible have seen Rachel Getting Married (which is one of my favorite flicks).

2) The Swinton can rock any role – including Catwoman. Heck, if she were cast as Batman I wouldn’t blink an eye. She is, afterall, The Swinton.

January 11, 2012 at 3:01 PM

I think Swinton would be awesome as Catwoman!

January 11, 2012 at 1:55 PM

Yeah, count me in in the “Anne Hathaway fan” camp.

With performances in movies like Havoc, Rachel Getting Married, and even Love and Other Drugs under her belt, I’ve got no problem with her taking on the role here.

January 11, 2012 at 5:06 PM

Everyone hates her? Really? Ok, of you sat so. It might be true

January 11, 2012 at 5:13 PM

. . . . .

<—— heard Tilda Swinton


January 11, 2012 at 5:34 PM

The truth be known why so many dislike Anne as Catwoman. It’s not her looking good enough, sexy enough or any of that it’s that she is just to girl next door. Catwoman is suppose to be evil, not that girl next door that you’ve had a secret crush on.

January 11, 2012 at 6:28 PM

I love anne hathaway! she is a great actress and can do any character not just being casted as Princess, why dont you all shut up and lets just see the movie before we judge her! I KNOW FOR SURE SHE WILL BE THE BEST CATWOMAN EVER!!!

January 13, 2012 at 1:36 AM

Huh? I LOVE the choice, lots of people do. Looked great in the trailer and pictures. And we needed the real Catwoman back on film after 20 years. 2004 had nothing to do with Gotham or anything, wasn’t even named Selina.

January 14, 2012 at 7:00 AM

I’m very excited to see Anne Hathaway as Catwoman! I was honestly surprised that she was cast, but I do think they made a great choice and I trust she’ll do a great job! =)

January 14, 2012 at 9:30 AM

Just curious.. Was Megan Fox not considered for this role? I think she’ll be able to play the character of catwoman 10 times better than anne hathway. Megan Fox is this gorgeous dark hair celebrity,absolutely great body and she has this slight confident smiling grin of f@* you which I think will be perfect for the chracter of catwoman…

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