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Context

This is the Halle Berry incarnation of Catwoman from the 2004 film. Infused with cat-like powers, mystically passed down through centuries.

Things to know about this version right up front.

  • This is not Selina Kyle. In fact, the Michelle Pfeiffer version from Batman Returns, who was Selina Kyle, is pictured in this film. So, same universe, but not the same character.
  • Having said that, Berry’s character and storyline draw heavily from Pfeiffer’s portrayal. She is another Catwoman.
  • Patience Phillips doesn’t live in Gotham City, nor does she have any connection to the Batman.

This profile has S P O I L E R S.

For character profiles of other versions of Catwoman, see our guide to Catwoman character profiles.

(This movie is widely considered a terrible failure. But that’s irrelevant to our purpose of documenting fictional universes — Ed.).

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Background

  • Real Name: Patience Phillips.
  • Other Aliases: “Cat-chick”, “Cat-broad” (names floated out there by police as to what to call her).
  • Known Relatives: None.
  • Group Affiliation: None.
  • Base of Operations: San Francisco?
  • Height: 5’5″ (1.65m). Weight: 120 lbs. (54 Kg.).
  • Eyes: Dark Brown (pupil is like a cat’s eye). Hair: Black (Dyed light brown, blonde).

Powers & Abilities

Patience is a Catwoman. Possessed of cat-like senses including night-vision, enhanced vision, and augmented hearing.

Her agility is also enhanced. This gives her incredible climbing ability, balance, and stealth. All she needs is for her opponent to blink and she’s gone.

She can leap about twenty feet (six metres) and land hands first!

Catwoman (2004 movie) (Halle Berry)

Skills and gear

Her martial arts fighting style is capoeira. Catwoman can take on several trained fighters at once.

Her weapon of choice is a whip. It’s used to disarm foes and as a swing-line.

She also wears diamond-tipped clawed gloves. These are for glass cutting.

She easily slips police handcuffs.

Before her return to the living

Patience is a skilled artist and graphic designer working for the Hedare Beauty company.

She’s an introvert who apologizes a lot.

Soundtrack

One of the better bits on the movie’s soundtrack was Mis-Teeq’s “Scandalous”.

History (part 1)

Starting in Ancient Egypt, Catwomen have appeared throughout history.

Speculation was their unique abilities came through the goddess, Bast. The appearance of Catwomen coincided with the feline migration of the Egyptian Mau breed across the world.

Softer image

Patience Phillips dreamed of becoming an artist. Instead, she found herself trapped in the practical version of her passion. An advertising job in the make-up industry under overbearing boss, George Hedare.

Mr. Hedare put Patience in charge of the new “Beau-line” (pronounced Be-you-lean) advertising campaign.

However, her work submissions came in front of Mr. and Mrs. Hedare at the same time they were having marital troubles. You see, he was cheating on his wife with the newest model. George planned to take his frustrations out on Patience.

Laurel Hedare took up for her and Patience was given a second chance. She had until midnight the following day to redo her work.

Catwoman (2004 movie) (Halle Berry) Patience and Sally

Patience and her colleague Sally.

Midnight’s test

The neighbor’s all-night partying didn’t help matters.

The next morning, a cat got stuck above her window. She climbed out to help it. But got stuck herself instead. A police officer, Detective Tom Lone, thought she was a jumper! He raced up and pulled her back inside.

The cat, Midnight, was an Egyptian Mau  . It recognized something in Patience. It was testing her.

Interested, Tom followed Patience to her job place and asked her out.

Curiosity kills

Patience worked into the night to make her deadline. She finished with only 15 minutes to spare. With no carrier to deliver it, Patience hand-carried her new layout to another office across town.

When she arrived, the building was locked. She found another way and let herself in. This is how Patience discovered the truth about the Beau-line facial cream. Without constant use, it destroys the skin.

Men chased her with guns. They were completely ok with killing her to hide their boss’ secret. Patience fled into some pipes and got washed out into the bay – where she drowned.

Her corpse washed ashore.

Catwoman (2004 movie) (Halle Berry) Patience looking despondent stressed

Eight lives to go

Midnight, the cat that tested her earlier, walked up to her drowned corpse. As if on cue, a following of two dozen house cats surrounded her body. The Mau sat on her chest and breathed into her nostrils.

Patience returned to life!

Alive again, she seemed to see the world for the first time. Staring uncomprehending at her own reflection. Still, she made it back to her apartment and awoke the next day clean and dressed. The unusual cat she had previously rescued was in her apartment.

Confused, she had only vague memories of the day before. But not the company’s secret, her own death, etcetera. And she had slept through her coffee date with Tom.

