Taking all of the character’s themes and history into account, we need an actress who can be sexy, flirty, wild, smart, crafty and kick ass (like, able-to-tangle-with-Spider-Man tough). She’s also got be able to go from ultra-confident and strong to totally vulnerable at a turn, and there is the somewhat-weighty back story of Felicia’s issues with domineering men to consider – it’s what adds depth to the character and keeps her from being reduced to the status of Catwoman-copy eye-candy. The actress who gets the part needs to be able to handle those demands and still inject an overall sense of lightness and fun into the performance. Spider-Man must always be fun.
In terms of the actress rumored for the part, I like Anne Hathaway best. The Hathaway we saw in Brokeback Mountain and Rachel Getting Married proved the actress has tough-girl dramatic chops; the Hathaway in Devil Wears Prada showed us she’s an able leading lady who can project a “strong, independent woman” vibe (and showed her comedic chops to boot); her Get Smart role proved she can make action look soooo good (see above); and her role in Bride Wars showed us just how “catty” Hathaway can be.
Sorry for that last bit, couldn’t resist :-) .
Then again, Hathaway may be too doe-eyed and soft-looking to be believable as the main villain in a major superhero movie. Of course, there is a second name I (and many of you) have in mind: Battlestar Galatica‘s Tricia “Six” Helfer.
Though Helfer is actually a year younger than Tobey Maguire, IMO she gives off a much more mature sexy vibe. Her role as Six on Battlestar had just about all of us sweating over her temptress wiles at one point or another, and in the latter seasons of the show, she definitely got a chance (playing different Cylon versions of herself) to prove she has more range than just playing a sexy girl. Helfer has shown us all sides of a complicated woman: damaged, assertive, angry, (very) sensual, rebellious, tough (downright savage!) while still being vulnerable – and though I may be beauty-biased here, I’m pretty sure I never once rolled my eyes at her acting during Battlestar‘s run.
In Helfer’s hands, I see Black Cat being an older woman than Peter Parker, much more mature and confident. We’ve already seen Peter deal with being tempted by another young girl in Spider-Man 3 (the tragically wasted Gwen Stacy); having the Webslinger go up against an older, wiser, supremely confident costumed character, while Peter Parker has to back down a “cougar” who wants to pounce on him… That image at least lends credability to the thought of Black Cat carrying an entire Spider-Man movie on her shoulders.
So there you have it, my two picks – Quick! Before the official announcement gets made and ruins all the fun: who do you think should play Black Cat?
Spider-Man 4 will be in theaters on May 5, 2011
Black Cat Images: Diablo2003 @ Deviant ARt & J. Scott Campbell (Amazing Spider-Man #605-606)