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Interview: Greg Weisman Talks Lupin the Third’s Influence on Catwoman: Hunted

The latest DC Comics animated film Catwoman: Hunted features an anime-inspired art style and is filled with heists and action. Out on 4K, Blu-ray, and digital on February 8, 2022, the film has many similarities to the Lupin the Third series while featuring many familiar Gotham faces.

“Catwoman’s attempt to steal a priceless jewel puts her squarely in the crosshairs of both a powerful consortium of villains and the ever-resourceful Interpol, not to mention Batwoman,” says the official synopsis. “It might just be enough to contain her. Or not.”

ComingSoon Editor-in-Chief Tyler Treese spoke with Catwoman: Hunted screenwriter Greg Weisman about the film’s anime influences, not including Batman, and what makes Selina Kyle a great protagonist.

Tyler Treese: Going into Catwoman: Hunted, I didn’t know a ton about the film, but there were so many similarities, especially with the anime-inspired art style, to Lupin the Third. Was that an influence for this?

Greg Weisman: It absolutely was an influence. In fact, I’ve seen The Castle of Cagliostro many times, but years and years ago. I pitched it as like, “Let’s do something along those lines with Lupin the Third,” but then I very consciously didn’t go rewatch the movie. Because I thought, okay, I’m sort of homaging this a bit. I don’t wanna be flat-out stealing from it. So, I let it sort of be an influence in my memory without actually making it so present that it loomed too large. But you absolutely nailed it. The biggest single influence on this film was that, and it’s even how I pitched it to the execs at DC and Warner Bros.

Cagliostro is obviously a Hayao Miyazaki film and is amazing. What other anime are you a fan of?

I don’t wanna pretend a lot of knowledge of anime that I don’t have. I’ve worked on a few adaptations, the main one being 3×3 Eyes, that I story edited [and] voice directed the English dub of that. I was a huge fan of that. I’ve seen a handful of other things here and there over the years, going all the way back to things like Kimba [the White Lion] and Speed Racer when I was a kid, but I’m not an anime expert. I don’t pretend to be something that I’m not. I love Miyazaki stuff, who doesn’t? Kiki’s Delivery Service and Spirited Away. So many great films there. In fact, my wife, son, and I went to the Motion Pictures Museum in L.A. recently, and there’s a great, fantastic Miyazaki exhibit there. We just saw it last week, and it was terrific. Not that the exhibit obviously had any influence on the movie as the movie is done, but the movies of Miyazaki obviously had an influence on the film.

Catwoman is such a great protagonist and it was nice really to focus on her and how she’s able to play off all these different characters in the film. What do you find most interesting about Selina Kyle as a protagonist?

I think Selina is seductive in a myriad of ways. There’s the obvious way that she uses seduction as a tool, but beyond that, I think that she has this style that is breezy and effortless. Every once in a while you get a peek at the depth below it, but she’s not inclined to give you a peek. It has to be something that catches her off guard. She doesn’t want you to see beyond purpose, and that idea sort of fascinates me. That you have someone with serious intent, but who wears a mask both figuratively and literally, and sometimes a mask over a mask. That keeps you at a bit of a distance because there’s some pain under there. Yet she got all the tools, both for fighting and for negotiating and all these things that allow her to get away with stuff that almost nobody else could get away with.

You’ve got a lot of interesting foils for Catwoman in this film. How did you go about picking who to pit her up against?

When I first pitched the movie, the day I pitched the movie, one thing that we all agreed on is no Batman. That if Batman is in the movie, it becomes a Batman movie, and Selina gets reduced down. Even if you called it Catwoman and Batman, Selina gets reduced down to being his foil, his love interest, or opponent. So Batman exists and he looms as a presence in everyone’s mind, but he’s not in the film. Ames Kirshen at DC suggested on that first day to team her up with Kate, with Batwoman, and I just immediately ran with it because their personalities are so diametrically opposed. Kate is all military pragmatic and laconic, and Selina is all style and verbiage. I just love the idea of putting it together.

From a villain standpoint, there are a lot of Gotham crime bosses to choose from. We tried to stay away from, for lack of a better term, the Adam West guys. You know, Penguin, Joker, and Riddler, and go with someone who could just play as a more realistic crime boss. Then the heart of the film obviously is the conflict between Lady Barbara Minerva and Selina. For me, that was just about, okay, we’re gonna have a catfight here and it’s gonna be a big catfight. So, that made Lady Barbara sort of an obvious choice for me to be the main villain of the piece.

You created the Gargoyles TV series, and that show is still so beloved 25-plus years later. Looking back on it, how do you view that show’s legacy and that it still has such a fond place in so many people’s hearts?

I’m incredibly gratified. Gargoyles was my baby. It took me three years to sell that show at Disney through multiple iterations. Then we did 65 episodes over two seasons and years later, I did eight issues of comic books. Still, [there are] few things that I’d rather be doing than Gargoyles and would love an opportunity, but it is very gratifying that fans love the show and have kept it alive. That’s just terrific.

In 2018, Jordan Peele pitched a film version of Gargoyles. It didn’t get picked up, but what did it mean for you to see that one of the most celebrated directors in Hollywood right now has reverence for that framework and finds it so interesting?

That was great. I contacted Jordan just via Twitter because I don’t know him, and said, “Hey, I don’t know if you know who I am, but…” and he wrote back that he did, and we had a little exchange there. This was right after Get Out, and I was a fan of, Jordan’s going back to Mad TV, let alone Key and Peele. The fact that he gave a damn about Gargoyles, knew what it was, knew who I am, was tremendously gratifying. Nothing really came of it, unfortunately, but I can’t say I wasn’t thrilled by it. It was neat.

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