Despite being one of the most compelling characters in the world of Batman, It took Catwoman more than fifty years after her first appearance in Batman #1 in 1940 to headline her first ongoing comic book series. Likewise, though Catwoman has appeared in media outside of comics, she has predominately been featured as a supporting character. That all changes with the new Catwoman: Hunted anime style original feature film. Starring Elizabeth Gillies as the titular feline felon, the film sees Catwoman in the crosshairs of a powerful consortium of villains after yet another jewel heist.
While most people may be familiar with Gillies for her live-action work in shows such as Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll and Dynasty, she’s no stranger to voiceover. We had to catch to chat with Gillies about voicing Catwoman, a role that she has coveted for years like countless other actresses. Though she didn’t have to go as far as Sean Young and her infamous Catwoman costume stunt, Gillies revealed the strange confluence of events between her Halloween costume in 2019 and working on this film. In addition, we also discuss how she was able to incorporate her experience as a cat owner as well as the Batwoman/Catwoman romance in the film.
Taimur Dar: Most people familiar with your career know you were in the Nickelodeon sitcom Victorious. What I discovered in my research was that you did some other Nickelodeon projects for voiceover animation. I think Winx Club was one which I believe casting director Sarah Noonan was involved in who actually worked on casting this Catwoman animated movie. So I’m really curious if that prior relationship with Noonan played a part in being cast as the voice of Catwoman?
Elizabeth Gillies: Oh my God! Now that you say it, that probably makes sense. She probably got me this job! [Laughs].
Dar: My research also led me to learn that back in 2019 you actually dressed as the Michelle Pfeiffer version of Catwoman from Batman Returns and posted photos on your Instagram. I know this was recorded awhile back, so was the inspiration to cosplay as Catwoman a nod to your experience on this animated project even though you couldn’t reveal it?
Gillies: If you can believe it, I had not received this offer yet. I was just feeling like I should be Catwoman for Halloween, so I bought this elaborate costume from Russia. I don’t even know where I got it. I found it online. I have always been a fan of Michelle Pfeiffer’s Catwoman. I was literally walking around all night as Catwoman saying Michelle’s lines. Weirdly, one year later I got offered this movie. So it was just so funny how it worked out. I guess I just willed it into existence!
Dar: I just assumed you recorded it before Halloween in 2019. Now that I know it was actually afterwards, did you record remotely at home during the pandemic?
Gillies: I did. The first part early in 2020, I recorded a bit of this in January and February. Definitely before the pandemic I went in and I recorded for hours. The latter half I did in my house. I have a home recording studio here [and] that’s where I did the remainder of the recording. Part of the recording did fall partially during the pandemic and that’s when I got to see the animation.
Dar: Going back to the Michelle Pfeiffer version of Catwoman, her portrayal is definitely iconic and has been the introduction to the character for many people. I think I was only 4-5 when my dad took me to the theaters to see Batman Returns. I don’t think you were even born, so do you remember when or how you were first introduced to Catwoman?
Gillies: It might have just been on TV one day when I was a kid and I watched it. I always have such an interest in watching any legendary, iconic female role especially when they’re anti-heroes or villains. I just adored Michelle Pfeiffer’s take. Of course as I got older I realized I also was a very big fan of Michelle Pfeiffer in general. I just find her to be very cool. It’s not a surprise that I love her portrayal of Catwoman. There was something about her version that really struck me. I even told myself that I really wanted to play this role one day if the opportunity presented itself. So I was thrilled when they asked me to do this movie. I really think this version is a very cool take on her whole vibe and backstory and her dynamics with everybody. I just think they did a really good job at reinventing and elaborating on who she is.
Dar: On that subject, a few years ago DC Comics established Catwoman as bisexual and it’s definitely explored specifically with Selina and Batwoman. There’s a flirtatious relationship going on but it’s hard to gauge if Selina is just playing with Batwoman or if she was truly attracted to her. In your mind as a performer, did you see Selina as having genuine feelings for Batwoman or was she just stringing her along?
Gillies: I think what’s fun about their dynamic and particularly that scene they have with Catwoman in the bathtub is of course she is trying to use her sexuality like she does for her own gain or to throw Batwoman off her guard. However, it’s clear that she’s enjoying it and she enjoys Batwoman more than just using her as a way to get what she wants. She actually truly enjoys her as a person. There are several parts in the movie where you can see that she is curious about her and likes to poke and toy with her. But I think there’s something out there. I don’t think it’s solely for her own personal gain. I think she’s interested in her or curious about her in the very least.
Dar: Very catlike of her.
Gillies: Very cat and mouse! [Laughs].
Dar: My favorite scenes in the film are the ones with Selina interacting with her cat Isis. I’m fairly certain you’ve been a cat owner, so were you able to draw upon your own experiences for those scenes?
Gillies: Yeah, I have definitely spent a lot of time around cats. I’ve had two cats myself. My last cat, Bodhi, ran away! I adopted him when he was a little kitten but he reminded me Isis actually. The way that he behaved and in general they’re such an interesting animal. People have told me I have a very catlike personality myself. I’m a dog person but I have a catlike personality which I find very funny. But I know what they mean by that. It’s like sort of on their own terms, sly, observant, self-sufficient nature. I think spending a good amount of time around cats has helped me understand her relationship with Isis and her vibe in general.
Dar: I know the anime style was always intended from the start, but I’m guessing you couldn’t see what it looked like when you first recorded. But as you mentioned earlier, during the ADR process you were able to see the finished animation. What was your reaction when you got to see Catwoman: Hunted on screen with dialogue and music?
Gillies: I was so excited. My final recording session I got to see a little bit of the animation style but I certainly didn’t hear any of the music or final product. So once I watched the movie in its completion I was so excited to hear all the other voices because I recorded alone. To watch Batwoman come to life and hear who’s voicing her. My husband and I watched it and were just like, “Oh my God! That sounds like…” and then we go onto IMDB. It’s such an amazing roster of performers in this movie. It was thrilling to watch it. And I loved what they did with the score. I love that it’s a jazz score. It’s so interesting and unique just like the animation. I think it’s a groundbreaking movie in general not just because it’s her first. It’s the first time Catwoman had her own feature all to herself. It’s very exciting.
Catwoman: Hunted is available now on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Combo Pack, Blu-ray and Digital.