No surprise, Julie Newmar practically purrs into the telephone when asked about her new comic book project.
“It won’t be out until December,” the actress said of “Secret Lives of Julie Newmar” from Bluewater Productions. “I’ve seen part of it and it’s a lot of fun. I grew up on ‘ Brenda Starr‘ so when I saw the image, the drawing, I had them turn the hair a little bit red — more red than the brownish-red — because I remembered that came off the page a little bit more in comics. It’s more lively or maybe it’s just what I remembered liking as a reader.”
“Secret Lives of Julie Newmar” is a spin-off of Bluewater’s “Mis-Adventures of Adam West” and both, of course, bank on the pop-culture affection for the “Batman” television series of the 1960s that presented a groovy Gotham City and camped-up Caped Crusader. Newmar memorably portrayed Catwoman on the show but she did not join West, Burt Ward and other cast members in the tie-in “Batman” feature film of 1966 and — according to the playful plot of the Bluewater comic — the reason for her absence was a time-travel adventure. It seems there was a top-secret organization called Hour Glass that drafted the nubile Newmar and now needs her again to hunt down a renegade scientist named Doctor Vertigo.
There’s a dash of Austin Powers, ”Men in Black,” and “Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure” in the story by Marc Shapiro and Newmar says all of it is just good fun.
“One thing I wanted them to do was to not make the character overly masculine,” Newmar said. “I looked at a lot of comic books and a lot of the women are so over muscled they just look way too masculine to me. I think you need sharp, smart and witty — that’s what women have, and they can remain completely feminine, visually.”
Newmar has said that she thinks Anne Hathaway will do well as the new Catwoman but, choosing her words carefully, the 78-year-old actress also says she misses the days when Batman fought crime with a wink instead of a scowl.
“This is what I get from people when they talk to me about the original Catwoman and compare it to the latter ones,” Newmar said. “I think people prefer the more humorous one, the lighter one. People seem to complain that the recent ones are too dark in spirit. But that’s what reflects what’s going on. That’s what film and acting and everything is. … I don’t envy someone that has to play Batman or Catwoman today. It was a heck of a lot more fun when Adam West and I did it.”
– Geoff Boucher
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