Michelle Pfeiffer Catwoman

Big Fish screenwriter shares his pitch for a Catwoman movie that never got made

Contributed by
Aug 17, 2018

When you hear the words "Catwoman movie" now, it almost inevitably conjures up images of the notorious 2004 film starring Halle Berry in the title role, which took numerous liberties with the character's DC Comics roots (not in a good way) and ended up being panned on a level that few bad movies ever have to worry about reaching.

Before those dark times, though, and long before Anne Hathaway brought a more acclaimed version of the character to life in The Dark Knight Rises, Warner Bros. was actually quite interested in pursuing a Catwoman film building on the success of 1992's Batman Returns. One of the writers who attempted to tackle this project was Go and Big Fish screenwriter John August, and he just shared a glimpse at what might have been.

In the immediate aftermath of Batman Returns, there was a lot of enthusiasm for a Catwoman solo film, and at one point the project was even set to have the dream team of Michelle Pfeiffer as star, Tim Burton as director, and Returns screenwriter Daniel Waters, who actually turned in a draft. Then the Joel Schumacher era began, Burton distanced himself more and more from the Batman franchise, and by 1998 any Catwoman movie that did get made would need a new approach from a new writer.

Enter August, whose breakout film Go had not yet been released but who got a meeting at Warner Bros. about the Catwoman project. On Twitter Thursday, August was one of the many professional writers participating in the #ShareYourRejections hashtag, and offered up his abandoned Catwoman pitch in a series of tweets.

August's take on the film, which he revealed via a few brief excerpts, would have involved Selina Kyle disillusioned by life in Gotham City, which has become overrun by lower-tier criminals and "freaks" since Batman rose to prominence. On Halloween night, Catwoman is out pulling robberies when she runs into a lesser Batman villain who blows the building up. Selina once again falls out of a window and on the Gotham pavement, but while her first fall granted her the Catwoman persona, the second one takes it away, and that's how we would have ultimately ended up in the equivalent of Chicago, where we would have met Selina's family.

Of course, August's version of Catwoman never got greenlit, and six years later the Halle Berry film was released. Catwoman got another, better chance at a big-screen interpretation with The Dark Knight Rises, but for many fans it's Pfeiffer's stitched-together, strange version that remains the best filmed Catwoman, and August's attempt to continue her story sadly never saw the light of day. Maybe if he keeps sharing excerpts from the pitch, though, he could convince DC to let him write it as an Elseworlds graphic novel?