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.
Last week, we had the chance to sit down with lead star Elizabeth Gillies to discuss her role as Catwoman. The first animated feature to put the iconic DC Comics character front and centre, it breaks bold new ground with Selina and the Dynasty star does a great job of bringing the femme fatale to life.
In this interview, Gillies talks to us about exploring the romantic tension between Catwoman and Batwoman, the work that went into finding the right voice for Selina, joining the DC Universe, and what it was like to step into the recording booth for this action-packed adventure. The singer and actress also shares her interest in playing a live-action Catwoman, and, yes, she really does have the costume!
There's still a little while to go before Catwoman: Hunted arrives, and we should have more from the rest of the movie's cast soon. For now, check out what Gillies had to tell us about the project below!
Catwoman: Hunted is set for release on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray, Blu-ray and Digital on February 8, 2022.
How familiar were you with Catwoman before joining this movie and what was it about this particular iteration of Selina Kyle that really excited you as a performer?
I definitely knew that I was very attracted to Catwoman. I was a fan of her story and fell in love with Michelle Pfeiffer’s version early on in my childhood. It must have been on TV one day, but I was drawn to it and thought, ‘This looks so fun. I want to do this one day.’ So, I was very excited when they asked me to do this movie, but what really drew me to it was how different and interesting the script and this take on Selina Kyle was. I loved her expanded and more in-depth relationship with Batwoman and how we get to see a different side of that and how the DC Universe decided to really go there. I thought that was really fun with her sexuality. Also, the fact it was a female-driven movie; there are so many badass women in this movie and that really made me want to be part of it. I just wanted to be part of the DC Universe, of course, as well.
For me, as a fan, it was very refreshing to see Catwoman take the lead and not be a supporting character to Batman - what excited you most about exploring a version of Selina without Bruce Wayne somewhere in the background in a movie that brings her to the forefront?
This is Catwoman’s first animated feature on her own, so it’s so exciting that she gets to be in the forefront, in charge, kicking ass by herself, and not anybody’s sidekick or standing second to anybody. That was very attractive to me and I think it’s so well-deserved after 80 years [Laughs]. It’s such a fun movie and she is just such an electric, fascinating, and magnetic character. She’s so confident and strong and smart and quick. You can have endless fun with her and I did. I loved how it was written, I loved how she was front and centre and she’s the lead and taking charge. I couldn’t have asked for a better story of hers to be told.
Tonally and visually, this is a very different sort of movie for the DC Animated Universe but it works really well for this particular story. Did you find that affected how you approached the character?
Yeah, I didn’t know how stylised it was until I saw it way later. I got to see a peek at the animation at my second or third recording session, so once I realised it was anime-influenced, I thought it was so interesting and it was not what I expected. That was really cool to find out. Ultimately, when I saw the final product, I thought the choice of direction for the score was so cool and different, and it felt so noir, that I was happy with what I did. I tend to have a retro or throwback or even old Hollywood feel to my speech and how I portray certain characters, and I influenced her with that. There’s a little Mae West in there. To see it all come together with these elements I had been waiting to see like the score and the way the animation style turned out was very cool. I thought it was very unique and I was excited to see it.
I think ‘cool’ is the perfect word for this film, but talking of Selina’s voice, what was the process of finding the right sound for her based on the script and knowing this film was so different tonally?
The Catwoman I’m most familiar with who I drew my inspiration from is Michelle Pfeiffer. I used her as a jumping-off point and then I wanted to find my own way around it and wanted to put my own stamp on it. Once I found that and got in the booth, the director pushed me even further into the breathiness and sexuality and to the confident nature of her speech. It was about making the soft tones really soft and the loud, brassy raspy parts extra raspy. It was fun to play such an iconic and big character, but then she has small moments as well when she’s alone and more vulnerable. Playing in that range was very cool too. I’m lucky I got to do that.
Of course, we do see Selina spend a lot of time with Batwoman and their dynamic is brilliant; what was most fun about that for you?
Well, I’ve done a handful of animation projects over the years but never something in the adult space or even really PG-13. It was so new for me to do something that was a little more risque and sexier. Those scenes with Batwoman push the envelope in a good way and I thought it was so much fun and a great turn for the DC Universe to take by delving further into their relationship and exploring it.
There’s definitely some romantic tension between Selina and Batwoman that we haven’t really seen explored in movies or comics before I think fans will love; were you rooting for them to get together by the time all was said and done or was the rivalry more fun to you?
I’ve gone back and forth with it. Obviously, Selina uses her sexuality for manipulation and to get what she wants. In this case, it’s to throw Batwoman off the scent, but it’s clear that she’s curious about her in more than just a mischievous way. She really is curious about her and likes her, and you can tell because she pokes her. The whole movie, she’s just obsessed with poking and prodding her and trying to get a rise out of her. There is something there I think. Then again, it’s Catwoman and she likes to have fun with everyone, so who can really say? It’s clear she has a fondness for her, for sure.
There’s a lot of action in the movie, but what was it like for you getting physical in the recording booth?
It’s exhausting! In a good way. I’d come out of a two or three-hour session and the last hour would just be action cues. You feel exhausted, but once you see it all together, it becomes so cool and all the exertion and physical sounds you make really pay off. There are so many great action scenes in this movie, it wouldn’t have made any sense if I’d half-assed it, so it was worth it [Laughs].
Voiceover roles offer so much freedom for actors, but what about them do you find most rewarding as a performer?
I’m a singer, and I’m a singer first, so to get to focus solely on your voice and performance and to be free of all the inhibitions of your physical form is very freeing and very fun. It allows you to hone in and that was very special to me. That’s what I really love about getting to do this; it’s freeing. Also, I do lots of voices in my own life, so I can throw my voice very low or very high, so in the future (and I have in the past) do voices that sound nothing like me. Selina does a little, but you know what I’m saying, I’d love to just play around. You don’t really get to do that in real life because you can only take your physical form so far but in the recording booth, you can do anything.
You do such an awesome job with this character that I have to ask - how would you feel about playing a live-action Selina Kyle down the line?
Thank you! I’d love that. I’d absolutely love it. It’s so weird because I was Catwoman for Halloween like six months before I got offered this movie [Laughs] so I have the outfit. I can provide my own costume if they ask me! [Laughs] That would be a thrill. I would absolutely love it. Anything in the DC Universe, honestly. I’d even do more animation. I just had so much fun.
Without getting into spoilers, the stage is definitely set for a sequel down the line; if you do get the chance to return as Catwoman, what would you like to explore with the character?
I’d like to see her with Batman. I think that would be fun. She definitely is different around him, so that would show us a new side of her and a different side to what we’ve seen in this movie. I’d also like to see her up against a new slew of villains. There are so many different avenues to explore with her, I’d just look forward to those if we make more of these, so I’m game.
Many people will know you from Dynasty, of course, and that’s an iconic franchise in its own right, but did you ever have any nerves or reservations about joining a franchise as iconic as DC, especially when you know there’s a passionate fanbase involved?
It was announced after I’d completed the project, so what was done was done [Laughs]. I’d recorded the role and the movie was complete, so I’m hoping that everybody likes what I did and enjoy the film. Nobody so far I’ve seen is too disturbed I got cast in the role which is an excellent jumping-off point as everyone seems okay with me being Catwoman for this animated movie. I hope they love it and I think they will. My fans, I know, are so excited. It’s been incredible to see the DC fans come alive on Twitter and Instagram and to just watch them interact. It’s a whole new world for me.