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The Cat's Meow
Sleek, mysterious, dangerous and sexy, Catwoman has never had any trouble captivating fans…or making enemies. A sometime defender of the underdog, she isn't above breaking the law to achieve her own ends. Free to walk in both the dark and the light, she is superhero and arch-villain all rolled into one, and in Warner Bros. Pictures' Catwoman, she finally has a chance to flex her claws on the big screen in her first starring role.

"Catwoman epitomizes fantasy,” says actress Halle Berry, who plays the feral antihero. "She's who every woman wants to be and every man would like to be with. In many ways cats embody the true psyche of women – cats are very elusive, and you have to work to gain their trust and their respect. It's not something that's given very freely. I've heard it said that dogs have masters, but cats have servants. And it's true!” 

Since she made her comic book debut as ‘The Cat' in DC Comics' Batman #1 in 1940, the character of Catwoman has undergone many incarnations on her journey to becoming the slinky archetype she is today. "Because of her mythological nature, there is an inherent freedom for interpretation with this character,” comments producer Ed McDonnell. "Our film remains true to the essence of Catwoman while bringing her into a contemporary time.”

Catwoman puts a new twist on the legend, introducing the character of Patience Philips, a woman who is in desperate need of some power – not to mention a little bit of fun. She finds both when she is mysteriously transformed into the dangerous and decadent Catwoman. "I wanted to tell a true origin story of this character,” explains producer Denise Di Novi, "to show how one woman became Catwoman and what it means to connect to that feline power.” 

"This is a Catwoman for the 21st century,” says Berry. "She's very modern and very reflective of our collective culture as we know it today. Our Catwoman is theoretically one of many who have gone before her and who will come after her – Patience and I are just the next lucky girls to have been chosen.”

In the wake of her inexplicable metamorphosis, Patience is shocked to find herself suddenly exhibiting a host of very unexpected new personality traits. Where Patience was meek and modest, Catwoman is bold and flirtatious; while Patience was painfully unsure of herself, Catwoman exudes confidence and strength. Casting a character who undergoes such a rapid and extreme evolution presented a challenge to the filmmakers, who turned to the only actress they believed could handle the rigors of the role: Academy Award winner Halle Berry.

"What's so unique about Halle is that not only is she sympathetic and likeable, she's also sexy and strong,” explains Di Novi. "She was able to seamlessly and convincingly play what are essentially three roles: Patience before her transformation, who is very vulnerable and timid; Patience in transition, when she is struggling with Catwoman's emergence; and finally after she becomes a full-blown Catwoman.” 

According to Berry, at the time that Di Novi approached her for the role, Catwoman was just what the doctor ordered. "What I've found is that projects always come my way that serve me best in real life,” muses the actress. "I needed to be Catwoman. I needed to take control of my life, and putting on that suit made it a whole lot easier. I felt empowered and strong and sexy – connected with myself as a woman.”

Unlike Patience, Catwoman not only understands her newfound dominance and sensuality – she relishes it. "I wouldn't exactly call her a role model,” cautions Berry with a laugh, "because she does do some naughty things. She's nice and naughty and naughty and nice. I would, however, say that what Patience learns holds a lot of value for any woman who is discovering her own needs and desires.” 

The actress is also appreciative of the somewhat less introspective aspects

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