When it comes to the character of Catwoman ⏤ touted as one of the main players in the upcoming Batman film coming out next year ⏤ the sometimes-friend, sometimes-foe, sometimes-lover of the Caped Crusader has been portrayed in a variety of styles and media over the years.
For the purposes of this article, we’ll be looking at live-action interpretations of the character, both on the silver screen and on TV, to keep it as digestible as possible. There are plenty of animated, video game, and even radio interpretations of the character as well, all of whom are deserving of their own list.
For now, we’re here to give you the purr-fect rundown of actresses that have donned the pointy-eared-mask and signature whip in the live-action Batman space over the years. Let’s start in the present and work our way backwards, shall we?
Zoë Kravitz – The Batman (2022)
What can we really say about a film performance that hasn’t hit theaters yet, other than that we’re excited to see it? There’s actually a surprising amount of information coming out about this character ahead of the The Batman‘s release on March 4, 2022, including that Zoë Kravitz had to learn stunt coordination for the role, that she made the gun work during those stunts a tad more difficult after choosing particularly long nails for her version of Selina Kyle, and that her outfit from the trailers and images seem to favor form over function. Her outfit doesn’t even have a cat mask, but rather sports a beanie with the eyes cut out and vaguely pointed tips that sort of look like ears.
However, if the chemistry seen between her and co-star Robert Pattinson in the last trailer is any indication, we’re certain that sparks will fly with Kravitz’s interpretation. Fun fact: Kravitz also voiced Catwoman in The Lego Batman Movie in 2017. Even though we’re not listing animated roles in this article, we figure that since she’s also playing a live-action version, she’s deserving of an extra shout-out.
Camren Bicondova & Lili Simmons – Gotham (2014)
Though Selina Kyle starts off as just a child in the TV series Gotham, she’s actually portrayed by two different actors throughout its five-season run. First portrayed by Camren Bicondova, Selina began as a 13-year-old orphan and thief living on the streets of Gotham, one who goes by the nickname “Cat.” In the pilot episode, Selina witnesses the murder of Thomas and Martha Wayne, eventually becoming a childhood friend of Bruce Wayne and even giving him his first kiss. The series finale in 2019 then jumps ahead ten years, where the character is portrayed as an adult with Lili Simmons in the role.
Anne Hathaway – The Dark Knight Rises (2012)
Selina Kyle is portrayed by Anne Hathaway in Christopher Nolan’s Batman threequel The Dark Knight Rises. While she is not referenced as Catwoman in the film, she is portrayed true to the comic character as being someone who operates in an ethical gray area. Playing a jewel thief with physical prowess in the film, her leather-clad outfit is mostly a pragmatic sneaking suit, but the night vision goggles appear just like cat ears when propped up on top of her head, and the minimal mask she wears while attending a black tie party at Wayne Manor inarguably completes the look. While Selina does cross Christian Bale’s Bruce Wayne early on in the movie, she eventually helps him defeat the terrorist group led by Tom Hardy’s Bane and they even elope together — sans secret identities — at the end of the film.
Halle Berry – Catwoman (2004)
Halle Berry’s 2004 film Catwoman is one of those notoriously bad movies that fans often cite as being one of the very worst comic book adaptations — or just plain movies, period — ever. Rather than playing Selina Kyle, Berry plays a character called Patience Phillips whose origins bear little resemblance to the source material. Instead of a morally ambiguous thief and flippant ally to Bruce Wayne, Patience is a former beauty product company employee who is granted magical cat powers from an Egyptian Mau cat that revives her. This is all after she uncovers the dark secrets — and is ordered to be killed — by her employer. The good-humored Berry took the negative reception in stride, however, making a rare in-person acceptance speech for the parody Razzie Award for “Worst Actress” that year.
Casey Elizabeth Easlick – Birds of Prey (2002)
In the 2002 TV show Birds of Prey ⏤ which originally aired on The WB ⏤ Catwoman makes a very limited appearance, mostly in flashback form in the pilot episode, and was portrayed by Casey Elizabeth Easlick in an uncredited role. The character only appears in costume, closely resembles the 1992 version of the character from Batman Returns, and is portrayed as someone with superpowers, or “metahuman,” unlike in the comics. Unfortunately for fans, the character dies in the pilot episode.
Michelle Pfeiffer – Batman Returns (1992)
For many of us who were spoon-fed the Tim Burton Batman film duology growing up, Michelle Pfeiffer represented the definitive version of Catwoman on the big screen with her portrayal as Selina Kyle in the 1992 sequel Batman Returns. This version of the character took much inspiration from the comics, both contemporary and classic, to drum up an origin story about a woman seeking revenge on her former employer after he attempts to kill her by throwing her out of a window when she discovers his dark secrets. Seemingly revived by a group of alley cats after the fall, Selina is invigorated to seek vengeance on the evil Max Shreck, played by Christopher Walken. However, the psychotic breakdown she experiences after being brought back to life results in her creating her alter-ego, Catwoman.
Lee Meriwether – Batman (1966)
Lee Meriwether portrayed the first-ever feature film version of Catwoman in the 1966 movie based on the TV show of the same name. She was cast due to the TV show actress, Julie Newmar, being unavailable at the time.
Julie Newmar & Eartha Kitt – Batman (1966)
Julie Newmar was the first actress to give a live-action TV portrayal of the role of Catwoman in the first two seasons of the lovingly campy Batman TV show from the 1960s, with Eartha Kitt taking on the mantle in the third season. This version of Catwoman wasn’t given a backstory or alter-ego, but instead focused exclusively on the costumed persona as one of the many colorful foes to Adam West’s Caped Crusader.
Honorable mentions & canceled or delayed projects
The character of Selina Kyle/Catwoman is mentioned but never explicitly given her own moment in the spotlight in the CW series Batwoman as well as Titans, which currently airs on HBO Max. The character was also referenced but not shown in the 1995 film Batman Forever.
Before Halle Berry’s critically-panned portrayal of Catwoman in the 2004 film, the solo project was originally envisioned as a spinoff of Tim Burton’s Batman Returns with Michelle Pfieffer being slated to return to the role. The role was then briefly given to Ashley Judd before Berry eventually ended up with the part. It was around this time that director Darren Aronofsky was also briefly attached to direct a Batman: Year One adaptation.
In addition, Suicide Squad director David Ayer has had another DC-universe film in development, Gotham City Sirens, but the project has since been put on hold as of 2020. That film was to feature Catwoman alongside Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy. Whether or not the film ever comes to fruition, there’s no denying that we have plenty of memorable Catwoman purr-formances to fondly look back on, not to mention exciting ones to look forward to.