Megan May Be a Fox, but She's No Catwoman

Who would you like to see as Batman’s sexy nemesis?

By Jere Hester
|  Monday, Aug 31, 2009  |  Updated 10:34 AM EDT
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Reports that Megan Fox will play Catwoman in the next "Batman" movie were debunked last week, much to the disappointment, no doubt, of the fanboy set.

It’s probably for the best, though: Fox is no Catwoman.

Don't get us wrong: there's no doubt she can fill the costume, an image that likely spurred the wishful thinking that fueled the casting talk.

The bigger question is could any 23-year-old relative newcomer fill the role: the part, after all, is more woman than kitten.

It’s worth looking back at past Catwomen, in both the comic 1960s TV series and movies, all of whom were between 30 and 40 when they first donned the leather suit that’s made many a Batfan drool.

Julie Newmar, the first to take on the role in the Pop Art-inspired TV show, played coquette and cutthroat, with a campiness that helped make her an idol of drag queens.

Eartha Kitt, perhaps the most memorable TV Catwoman, possessed a throaty, feline growl that told you she was in on the joke, yet could melt the cowl off you. In her sole shot at the gig, Lee Meriwether, the George Lazenby of Catwomen, held her own among an array of cartoonish supervillians in the 1966 movie based on the show.

Michelle Pfeiffer set the standard for the movie Catwomen in 1992’s “Batman Returns,” going from wronged, awkward wallflower to sexy hellion. Halle Berry was the one wronged in 2004’s “Catwoman,” let down by a weak, Batman-free script.

The suit fit great, of course – but it wasn’t enough. Not even an actress with Berry’s Academy Award-winning chops could save the flick.

The Catwoman backstory varies, depending on movie and comic book period, but she’s generally been battered by the world before taking the plunge into ambiguity as an anti-heroine who is at her best when she’s acting her worst. That’s what made her attractive over the years to fans – and Batman.

An actress needs to have lived a little – and acted a lot – to effectively portray a woman who finally starts employing her demons in her favor.

So maybe the role of Catwoman doesn’t call for a Fox as much as a cougar.

Last year’s “The Dark Knight” set the bar high for future Batman movies, so casting will be key. Who do you think should play Catwoman?

Use the comments section below to suggest a purr-fect fit.

Hester is founding director of the award-winning, multi-media NYCity News Service at the City University of New York Graduate School of Journalism. He is the former City Editor of the New York Daily News, where he started as a reporter in 1992. Follow him on Twitter.

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