Catwoman Trailer

History (part 2)

On her way to work, Patience dropped the cat off at the address on its collar – the home of one Ophelia Powers.

At the office, Mr. Hedare was furious that she hadn’t turned in her project he’d demanded by midnight. Her new Catwoman’s smart tongue earned respect from her colleagues but got her fired. An apologetic Patience couldn’t change that.

That night, the partying neighbor again wouldn’t turn down the music. So, Catwoman kicked the door down, destroyed his speakers, and demanded silence. The party was over.

Catwoman steps out

Feeling in control, possibly for the first time in her life, Patience “let Catwoman out”. Catwoman would wear the black leather outfit she swore she’d never wear. Cut and dyed her hair, make-up, the works!

Then she stole a neighbor’s motorbike. She recklessly sped through traffic. But her new powers made it easy.

Catwoman wanted nice things. Jewels. She stopped at a jewelry shop that was already closed for the night. Inside she saw three would-be crooks. She put on a mask took down the armed thieves, then took the jewels for herself.

Catwoman (2004 movie) (Halle Berry) with cat on rooftop

The repentant thief

Patience didn’t remember much in the morning. Still, a ring and a one-of-a-kind necklace caught her fancy. She kept those. This diamond necklace would be used to make her diamond-tipped claws.

She dropped the rest off at the crime scene in a brown paper bag. “Sorry” written on the outside of the bag. And… a box of cupcakes.

After an extensive Internet search, Patience noticed a common theme. The Mau cat from Egypt. She then recalled Midnight and returned to Ophelia’s house. Ophelia gave Patience a full rundown of the history of Catwomen and the abilities she now had. Also, the revelation that she had died.

Patience, with this knowledge and dressed as Catwoman, would find her own killer.

On the hunt

Traveling the rooftops, she spotted a man at the waterfront. This caused a flashback. He was one of the men shooting at her the night she died. After a quick interrogation, she learned Hedare was covering something up.

From there she went to the Hedare R&D offices. She found Slavicky, a Beau-line executive who opposed their evil plan, dead on the floor. Catwoman stood over him and was quickly framed for the murder.

Tom Lone saw the “Sorry” from the paper bag dropped at the jewelry store. It looked very like another “Sorry” written by Patience on a coffee cup as an apology.

He had the handwriting checked out by forensics. Not a match. One was written with broad spacing, indicative of loneliness. The “O” reaching out insecure. The handwriting of a people-pleaser. Now, looking at the other, the loop of the “Y”, someone self-confident almost angry. This person doesn’t like to play by all the rules.

(Yeah, the forensic guy rolled well and discerned two distinct personalities in the writing).

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Downtime

Tom and Patience went to a carnival. It looked like a romantic moment when the Ferris Wheel got stuck with them at the top. However, the wheel shook and clanged. Gears were jumping and breaking.

The old ride was coming apart still full of passengers. Both Tom, then Patience left their seats to help others.

After seeing Hedare on TV, Patience headed to his mansion for answers. Laurel surprised Catwoman, striking her with a driving wedge. She nevertheless became friendly when Catwoman explained she was looking for her husband. Laurel gave Catwoman her husband’s location, as he was out with the new model.

Catwoman attacked George Hedare at a play. She revealed that she knew he killed Patience. Detective Tom Lone showed up to stop her. She fled but he caught up with her. In a sexy play “fight”, Catwoman easily evaded capture, leaving the Detective frustrated.

She’s so sus

Patience and Tom Lone became more serious in their relationship. She brought him home for a night at her apartment. In the middle of the night, he stepped on something sharp. A discarded diamond-tipped claw.

Suspicious again, Tom took a glass with her lip-print on it. Forensics compared the lipstick on the glass to a lipstick kiss from Catwoman on his cheek. It was a match!

Laurel called and pretended to be an ally. She told Patience she was right; Beau-line was toxic and they had to stop George together.

Catwoman arrived at Laurel’s mansion. George lay dead, shot many times, with claw slashes covering his body. Laurel revealed it was she who did the murder and framed Catwoman.

The police showed up right on cue and Catwoman fled. She switched out of her leathers and simply walked away.

Catwoman (2004 movie) (Halle Berry) less revealing black leather costume

Interrogation (best scene in the movie)

The news soon reported Catwoman was a killer… again. Tom Lone, led the police to her apartment and made the arrest.

He told him all she knew about Beau-line toxicity and Laurel’s motives for killing both Slavicky and her husband. With all the evidence stacked against her, all Patience could do was ask Tom to believe in her.

