Saturday, January 22, 2011

I Don't Like It: Oh, Anne Hathaway.

By now, you've heard the news.  On Wednesday, a partial casting for Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight Rises revealed that Anne Hathaway had been cast as Selina Kyle (Catwoman) and Inception's Tom Hardy would be assuming the role of Bane.  Since hearing this, I've been collecting my thoughts.

I'm alright with Hardy.  I'm alright with the story avoiding following the Joker with the Riddler or going in a direction that cold potentially feel too absurd for Nolan's true crime aesthetic (the Penguin, Mr. Freeze).  I suspect Bane is easy enough to transform into a real-life mad man, a cunning strong arm who will make a clever foe for Bale's Bruce Wayne.  I would also imagine that as Hathaway is listed as Selina Kyle, Catwoman may not be making a full-on appearance in the way we know her best.  Love interest?  Sure.  Rival?  Sure.  As for which incarnation we'll see, I couldn't guess.  Will she begin as a jewel thief, a prostitute, a dominatrix, a secretary, a madame, or just a bored socialite?  I'd cross out the first one (too basic for Nolan), and can really see this version running with the sex worker option, but Catwoman is fairly open ended.   All I know is, unless we see her as a sex worker, if this is the last installment in Nolan's trilogy, I'd doubt we'll be seeing Hathaway in any sort of Michelle Pfeiffer latex get-up. 

Well, really, I don't want to see Hathaway in that role at all.  Hathaway is a good enough actress, sure.  She was great in Rachel Getting Married and decent enough at playing opposite Meryl Streep in Devil Wears Prada.  The thing about Hathaway, though, maybe isn't that she can't deliver Selina Kyle, it's that maybe she shouldn't.  Barring the fact that physically there's very little about Hathaway's features that could be described as "cat like"  (it starts with the eyes, one glance at her conjures up a deer or a puppy), which is here nor there, my biggest personal grievance about her casting is that she's "one of those actresses."  What I mean by this, I guess, is that she's one of a handful of young actresses in her age bracket that the production companies seem to force into films they might otherwise not belong in simply because they're popular, cute, and they need a name with some street cred to put on a poster.  From the outside, pushing Anne Hathaway into the film is like pushing Katie Holmes into Batman Begins (at that time) or making space for Scarlett Johansson in Iron Man 2 (she wasn't bad, but was she necessary?), it's....annoying.  Before I say this, I should clarify, this isn't something exclusive to only female actors, there are plenty of men who fall into this category as well.  You know, "those actors."  The Bradley Coopers and James Francos and such.  See, the biggest problem with Anne Hathaway is that she's too Anne Hathaway.  She's become obnoxious for no apparent reason.  At this juncture in her career, the only way you can divorce her from her own public image, from looking at the screen and just seeing Anne Hathaway, is to give her a ludicrous accent and a drug problem.  As Anne Hathaway, part of her persona always feels like she's itching to make a silly comedic mistake, burst into song, or flirt with the camera.  Anne Hathaway is bubbly.  She's always flirting with the camera.  When Anne Hathaway does sexy, she's pushes it towards camp.  When Anne Hathaway does sexy and she's supposed to be on drugs, she looks like she's pleading, like she's at the last stop on her downward spiral.  When Anne Hathaway does sexy action, it's Get Smart and can only be stabilized in short bursts.  All of these, to me, are the exact wrong kind of sexy for this incarnation of Catwoman. 

Christopher Nolan has proved, several times over, that he's not too great with female casting.  Carrie-Anne Moss is perhaps the exception to what appears to be a Nolan general rule involving throwing unassuming, physically slight, mildly awkward (but smart) ladies amongst seasoned method men and old pros.  Selina Kyle is an unbelievably complicated character, and her screen adaptations have been botched several times over.  Catwoman isn't a straight-up villain, but she's not a hero.  She's sometimes a vigilante, sometimes incredibly selfish.  She's obviously got sex appeal, but it's a tough one, a rigid one.  In my opinion, Selina Kyle shouldn't be too pretty.  She should be the type of woman who's thought of as gorgeous in part because she just exudes an untouchable confidence, because she can switch on something in her voice and eyes that belies a power beyond her features.  I've never seen that in Anne Hathaway.  While I believe she'll  likely fare better than Halle Berry based on script alone, I just don't see Catwoman in her.  You can dress her up and she'll wear the clothes well, but at the end of the day "badass" doesn't register in her eyes.  It's in Angelina Jolie's face (though I absolutely think her time for this has come and gone).  It's in Keira Knightley's face.  It's in Helena Bonham Carter's face.  I've seen it in Gemma Arterton or Emily Blunt or, well, my favorite offbeat choice: Tilda Swinton (who would obliterate all past references the way Ledger did).  Most of all, though, I'll repeat: I have no idea why this wasn't thrown in the direction of Eva Green.  Between  In all seriousness, this can't be just me, right?  Who would you cast as Selina Kyle?  Can Anne Hathaway pull it off?

Eva Green in Franklyn:

I'm sure I'll be surprised, but right now I'm just really sick of her omnipresence.  Earlier news mentioned Nolan needing to fill two female roles.  We could go through all of this again in the weeks and months ahead.

This was only supposed to be a short paragraph...

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