Anne Hathaway has come a long way from her breakthrough film role in The Princess Diaries films. Her films include Brokeback Mountain, The Devil Wears Prada, Rachel Getting Married (which netted her a Best Actress Oscar nomination), Becoming Jane, and Alice In Wonderland.

Now, the 29 year-old manages to cross into the comic book realm with a role as Selina Kyle, the “Catwoman”, in Christopher Nolan’s long-awaited final Batman film, The Dark Knight Rises. Despite following in the footsteps of actresses like Julie Newmar and Eartha Kitt in the campy 1960’s Batman TV series, Michelle Pfeiffer in Tim Burton’s Batman Returns, and Halle Berry in the ill-fated Catwoman, Hathaway talks about what makes her version of the classic, often wild card Batman villain set apart from the rest.

“I would have played a footstool in this movie, but it was pretty cool to play such a wonderful character,” Anne says, “I loved that the focus was on who she was as Selina Kyle and that there wasn’t a schism within her, that she didn’t change when she put on the suit. It was kind of her uniform, which she had to wear for her job.”

Anne talks about what Nolan instructed her to do for the role.

“When I had got the part, Chris had called me into his office and said, ‘OK, so, there’s going to be a lot of fighting. When we did Inception, Joseph Gordon-Levitt got in really good shape, Joe went to the gym for months. So that way when we did his fight sequences, he did all of his own fighting….I really liked that,’” she recalls, “So I went, ‘Gotcha, I’m reading between the lines here.’ And I just went to the gym and I came out when we wrapped. It was a complete transformation, I’d never done anything like that because it wasn’t just about looking a certain way.”

“I had to learn to fight,” Hathaway adds, “I had to become strong enough to be able to fight for many days at a time. And that was something I felt very lucky about, because I feel like in a situation like this, I don’t know what other actresses have gone through, but I feel like sometimes there’s a mandate that comes to you, an ideal of how you have to look. And the way I was always treated on this movie was from the point of: learn how to do what you need to do, and then however you look, that’s the way the character looks. I just felt, as a woman, very protected in that way.

Hathaway was asked how she was able to do all her action scenes in heels.

“You just do, it’s part of being a woman,” Anne replies, “You just figure it out. The Devil Wears Prada was really good training for that. I ran up and down Manhattan for that, so I ran up and down Gotham.”