"Every actress that I've ever loved has played Catwoman in some shape or form," Naya Rivera told Entertainment Tonight before her death last July

By Jen Juneau
June 22, 2021 09:12 AM

Naya Rivera was excited to sink her claws into Catwoman, her final film role before her death.

On Monday, Entertainment Tonight released behind-the-scenes footage of Rivera recording her lines as an animated version of the Gotham City villainess for Batman: The Long Halloween, Part One.

"Obviously there's a special significance for portraying Catwoman," the Glee alum said, before footage played that showed her recording her lines and viewers were given a preview of the film, which was released Tuesday.

Rivera joins a long line of women who have portrayed Catwoman, a.k.a Selina Kyle, onscreen — including Eartha Kitt, Julie Newmar, Michelle Pfeiffer, Halle Berry and Anne Hathaway in live action, and Zoë Kravitz, Jennifer Morrison and Eliza Dushku in voice roles.

"Every actress that I've ever loved has played Catwoman in some shape or form," Rivera told ET. "And I'm honored I get to play [her] for this movie."

Never miss a story — sign up for PEOPLE's free daily newsletter to stay up-to-date on the best of what PEOPLE has to offer, from juicy celebrity news to compelling human-interest stories.

naya rivera
Naya Rivera (L); Catwoman
naya rivera
Naya Rivera recording her lines as Catwoman

In a trailer for Batman: The Long Halloween, Part One, Rivera voices the iconic Selina Kyle/Catwoman opposite Bruce Wayne/Batman, voiced by Jensen Ackles.

The movie sees Batman on track to solving a string of murders in Gotham City. As his path crosses with Catwoman's, he can be heard asking, "Why are you running?" Rivera's character replies, "You could use a little fun."

The voice cast of the film also includes Josh Duhamel as Harvey Dent, Billy Burke as James Gordon, David Dastmalchian as Calendar Man, Troy Baker as the Joker, Jack Quaid as Alberto, Amy Landecker as Barbara Gordon and Titus Welliver as Carmine Falcone.

This will mark Rivera's last project, as she wasn't in production on any other titles before her death. The actress died in July 2020 as a result of a drowning accident after she and her son Josey, now 5, rented a boat at Lake Piru in Southern California.

Naya Rivera
Naya Rivera
| Credit: Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic

RELATED VIDEO: Naya Rivera's Father Opens Up About His "Heartbreaking" Final FaceTime Call with His Daughter

Josey, who was 4 at the time, had been found asleep on the boat as it drifted on the waters of Lake Piru after his mother failed to return it. And Rivera — who rose to fame playing the outspoken, gay cheerleader Santana Lopez on Fox's musical comedy series Glee — was missing.

The 33-year-old actress' body was discovered floating in a remote section of the lake five days later by Ventura County search and rescue divers.

Rivera drowned after exhausting herself while struggling to get Josey back into the boat after the two went swimming, according to a report released by the Ventura County Medical Examiner.

"It's still pretty much a big blur of pain almost a year later," the star's father, George Rivera, told PEOPLE earlier this month, fighting back tears. "Things are slowly coming a little more into focus, but I don't know if I'll ever find closure from this. I miss her every day."

The Long Halloween is a two-part film, with the first part available now on digital and Blu-ray.