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Santa, All I Want for Christmas is… Wait, does Barbie come with a latex catsuit?

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Goggles aside, Catwoman fans and Cat-Tales fans in particular have three very good reasons to be excited about Anne Hathaway playing Selina Kyle in The Dark Knight Rises.  We can’t know what’s in the script, naturally, but there were two recent episodes that lead me to believe that, as far as the actress is concerned, this is a Catwoman we can get behind.

Most of us made the acquaintance of the beautiful 28-year-old actress waaay back in 2001 when she starred opposite Julie Andrews in The Princess Diaries.  At the time, Anne told Access Hollywood, “a lot of questions that I used to get asked were, ‘So, every girl when she grows up wants to be a princess, did you want to be a princess when you grew you?’ And I so wish I’d said what I felt back then, because the truth was, ‘No, I wanted to be Catwoman!’ And now I am… That dream came true, for sure.”

That’s it.  Game.  Set.  Match.

She wanted to be Catwoman.  The way some little girls dream of fairy tale castles, handsome princes, white weddings and My Little Pony (not necessarily in that order), some of us dreamed of being Catwoman.  When modern comics have gone off the rails, it’s because they forgot that core truth: we want to be these characters.  Look, up in the sky, it’s Superman!  You’re a kid, you’re small, you’re weak.  Imagine being able to fly!  Imagine being strong enough to pick up a train and hurl it like a javelin!  We grow up wanting to be these characters. 

Ms. Hathaway has clearly not forgotten.  “That dream came true, for sure.”  So far, so good.

Now obviously there is only so much an actress can do if the material misses the mark.  Back when Tim Burton was making Batman Returns, Sean Young was clearly in touch with her childhood dream to be Catwoman.  Her stunts to get Burton’s attention got her a ‘crazy actress’ label and no role, but there is perhaps a better insight into the desire we girls have to become that powerful and sexy feline fatale than there is in what actually hit the screen.  Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed Burton’s movies at the time, but his Gotham is, by his own admission “a freak show” and his Batman and Catwoman are the very much product of that era’s comics: damaged freaks that no sane person would want to be.  His Catwoman’s power, like so much what comes out of the comics origins, is not a natural part of the woman animal.  Selina isn’t simply beautiful and sexy and smart and strong because she is born that way.  As if beautiful, witty and savvy women don’t occur in nature, her amazing power to make the Dark Knight… rise must be explained with an origin.  It is, invariably, a reaction against oppression, exploitation, or abuse. 

We’re getting back to Anne in a minute, I promise.

How exactly does a smart, sexy, witty and talented woman react when she’s been misrepresented in the press?  When she is not a damaged psycho that can only snarl and hiss, when she has a sense of humor and a playful instinct for mischief?  In Cat-Tales, Selina uses her celebrity as Catwoman to mount an off-Broadway show and uses that spotlight to call out the tabloids about the lies they tell about Batman, about Catwoman, and what really goes on in Gotham after dark.

It’s not exactly the same, but Anne Hathaway recently appeared on Conan and vented her frustrations with the paparazzi – seriously – in a rap in the style of Lil’ Wayne.

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