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Judd a Purr-fect Catwoman

After a meeting last week with producer Denise DiNovi and Warner Bros. executives Kevin McCormick and Lorenzo di Bonaventura, Ashley Judd signed to play the feline felon Catwoman in an original film. The Batman franchise has been the WBís most lucrative franchise even though the last installment, Batman and Robin, was a disappointment. In an effort to re-energize the series, WB began development last fall on two other Batman films. The Catwoman project would be the third in the works.

Darren Aronofsky (Requim for a Dream) has been hired to write and direct a Batman prequel called Batman: Year One, inspired by Frank Millerís miniseries of the same name. Simultaneously, Boaz Yakin (Remember the Titans) has been hired to develop and direct a cyberpunk-styled, live-action film version of Batman Beyond, based on the animated show by Paul Dini and Alan Burnett, who are participating in development. Beyond is set 40 from now with a retired Bruce Wayne advising a new Dark Knight.

Catwoman was previously played by Michelle Pfeiffer in 1992ís Batman Returns. Judd currently appears opposite superhero movie alum Hugh Jackman (Wolverine in X-Men) in Someone Like You. She is scheduled to start filming The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood next with Sandra Bullock and Ellen Burstyn for director Callie Khouri. No production schedule has been set for Catwoman due to the possible actors and writers strikes.