Following the events of ‘The Dark Knight,’ it has been eight years since Batman vanished into the night, turning, in that instant, from hero to fugitive. Assuming the blame for the death of D.A. Harvey Dent, the Caped Crusader sacrificed everything for what he and Commissioner Gordon both hoped was the greater good. For a time the lie worked, as criminal activity in Gotham City was crushed under the weight of the anti-crime Dent Act. But everything will change with the arrival of a cunning cat burglar with a mysterious agenda. Far more dangerous, however, is the emergence of Bane, a masked terrorist whose ruthless plans for Gotham drive Bruce out of his self-imposed exile. But even if he dons the cape and cowl again, Batman may be no match for Bane. The epic conclusion to Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy, ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ stars Christian Bale as Bruce Wayne/Batman, Anne Hathaway as Selina Kyle/Catwoman, Tom Hardy as Bane, Gary Oldman as Commissioner Jim Gordon, Joseph Gordon-Levitt as John Blake, Michael Caine as Alfred, Morgan Freeman as Lucius Fox, and Marion Cotillard as Miranda Tate. The film arrives in cinemas and IMAX on July 20th. You can check out my previous interview with Anne Hathaway for ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ here.

Joining ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ as this iconic character and having seen Christopher Nolan‘s first two Batman movies, what was it like to get the call that you’re playing Selina Kyle/Catwoman?

Anne Hathaway: It had been a journey just to the audition process. First it was rumours that Christopher Nolan was considering a new female character, then it was that he was going to meet with a couple girls, then he told me what the character was, then it was whether or not I was going to be one of the girls to screen-test. It was a three and a half month process, so by the time I got it, it seemed like it couldn’t possibly happen. I mean, I’d loved the character, Catwoman, since I was a little girl. It just didn’t seem possible that it would be a reality in my life. So then when I did get it and I went to set, it was one of the best experiences I’ve ever had working on a movie. It’s still very pinch yourself territory (laughs).

I knew that the franchise was extraordinary, I’d seen ‘Batman Begins’ and ‘The Dark Knight.’ I was really excited to be a part of it. I was apprehensive that I was the “new kid” and I might stick out like a sore thumb (laughs), in a way that I didn’t want to. But everyone was really inclusive, Christopher Nolan made me feel right at home right from the beginning. He was great, he gave me wonderful direction with where to start with, with the character. By my third day on set I didn’t feel like I hadn’t been on the first two films, I felt very much at home and accepted.

I can imagine a big thing about finding your character for this film, with its heightened reality, is embracing the world that has been built?

Anne Hathaway: Definitely. It’s very important to embrace the world of Gotham, even though this is based on a comic book, to embrace it as a real world. Once you do that, that kind of takes care of some of the self-consciousness you would feel doing these things that in a day to day experience you would never ever do or dream of doing. But all of a sudden that heightened reality becomes reality. So with that, I just trusted Christopher Nolan and trusted the people he put in place to guide me to my character. I did whatever they told me and tried not to let them down (laughs). And it was very fun, I was scared sometimes that I was having too much fun! I thought I should be working a bit harder, but this was a movie where the harder you worked the more fun it was.

How did you find the experience of working with someone like Christopher Nolan? Whenever I speak to actors that have worked with him, they always comment how calm he is….and that he drinks a tonne of tea.

Anne Hathaway: (Laughs) He drinks a lot of tea, a tremendous amount of tea. I think that’s his secret, it’s all about Earl Grey! I think one of the things that I really learned from him is that being stressed out won’t make a better product. He is so brilliant, so capable, he knows every aspect of filmmaking inside out – and backwards and forwards! But he never loses his cool. There are crazy stunts going on but he stays completely calm. I learned a lot about, in a way, how to approach life, not just films from that. And Chris, he’s a really good person. He’s a deeply wonderful person as well as being an extraordinary filmmaker. I think he’s able to be in the midst of chaos and keep his cool. Also, he has a legitimately brilliant mind, its become an overused word, but when I think of “brilliance” I think of Chris. It’s another overused word, but he’s a genius, these are big words, but he earns them.

You have some tremendous scenes with Christian Bale as both Bruce Wayne and Batman in ‘The Dark Knight Rises,’ how was it working opposite him?

Anne Hathaway: I loved working on this movie because, as I said, even though we were working on characters based on a comic book, everybody took it so seriously, they took their craft so seriously. Sometimes on movies, I’ve sort of been made to feel like my acting process was maybe a little bit indulgent or pretentious, on this movie it was completely supported, embraced and encouraged. And I think that’s because Christian has such a great process and Chris has been so happy with Christian’s results. First of all, Christian is an amazing actor, but also he’s had three films to really get inside this character. Where he’s able to go in this film defies the imagination. He’s impressive but he’s also vulnerable, he makes you feel for him so much. I think it’s a masterful performance and I think I was very lucky acting opposite him in as many scenes as I was. And I know this sounds weird, because there shouldn’t be degrees of authenticity, but he’s a deeply authentic person. He’s very much himself, he’s one of the smartest people I’ve ever met. He’s just such a great, great, great, great actor. Everyday was a privilege.

You get to kick some butt in this film, a lot of butt, how did you find the training process for that aspect of Selina Kyle/Catwoman?

Anne Hathaway: It was more time in the gym than I think I’ve ever spent in my whole entire life, combined (laughs), what I had to do for ‘The Dark Knight Rises.’ It was great, they showed me a lot of the stunts that they wanted me to do and a lot of the fighting styles. Chris had said that he wanted me to do all of the things that I could, and I’m a hyper-competitive person so I was like, “I wanna do it all, I want to do everything.” (Laughs) So it was about getting in as good enough shape that I could do all of my own fighting. Which I was pleased that by the end I had. And doing it in heels, I had to learn everything in flats then slowly ramp it up.

I can imagine you learn a lot on every film you make, but how was it on this set, with this cast in particular? You worked with the likes Christian Bale, Gary Oldman, Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman, Marion Cotillard, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Tom Hardy, all remarkable in their own right….

Anne Hathaway: Oh yeah, I hope I always learn from the people I work with, then especially when you’re in this kind of company. I remember coming in one day and I saw Joseph Gordon-Levitt and I was like, “Hey, you had that scene with Gary Oldman the other day, how was it?” He was like, “Oh my God, I can’t even talk about what he did.” Then I’m like, “I know, Christian Bale the other day did this thing, and Michael Caine…..” And we were just trading notes about what everyone was doing (laughs), it was like trading Baseball cards (laughs). But it was a masterclass everyday, and everybody came from such different backgrounds, but somehow everyone found the same note to play in the film. And I believe that’s to do with Christopher Nolan and strength of the script.