CATWOMAN: HUNTED Interview: Stephanie Beatriz Explores Batwoman's Vulnerable Side And LGBTQ Roots (Exclusive)

Brooklyn Nine-Nine alum Stephanie Beatriz talks about exploring a different side of Batwoman in Catwoman: Hunted, what it means to play an LGBTQ superhero, a possible romance with Selina Kyle, and more.

In the all-new original Catwoman: Hunted, Selina Kyle's attempt to steal a priceless jewel puts her squarely in the crosshairs of both a powerful consortium of villains and the ever-resourceful Interpol, not to mention Batwoman. It might just be enough to contain her. Or not. The latest movie from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment is an absolute riot, and a great start to 2022 for DC Animation.

While many of you will no doubt know Stephanie Beatriz best for her work as Rosa Diaz in Brooklyn Nine-Nine, the actor has since reinvented herself, taking on vastly different roles in musical In The Heights, Disney Animation's Encanto, and even on the West End in London. However, she's suiting up as one of the DC Universe's most beloved characters in Catwoman: Hunted - Batwoman.

In this interview, we discuss Stephanie's recent career choices, find out her take on the huge support she receives from comic book fans hoping to see her cast in superhero roles, and take a deep dive into this specific version of Kate Kane. Breaking down a key scene with Selina Kyle, the actor also reveals what it means to her to play a gay character as someone who is part of the LGBTQ community herself.

This was a fun chat, and we want to extend our gratitude to Stephanie for taking the time to talk to us about her role in this corner of the DC Animated Universe. Find our full conversation below!

Catwoman: Hunted is set for release on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray, Blu-ray and Digital on February 8, 2022.
 

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You've had a lot of support from fans for various superhero roles, including Batwoman, so what was your reaction when the call came through to play a character people have been campaigning for on your behalf?

Oh, I was so excited. So excited. To actually read the script and see what the [character’s] journey was going to be was also really thrilling. This has been amazing from start to finish really. 

You've played your fair share of badass women by now, but as a performer, how does it feel to lose yourself in a tough as nails superhero like this one through the art of voiceover?

Well, you know, that’s where this film is really special. In centering the story around Catwoman as the [main] character, the story lends itself to this world in which the badassery is coming from the women. It’s a thread throughout the whole movie with all the characters, but I don’t know that I think about it too much. Maybe it would have done with a different director or script, but in this, it was just ‘Bring your badass self and dive into what the script has available to you.’ 

As someone who has inspired so many by talking openly about your sexuality, what did it mean to you to be able to play one of the DC Universe's only openly gay superheroes given the importance of Kate Kane to many fans?

I think it’s really amazing. The fact the producers wanted to fill the role with an actor who is LGBTQ was awesome. For me to play it also feels amazing, but the fact we’re even having this discussion alone is amazing in and of itself, right? There was a time not very long ago when actors who are gay or roles that are gay just didn’t get celebrated. They didn’t get made. Here were are talking about them being featured in an animated film. Not only an animated film, but a really famous character that people love and identify with. That’s really big and special. It’s a nice thing to be a part of and feels really special to me. 

I think a lot of fans will be hoping for a Batwoman/Catwoman romance after seeing their dynamic in this film, but what about their relationship did you most enjoy exploring?

[Laughs] I think that’s definitely a part of it. There’s a great push and pull between these two characters that’s been written into the script which I think is really fun and playful. There’s also a sort of tension that can be sexy and can be fun. It can also be collaborative as they recognise each other’s strengths and recognise each other as badasses, to continue to use that word, and they recognise the badass in each other which I think is very cool. There’s a mutual respect, but also at the same time, it’s not often I think that Batwoman gets thrown [Laughs]. I think Selina definitely throws Kate sometimes and I think that that’s a really interesting dynamic to play and I think it would be really interesting to see how it would continue to play out. 

Selina does break through Kate's tough exterior on the plane and, as a result, we get to see more of the woman beneath the mask; in terms of your performance, what was it like to explore that moment of vulnerability and temptation on Kate's part?

Totally. And it was fun, sexy, and interesting as a performer to see what happens when you play in this realm. It’s a very weird, intimate scene, right? I mean, I don’t want to say weird, but it’s weird for the audience to be watching that scenes. Always. In any television show or film because it’s an intimate moment that usually takes place between two people behind closed doors and you, as an audience member, are now invited into that moment of vulnerability and sexiness between these two characters. That’s really fun to play, especially in voiceover because you’re really just doing it all with the sounds you’re making. It’s not my face that’s necessarily going to get animated to this moment, but it is my voice. That’s really fun to explore as a voice actor and actor in general. It’s about seeing what happens when you take these interesting risks or go down these paths your director leads you down that you might not have necessarily explored on your own. That was really fun to do.
 

