As you no doubt know by now, Annette Bening is having Warren Beatty's baby. This is big news, of course - not because Beatty has been a confirmed, childless bachelor for a zillion years, but because it means the makers of "Batman II" must now find a new Catwoman.
Bening had been signed to play the role of the svelte, sexy villainess who dresses in a black body stocking to terrorize Gotham City. But Bening won't be svelte long enough to finish the production, and the powers that be at Warner Bros. apparently feel Catwoman wouldn't be the same in maternity clothes.So, director Tim Burton must now find another actress to play Catwoman opposite Michael Keaton, who reprises his role as Batman, and Danny DeVito, who will play the Penguin, the film's chief villain this time around. And, reportedly, every big-time actress in town is trying to land the role.
During the mid-'60s, when the old "Batman" television program was hot, Catwoman was played by three different actresses - Julie Newmar, then Lee Ann Meriwether (who also played Catwoman in the 1966 movie) and, finally, Eartha Kitt.
Kitt was particularly memorable, sexy, chilling and campy all at once, but when "Batman II" comes out next summer, fans will most certainly want to see a Catwoman for the '90s.
Reportedly, front-runners for the role are Michelle Pfeiffer, last seen in "The Russia House"; Ellen Barkin, who got good notices in the otherwise critically berated "Switch"; Sigourney Weaver, who has just wrapped up her battles with more outer space creatures in "Alien 3"; Susan Sarandon, hot off of "Thelma & Louise"; and the ever-popular Cher.
The latest rumor has it that Pfeiffer is the odds-on favorite, but Cher seems the best choice to fit the bill, both physically and with her wry sense of humor. (Though I must admit that, personally, I'd like to see what Sarandon could do with the role.)
But, somehow, even Cher doesn't seem quite the perfect choice.
After mentioning all this on the radio a week ago, during the Friday morning "Movie Show" with Doug Wright on KSL, I found myself inundated with nominees.
Madeleine Stowe, best known for her role as the woman Richard Dreyfuss falls for in "Stakeout," was suggested by a caller, as was Geena Davis, who won the best supporting actress Oscar for "The Accidental Tourist" and was a hit with critics and audiences in "Thelma & Louise." Someone thought of Demi Moore, Mrs. Bruce Willis, most recently the star of "Mortal Thoughts" and a nude, pregnant Vanity Fair cover - though having just had that "Vanity Fair" baby last week probably puts her out of the running.
Rejected out of hand, however, were Goldie Hawn, Linda Hunt, Bette Midler, Melanie Griffith, Barbra Streisand, Jessica Tandy and Rose-anne Barr.
Others to consider:
Andie MacDowell, best known for "Green Card" and "sex, lies and videotape" - but nominated here because she did such a great dolphin imitation in "Hudson Hawk." Well, it sounded close to a cat's purr.
Glenn Close could give Catwoman a scary "Fatal Attraction" edge.
Australian actress Judy Davis, most recently seen in "Impromptu," always seems to have a hint of anger beneath the surface that could work to Catwoman's advantage.
Pam Grier, an underrated actress who is currently playing a teacher in "Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey" is tall and sexy and tough - anyone who remembers her '70s roles as "Coffey," "Foxy Brown" and "Friday Foster" knows just how tough.
Kathleen Quinlan would be good - if she can play a convincing wicked witch in "The Doors," why not Catwoman?
Christine Lahti, a terrific actress most recently seen in Gene Wilder's failure "Funny About Love," is wonderful at projecting independence laced with vulnerability, traits that might give the character some depth.
Whoopi Goldberg, as odd as it may sound initially, would be a fascinating Catwoman, with humor, but a no-nonsense air about her.
Sean Young, most recently in "A Kiss Before Dying," always has an aura of mystery about her. (The tension would be greater if James Woods were playing Batman, of course.)
Rae Dawn Chong, who nominated herself on "The Arsenio Hall Show" last week, could project some sexy danger, as anyone who saw "Tales From the Darkside: The Movie" should be aware.
Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, currently starring with Kevin Costner in "Robin Hood," could bring an air of intelligence and sophistication to the role.
Likewise Kathleen Turner, currently starring as tough Chicago private eye "V.I. Warshawski."
Anyone who saw "Terminator 2: Judgment Day" knows just how strong a presence Linda Hamilton can be on the screen.
And, of course, there's Julia Roberts - though after playing Tinker Bell in Steven Spielberg's "Hook," she may seem like too kind and gentle a casting choice.
But, as you have probably surmised, I'm saving the best for last. As far as I'm concerned, this nominee from a caller to the radio show is the only perfect choice:
Turner's wonderful screen presence as lean, mean Aunty Entity in "Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome" - not to mention her singularly spectacular stage presence when she is live in concert - make her the only serious candidate to play Cat-woman.
Of course, knowing Hollywood, Catwoman will probably wind up being played by someone like Bo Derek.