How did Anne Hathaway become Catwoman? To portray Batman’s purring nemesis in Christopher Nolan’s 2012 movie “The Dark Knight Rises,” the actress realized that she needed to train to make herself stronger so she could perform her own stunts.
In an interview for Variety‘s Actors on Actors issue, Hathaway talked with Hugh Jackman about the conversations she had with Nolan before she suited up as Catwoman. Jackman worked with Nolan in 2006’s magician drama “The Prestige.”
“You know how you have those jobs and you just go, ‘I don’t know how I’m going to work again because this was such fun,'” Hathaway said. “I’m such a director nerd. I love just seeking out the best directors I can and then just watching them. Chris’ whole approach to filmmaking is one of my favorite ones. He’s broken it down to its most minimal, but also his movies are just so huge and ornate. That combination of really being intentional about what it was that we were doing — and also, he’s just so inspiring.”
Hathaway remembered Nolan’s advice to get stronger prior to shooting. “Chris sat me down and he said, ‘It has nothing to do with your appearance. If we’ve shot tomorrow, I’d be so happy.'”
Nolan referenced to her another actor that he’d work with in a different film. “When we did ‘Inception,’ Joseph Gordon-Levitt trained for 12 weeks to do a four-day stunt sequence because he wanted to do every shot,” Hathaway recalled Nolan telling her. “I want you to do as much of the stunt work as you can. I need you to be strong enough to do that. I can’t have you be one of those actors that does one take, two takes and then you’re too tired. I want you to do everything.”
“That was what he told me to get me to embrace the physical side of the character and really commit that,” Hathaway said.
Hathaway also recalled a specific detail from Nolan’s movie sets. “He doesn’t allow chairs, and his reasoning is, if you have chairs, people will sit, and if they’re sitting, they’re not working,” Hathaway said. “I mean, he has these incredible movies in terms of scope and ambition and technical prowess and emotion. It always arrives at the end under schedule and under budget. I think he’s onto something with the chair thing.”
Variety‘s Actors on Actors issue celebrates the best TV performances of the year. Hathaway portrays a woman coming to terms with her bipolar disorder in the Amazon anthology series “Modern Love.” Jackman is receiving the best reviews of his career for playing a school superintendent in HBO’s “Bad Education.”
From more from Variety’s conversation with Jackman and Hathaway, read our full story here.