Zoe Kravitz Grew Out Her Nails To Give Catwoman Real Claws

Zoe Kravitz is the latest actor to step into a skin-tight black costume and star as the villainess Selina Kyle AKA Catwoman. Joining the ranks of Michelle Pfeiffer, Halle Berry, and Anne Hathaway, Kravitz's Catwoman will fight (and perhaps help) Robert Pattinson's Batman AKA Bruce Wayne in director Matt Reeves' new film "The Batman." In an interview with Buzzfeed, Kravitz discussed her experience working with her British co-star, training that went into conveying Catwoman's feline ferociousness, working with a crew of cats, as well as the costume design and collaborative process. Kravitz decided to embrace her character by growing out her nails in order to have real claws. This can take a long process but with the proper manicurist, it can make for a killer good look. 

Kravitz described the costume design process as "an extremely collaborative process — in all the ways, in terms of the character and how she looked and what she was wearing...our costume designer came to New York a week after I got the part to meet me and measure me and start the conversation about Catwoman. Matt [Reeves] is an extremely collaborative filmmaker who likes to get to know the person playing the character, so I didn't have to fight for anything — it was designed that way." She continued:

"We developed the costume together as a team, and actually, the nails weren't originally planned. We shot two months before quarantine and everything shut down, so in that time, I started to grow my nails out because we couldn't get manicures and then I had this idea to take it further...so I called Matt and was like, I have this idea, we should do crazy, bitchy, wonderful scary nails that looked like claws. No nail polish on them, so they looked more like claws, and we were able to incorporate it last minute." 

I guess the pandemic was good for something, huh? What I mostly love about this is tidbit is that Reeves listens to his talent and is open to their input about the character, all the way down to the small details. This doesn't always happen so it's nice to hear about collaborative processes especially when adapting beloved characters into a new film within a long-standing franchise. 

Smitten Kitten

Catwoman's costume has evolved several times in the comic books and on screen. She's donned green, purple, and blue suits on paper, but the majority of audiences fondly remember Catwoman dressed in black thanks to her depiction in recent film adaptations. In Tim Burton's 1992 "Batman Returns," Michelle Pfeiffer squeezed into a latex suit with erratic white stitching that speaks to the chaotic mental state of Selina Kyle's transition. The crew had to use a vacuum seal to get it to fit air-tight against the actor's body and painted a coat of silicon-based finish to make the suit shine. Uncomfortable aspect aside, costume designer Mary Vogt completed nailed it and to this day it's my personal favorite Catwoman suit. 

In an interview with Collider, costume designer Lindy Hemming talks about her take on the iconic suit with The Cat character in "The Dark Knight Rises."  It's interesting to read her commentary on the functionality of the suit and serves as a reminder to how important it is to fuse the character with the costume. Hemming utilizes technology in a similar way that Batman does with his suit but fits the needs for the female character's' vices and affinity for burglary. And what gal wouldn't welcome a weaponized stiletto heel? I mean, come on. 

I'm going to avoid discussion of the Patience Phillips version of Catwoman because the costume used in that film looks like Ed Hardy designed a bondage suit that got distributed by Party City in 2002. Sorry, Angus Strathie. 

There are three costume designers credited for "The Batman" per IMBD: David Crossman, Glyn Dillon, and Jacqueline Durran. Crossman and Dillon are credited to the Batman suit but Durran doesn't have a specific character assignment. So, I really hope that she is behind the Catwoman suit especially after seeing her work on "Spencer." When dealing with skin-tight clothes, fighting, and functionality for female characters, female costume designers know what they are doing. Aside from the fantastic nail choice, some of the highlights I noticed from the film's trailer is that Kravitz's hair is short so it doesn't have to get caught in her face when fighting. Also, it appears that she may be wearing a collar which is a fun (and possibly sexual) take on the cat persona. 

We'll be able to see the full wardrobe for "The Batman" when it hits theaters March 4, 2022.