After nabbing the highly-coveted role of Selina Kyle/Catwoman in Christopher Nolan's "The Dark Knight Rises", Anne Hathaway didn't mess around. Not only did she allegedly dive headfirst into researching the character's portrayal in the comics, but she also took time out to watch the films of Golden Age movie star Hedy Lamarr, who served as Batman co-creator Bob Kane's main inspiration for the feline supervillain/anti-hero (though both Jean Harlow and Kane's cousin Ruth Steel have also been cited as influences).

In an on-set interview with the Los Angeles Times' Hero Complex just published today, the actress interestingly describes how even the on-screen breathing patterns of the Austrian-American beauty informed her portrayal of the character:

“I know this sounds odd, but her breathing is extraordinary,” Hathaway said. “She takes these long, deep, languid breaths and exhales slowly. There’s a shot of her in [the 1933 film] ‘Ecstasy’ exhaling a cigarette and I took probably five breaths during her one exhale. So I started working on my breathing a lot.”

As for the line of research that had her delving into the old "Batman" comics, Hathaway was amused by how different the culture was when the character was first introduced in 1940.

“I really got into the comics after I was cast and I like that when she made her first appearance she meets Bruce Wayne and says ‘Let go of me or I’ll claw your eyes out,’ and he says, ‘Careful, claws in or papa spank,’” she told the publication. “So I’m glad we’ve come a long way since then. I’m not saying anything against Bob Kane, though.”

For all this looking back, however, Hathaway made sure to point out that none of the previous on-screen incarnations of Selina/Catwoman - played by actresses including Michelle Pfeiffer, Eartha Kitt and Julie Newmar - would really factor into her own performance.

“What’s come before doesn’t limit or even affect this new version,” she said. “It doesn’t affect me because each Catwoman – and this is true in the comics as well – she is defined by the context of the Gotham City created around her. Catwoman is so influenced by Gotham and whoever is creating Gotham at the time. Michelle Pfeiffer’s Catwoman was informed by Tim Burton’s Gotham and Eartha Kitt was informed by Adam West’s Gotham. You have to live in whatever the reality of the world is and whatever Gotham is."

Oh, and in case you were wondering, Hathaway "love[s] the costume" that has proved controversial since some unauthorized on-set photos were leaked back in August. As she told Hero Complex: “I love the costume because everything has a purpose, nothing is in place for fantasy’s sake, and that’s the case with everything in Christopher Nolan’s Gotham City.” Which apparently means Bane's unintelligible mumbling must have a purpose too.

What do you think of Hathaway's take on the character? Do you feel she was the right choice for the role? Let us know in the comments!

Theatrical trailer:


 "The Dark Knight Rises" hits theaters on July 20, 2012.