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There is a Batgirl film coming out with your In The Heights co-star Leslie Grace - 

Oh, yes! Leslie Grace…she’s such an amazing human being. I’m so excited for her!

It is such an amazing role and so great to see a diverse actor for that role which is really refreshing. Would you like to play Batwoman in that world? I know you’ve talked about She-Hulk and there was a big Ghost Rider rumour last year...

I feel like I’m open to anything. For Leslie, for example, the dream of being a Black woman and being asked to play this huge character in the DC Universe. That’s really big. I would always be open to anything that came my way. As an actor, I think that’s part of the thing I want to do most. I want to try on these different characters and slide into these different roles, disappearing into them. I’m lucky that in the course of my career the things I’ve chosen to do and been part of have really allowed me to run the gamut. Brooklyn Nine-Nine with the badass character of Rosa all the way to the voice work I do in Encanto, the latest Disney movie that’s come out. I always want to stay open to anything that comes my way and I’m hopeful that I can continue to play roles that people identify with and can see themselves as, whether they’re the hero of the story or the villain! 

I know it can sometimes be years before you get to see the results of the work you've done on an animated project like this, but how special has it been for you to recently see both this film come to life and that amazing world we visited just a couple of months ago in Encanto?

It’s so exciting and it’s thrilling to wait for a project to come out because you’ve got to see all these special bits. For example, with Catwoman I got to see some of the animation pretty early on. That was so thrilling because it looked really special and like something I don’t think I’ve seen this way. It’s a really interesting mix between what feels like a throwback and animation that’s pushed in new directions with new and different things being tried. When you’re working on something and they’re still animating it or just working on the lighting and all these bits and pieces that have to come together for the project to come out, it feels like you’re part of a special secret. It’s just you and the team who know what you have, it’s great, and you’re excited for people to see it. Then, when it comes out, it just feels like inviting to a fun party where you’ve bought all the best decorations, you know the menu is good, you know the playlist is rocking, and you can’t wait for them to have a good time.

Brooklyn Nine-Nine is, it seems, destined to be remembered as an iconic comedy series, but since the show wrapped, we've seen you in a musical, a Disney movie, and now the DC Universe - is reinventing yourself to some extent a priority moving forward after spending such a long time on that character's shoes?

Oh, thank you. I think so far the roles that I’ve chosen really have reinvented me, question mark, every time I do them [Laughs]. I more look for the things that excite me as an actor. I look at scripts and projects and say, ‘What can I add to this? How can I grow from it?’ Sometimes that growth is fun and joyful and sometimes it’s a little tricky and challenging. Right now, I’m doing a play in London called 2:22 A Ghost Story - for another two weeks - and I was really excited to do that as it’s something I hadn’t done in a really long time. I hadn’t done a play on stage in quite a few years, so to be asked to do a part in the West End was really exciting. It’s very intense, a thriller, a mystery, a drama, and a comedy, all wrapped up in one. So, yeah, I’m always looking for the thing I’ll be most challenged and excited to do.

There's so much fan art out there of you as everyone from Batwoman to Spider-Woman - what does it mean to you to see fans trying to will these roles into existence for you?

I think the people that like my work, and I guess you can call them fans, they are so lovely and generous and wonderful. It’s amazing to me they connect with the stuff that I am creating and I don’t know, I feel so lucky to know them and have them be around to support what I’m doing. I feel really, really lucky and I have the best supporters. To call them fans feels so weird, but I guess I have the best fans in the world [Laughs]. They seem so amazing and incredible and giving and awesome. 

ALSO READ: Star Elizabeth Gillies Talks Romantic Tension With Batwoman And Live-Action Hopes
ALSO READ: Producer Ethan Spaulding Talks Selina Kyle's First Feature And Anime Influence
ALSO READ: Greg Weisman On Showing New Sides Of Selina Kyle And His Love Of DC
ALSO READ: Kelly Hu On Cheshire, Possible China White Return In JUSTICE U, And More
ALSO READ: Zehra Fazal On Her Talia Al Ghul Return And Transforming Into Nosferata
 

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