In her cell, Midnight visited her, squeezing through the bars. Taking the hint, Patience slipped through her own cell bars. Avoided some officers and jumped to the ground below. She then stole a car and escaped.

Back to business

Again dressed as Catwoman, she disabled all the delivery trucks set to ship the Beau-line cream.

Detective Lone confronted Laurel alone. He told her he had evidence that proved she was the murderer. He told her he’d cover it up for her if they could cut a deal. Laurel believed his bluff and, in the process, admitted to the murder.

Tom revealed his deception and would’ve arrested her. But she shot him.

Laurel was about to finish the job when Catwoman disarmed her with a whip. She picked the Detective up and fled. After some cat and mouse action with security guards, Catwoman faced Laurel alone.

Catwoman was more than a match for Laurel. She was more skilled at fighting and much faster. But Laurel’s long use of Beau-line gave her skin like living marble.  She felt nothing.

Showdown

As the battle continued, Laurel saw an opportunity. She stabbed Catwoman in the leg limiting her mobility. She pressed her advantage and almost tossed Catwoman from the skyscraper’s window.

Catwoman rallied and fought even harder, employing her whip and quick movement to disorient Laurel. Catwoman’s fierce attacks even cracked Laurel’s hardened skin.

Laurel fell from the window when she saw her own reflection and saw her damaged face. She gave up and fell to her death.

Catwoman saves untold lives. Her name was cleared. The Hedare empire was toppled. Laurel was confirmed as the killer alongside Beau-line’s toxicity.

The papers hail Catwoman a hero!

Catwoman fight scene

Description

Patience dresses in baggy clothing and a black leather jacket. Her hair is dark brown and curly. She carries her things in a backpack.

As Catwoman, she cut and lightened her hair, and wore tight revealing leather. Her Catwoman mask given to her by Ophelia is also black leather with cat-ears.

A whip is tied to her hip.

As Catwoman, she walks with a sexy strut (meow).

Catwoman (2004 movie) (Halle Berry) face closeup smile coloured hair

Personality

Patience is a shy and unassuming artist. This is the identity that’s mostly in control. Her boss, being a self-absorbed a-hole, acts as if she doesn’t exist then berates her in front of her colleagues.

All her life, Patience felt powerless. She never stood up for herself. When she died, she reflected how she had lived an unremarkable life.

After her death and rebirth, her Catwoman persona took over.

Stray cat strut

As the Catwoman, she is very focused and determined. Ready for a fight. When angry her eyes will flash a gold color.

A fearless feline personality. The Catwoman takes over when she’s threatened.

Patience describes her new confident self as if: “She is the one saying it, doing it, but it isn’t her saying it”. She quickly apologizes for these things when others don’t like them.

She is very catlike.

  • Finding herself mesmerized by shiny objects.
  • Goes nuts over catnip and loves fish.
  • Walks on furniture on her tiptoes.
  • Drops to all fours when traveling along rooftops.
  • Purring like a cat when she likes something/someone.
  • Hissing when she doesn’t.

Catwoman (2004 movie) (Halle Berry) with previous catwomen photos Pfeiffer

Looking at depictions of other Catwomen, including the 1992 Gotham City one.

Quotes

(Friend’s advice for her date with Tom).
Sally: “We’ve got a lot of work to do. Ok, first, you’ve got to shave those legs. Uh, second, you have to wear that leather outfit Lance and I got you for your birthday.”
Patience: “First, it’s only coffee. And second, I will never ever, ever, ever wear that leather outfit.”

“Time to accessorize.”

“Amateurs.”

“Cat got your tongue ?”

Bartender: “What can I get for you ?”
Catwoman: “White Russian. No ice, hold the vodka, hold the Kahlua.”
Bartender: “Cream, straight up.”

Ophelia: “You will often be alone and misunderstood, but you will experience a freedom other women will never know. You are a Catwoman. Every sight, every smell, every sound, incredibly heightened. Fierce independence, total confidence, inhuman reflexes.”

(Lone tries to unmask Catwoman).
Catwoman: “Not on the first date.”
Detective Lone: “Don’t flatter yourself, lady, I’m taken.” (Cause he’s dating Patience)
Catwoman: “She know about us ?”
Detective Lone: “There’s no ‘us’.”

“Show of hands. Who can see in the dark ? I can.”

“I hate the rain.”

Detective Lone: “Ballistics show the same weapon killed both men. The gun that was in your hand.”
Patience: “Catwoman’s hand.”
Detective Lone: “What’s the difference !?”
Patience: “Guess it doesn’t matter.”
Detective Lone: “Don’t you understand ? All of the evidence. Every single piece. It points to you. There’s nothing that shows me anything else.”
Patience: (Softly) “There’s me. You can believe me.”

