The actress revealed that she idolised the character growing up, admiring her sense of humour and moral ambiguity.
"I kind of got my big break with The Princess Diaries, and during the press rounds for that everyone asked me. 'Did you always want to be a princess growing up?'" Hathaway told Hitfix.
"And the truth was, no, I wanted to be Catwoman. And I think a lot of women feel that way, and the fact that I am actually her is such a dream come true."
She continued: "I loved Catwoman's sense of humour. I love how sly she is. I love how she walks the fence and you don't know which side she's going to come down on. She's totally independent.
"Let's face it, she's badass."
Hathaway went on to discuss the rigorous physical training she underwent in order to prepare for the role.
"I'd always thought I was pretty healthy and I always thought I had worked hard in the gym," she explained. "It turns out that what I thought was hard is actually light to moderate in Catwoman's world.
"I've had to ratchet it up a notch. I have the most incredible stuntwoman in the world, and she's [taken] me and the character to another level."
Christian Bale recently spoke about Bruce Wayne's arc in the film, suggesting the character will be forced to "re-learn" how to live.
A third TV spot for the film, focusing on Tom Hardy's Bane, was released this morning.
The Dark Knight Rises is released on July 20. Watch the trailer below: