In honor of African-American History Month, DC Comics News presents the characters, artists, writers and actors of color that helped to shape the DC Universe. Today Staff Writer Kevin Gunn takes us back in time to look at the 2004 film, Catwoman.
One of the worst movies ever made, or one of life’s guilty pleasures? Whatever side of the fence you’re on, you can’t deny that Halle Berry at least had a great costume in the 2004 film Catwoman, which is probably part of the reason why some consider it a guilty pleasure (myself included).
To study the history of this “cinematic masterpiece,” you have to first go to June 19, 1992. That’s when Tim Burton’s Batman Returns premiered. A sequel to Burton’s 1989 Batman, the film again starred Michael Keaton. But this time, The Dark Knight would take on not one, but two foes: The Penguin and Catwoman, played by Danny DeVito and Michelle Pfeiffer respectively. Some critiques were harsh on the movie, but praised Pfeiffer’s portrayal of the felonious feline. Pfeiffer’s Catwoman was so great, that Burton was set to make a spinoff movie. Unfortunately, the film landed in developmental hell.
And the production would stay there until 2003. Pitof, a French visual effects supervisor, made his first directorial debut just two years earlier. He would be chosen to direct the new Catwoman vehicle. But Pfeiffer had moved on, and other actresses were in contention for the part.
Eventually, actress Halle Berry would be chosen as Catwoman. Not since Eartha Kitt would an African-American female play the role. But this Catwoman was not Selina Kyle, it was a new character named Patience Phillips. She would share similar attributes to Pfeiffer’s Catwoman: A meek subservient, who stumbles upon a sinister plot lead by her superior; she gains superhuman cat-like powers…yadda, yadda, yadda. That’s about as far as the resemblances go.
Even with Berry as the star, some say this film was made for cat litter. Yet, if you have a Saturday afternoon (and some brain cells) to waste, grab a bowl of cat chow—eh—popcorn, and settle in for this cult classic.