Catwoman: “You’re a fake.”
Laurel: “And what are you ? A hero ? A thief ? A freak ?”

“I might not be a hero, but I’m certainly not a killer.”

Catwoman (2004 movie) (Halle Berry) costume side crouching

DC Universe Adaptation

(This section proposes ways of using this character in DC Universe stories).

Add Patience as she is in the film. Make her a west-coast Catwoman.

She could also replace Selina Kyle in Gotham. Especially, if using the ’89 Tim Burton Gotham from the Batman movie.

(I could also see Chicago working if you rework the character to be more socially relevant. Several European metropolises would also work, especially if you create some link with Crimson Fox (Constance and Vivian d’Aramis). There could also exist a link between the Catwoman “spell” and Vixen’s Tantu Totem — Ed.).

DC Heroes RPG

Catwoman

A 614 points Character (Without Equipment).

Dex: 06 Str: 03 Bod: 03
Int: 05 Wil: 04 Min: 03
Inf: 05 Aur: 04 Spi: 03
Init: 020 HP: 020

Powers:

Directional Hearing: 05, Extended Hearing: 02, Jumping: 02, Shrinking (Only to squeeze thru): 02, Super Hearing: 04, Telescopic Vision: 05, Ultra-vision: 04

Skills:

Acrobatics (with Athletics): 08, Artist (Graphic Designer, Painter): 04, Charisma (Persuasion): 03, Charisma (Intimidation, Interrogation): 05, Martial Artist (AV, OV, RV)*: 06, Martial Artist (EV): 04, Thief (without Forgery): 09, Vehicles (Land)*: 06, Weaponry (whips)*: 06

Advantages:

Lightning Reflexes.

Connections:

Sally (High), Detective Tom Lone (High).

Drawbacks:

Minor Irrational Attraction to Tom Lone, Minor Psychological Instability (Dissociative identity disorder), Serious Irrational attraction to acting feline, Secret Identity.

Motivation:

Thrill Seeker.

Occupation:

Graphic Designer.

Wealth:

004

Equipment:

  • Black whip [BODY 04, EV 03, Stretching: 02, Limitation: Stretching allows no fine manipulation (-2)].
  • DIAMOND-TIPPED CLAWED GLOVES – used primarily for glass-cutting. She only hits one person with these, and the cuts are superficial.

Beau-line cream effects

Applied consistently to the skin over a short amount of time:

  • Removes wrinkles and makes the wearer look photoshopped.
  • Causes headaches described as the brain tightening and feeling all jumbled up. Nausea and fainting spells.
  • The cream is addictive.

All this is removed if the user stops using the cream completely. Howbeit, there is an undetermined amount of usage time where, after stopping, the user’s face becomes permanently scarred. At that point, the only way to prevent the scarring is to continue using the cream. The scarring looks bad but isn’t painful.

Since we’re talking about supers here, we need to know if this can affect everyone. The skin will be attacked by the cream with AV/EV 06/06, with even 1 RAP resulting in the above effects, but no real damage.

Applied consistently to the skin over many years:

  • Same as above except with no headaches or nausea. Stop using it and your face disintegrates.
  • Skin Armor 06, and you can’t feel a thing.

Laurel Hedare (Sharon Stone) had been the face of the Hedare company for 15 years. She used the Beau-line product throughout that time. Her BODY 03 plus Skin Armor 06 gave her a solid RV 09.

An interesting side note. Beau’s lines are a real thing. Horizontal ridges appearing on the fingernails. These can be caused by trauma to the nail or a symptom of a serious underlying condition.


Design notes

Dissociative identity disorder can be debilitating in real-life. For Catwoman, I called it a Minor Psychological Instability. Patience had memory gaps but they’re exclusively Patience not remembering what she did as Catwoman.

Many of her skills could be considered Powered Skills since she doesn’t train to get them. They are magically granted her.

The setting of the film is ambiguous. It may be San Francisco as there is a long suspension bridge seen at night.

“Midnight” is the name of the female Egyptian Mau cat that selected Patience.

A year prior, Halle Berry was in another superhero role. That of X-men’s Ororo Munroe/Storm in the 2003 film X2.

Editing caused some scenes to get moved around. This caused Patience and her co-workers to all wear the same clothes two days in a row. The scene with Midnight testing Patience was originally the first scene of the movie.

Editing also caused some characters to inexplicably teleport.

Writeups.org writer avatar Ethan Roe

By Ethan Roe.

Source of Character: 2004 movie Catwoman; played by Halle Berry

Helper(s): IMDb  .

Writeup completed on the 13th of March, 2021.