Concept Art and Photos from the Catwoman Movie that Never Happened

We know Ron Shusett best as the writer and producer of Alien, as well as the producer of Total Recall. But if things had turned out differently, we might remember him as the creator of Pentizel, a movie about a feline woman stalking a dystopian future cityscape. Artist Ron Miller worked on Pentizel, and here he shares some never-before-seen concept art and production photos from the project, exclusively at io9.

Warning: Sketches of naked cat-lady may be NSFW.

Top image: Pentizel in the Northeast Corridor.

After completing Total Recall and Freejack, Alien writer/producer Ron Shusett spent several years trying to raise interest in a project called Pentizel. Hundreds of drawings and paintings were produced by artists such as Steve Hickman, Michael Wm Kaluta, Mark Rogers, Karl Kofoed, Bill Weiger and myself.

The film, based loosely on a short story by Charles de Vet, would have taken place in a near future where security and surveillance cameras were ubiquitous. Meanwhile the entire east coast of the United States from Boston to Washington has merged into an unbroken urban jungle called the Northeast Corridor.

An unscrupulous and globally powerful news network called Omninet is able to tap directly into these sources, enabling it to broadcast events even before the authorities are aware something is taking place. In the course of their 24/7 monitoring, a strange creature is discovered stalking the back alleys of the inner city. After broadcasting several attacks made by it, they are approached by a scientist who claims to have created it... and deliberately turned it loose.

The creature he has named Pentizel is not a woman who looks like a cat... but is literally a cat. He has manipulated the genes of a female black panther so that it has the intelligence and outward physical appearance of a human. In short, Pentizel is everything Catwoman can only pretend to be. The top anchor man at Omninet thinks it would be a fine idea to keep all of this from the police and to continue covering the catwoman's attacks. Better yet, he thinks it would drive ratings through the roof to orchestrate a hunt for her... and broadcast it live. He recruits one of his top reporters to do this. The reporter does eventually catch up with Pentizel...only to discover she's a great deal more than he or anyone else has bargained for. And not the least of his discoveries is that Pentizel has been manipulating Omninet and her creators as much as they have her...

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Here are some concept sketches of some of the environments and devices in Pentizel, plus some other creatures. And some prosthesis tests. Keep scrolling down for more concept art of Pentizel herself.

I was always impressed with Pentizel, because it would have been one of the vanishingly rare "monster" films with a creature that was not only wholly sympathetic but largely in control of the situation. Nor was the moral situation presented as being wholly black and white. While the real "monster" is clearly the Omninet anchor, the other major characters are not nearly as unambiguous, especially in their relationship with Pentizel. Also, as the artwork shows, Pentizel would have been filled with some striking images. Sprawling cities that make the LA of Blade Runner look like Levittown, secret genetics labs filled with insane mutant monsters, organ farms and hyper-intelligent, seductive cat-women.

And I always really liked the tag line that was going to be used for the film: "Beauty IS the Beast!"

Sadly, after nearly a decade of effort, the project was never picked up...

Concept Art and Photos from the Catwoman Movie that Never Happened

Hunting Pentizel in the Biohab.


Concept Art and Photos from the Catwoman Movie that Never HappenedPentizel's Creator
Concept Art and Photos from the Catwoman Movie that Never HappenedPentizel and the Reporter/Hunter
Concept Art and Photos from the Catwoman Movie that Never HappenedPentizel at the window of her hideout
Concept Art and Photos from the Catwoman Movie that Never HappenedPentizel by Bill Weiger
Concept Art and Photos from the Catwoman Movie that Never HappenedPentizel by Herb McGihon
Concept Art and Photos from the Catwoman Movie that Never HappenedPentizel by John Trotta
Concept Art and Photos from the Catwoman Movie that Never HappenedPentizel by John Trotta
Concept Art and Photos from the Catwoman Movie that Never HappenedPentizel by Mark Rogers
Concept Art and Photos from the Catwoman Movie that Never HappenedPentizel by Herb McGihon
Concept Art and Photos from the Catwoman Movie that Never HappenedPentizel by Steve Hickman
Concept Art and Photos from the Catwoman Movie that Never Happened
Concept Art and Photos from the Catwoman Movie that Never HappenedPentizel in the Ruins of GenTech
Concept Art and Photos from the Catwoman Movie that Never HappenedA scene from the movie
Concept Art and Photos from the Catwoman Movie that Never HappenedComparative anatomy
Concept Art and Photos from the Catwoman Movie that Never HappenedPentizel Sculpture by Weiger
Concept Art and Photos from the Catwoman Movie that Never HappenedPentizel Sketch
Concept Art and Photos from the Catwoman Movie that Never HappenedPentizel Stage One, sketch by Bill Weiger
Concept Art and Photos from the Catwoman Movie that Never HappenedPentizel with body hair removed, sketch by Bill Weiger
Concept Art and Photos from the Catwoman Movie that Never HappenedPentizel Stage 3, Post Surgery Sketch by Bill Weiger
Concept Art and Photos from the Catwoman Movie that Never HappenedPentizel by Ron Miller

Concept Art and Photos from the Catwoman Movie that Never Happened

Concept Art and Photos from the Catwoman Movie that Never Happened

Concept Art and Photos from the Catwoman Movie that Never Happened

Concept Art and Photos from the Catwoman Movie that Never Happened

Concept Art and Photos from the Catwoman Movie that Never Happened

Concept Art and Photos from the Catwoman Movie that Never Happened

Concept Art and Photos from the Catwoman Movie that Never Happened

Concept Art and Photos from the Catwoman Movie that Never Happened

Concept Art and Photos from the Catwoman Movie that Never Happened

Concept Art and Photos from the Catwoman Movie that Never Happened

Concept Art and Photos from the Catwoman Movie that Never Happened

Concept Art and Photos from the Catwoman Movie that Never Happened

Concept Art and Photos from the Catwoman Movie that Never Happened

Concept Art and Photos from the Catwoman Movie that Never Happened

Concept Art and Photos from the Catwoman Movie that Never Happened


Concept Art and Photos from the Catwoman Movie that Never HappenedThe Anatomy of Pentizel