"In two years I have been to nine different schools. I have eaten in nine cafeterias. I can't even remember anyone's name."
―Kat, to her dad, Dr. James Harvey.
Kathleen "Kat" Harvey is the deuteragonist in the 1995 feature flim Casper. She was born in 1982, and is the daughter of Dr James Harvey and the currently deceased Amelia Harvey. In Casper, she is a 13-year-old girl who moves to Friendship, Maine with her father, where she meets and befriends a ghost named Casper McFadden. She is portrayed by Christina Ricci.
In The Spooktacular New Adventures of Casper, Kat appears as a secondary character, continuing to live in Whipstaff Manor with Casper and his uncles. In the animated series, she is voiced by Kath Soucie.
Kathleen "Kat" Harvey was born in 1982 to James Harvey and Amelia Harvey, a middle-class American couple. When Kat was thirteen years old, Amelia abruptly passed away, which led James to give up his conventional career as a therapist and move onto parapsychology. He and Kat moved across the states, taking any available job opportunities while searching for Amelia's spirit, which James stubbornly believed was still present in the living world. Meanwhile, Kat dismissed her father's belief in ghosts as a sign of grieving, putting on a stoic face for his sake and struggling to fit in at various schools.
Because of the constant moving around, Kat was never able to maintain long-term relationships, quickly becoming lonely and embarrassed by her father's line of work (which attracted negative attention more often than not). As a result Kat developed a somewhat cynical outlook on life, growing up sooner than what was expected of a person her age.
Main article: Casper
"Yeah, right. This place is a freak's holiday."
―Kat's quote in Casper.
Casper first notices Kat while watching Hard Copy's news report on the paranormal studies of James Harvey. Smitten with her on sight, Casper uses his supernatural abilities to play the report to Carrigan Crittenden, who is staying at a nearby motel and seeking to inherit Whipstaff Manor in her late father's will. Upon seeing the report herself, Carrigan contacts Dr. Harvey immediately.
It is revealed that the Harveys have very recently moved from Santa Fe, uprooting Kat from yet another school in order to travel to Maine, where Whipstaff is located. Recognizing his daughter's unhappiness and desire to make a long-term friend, Dr. Harvey promises if he "doesn't find what he's looking" for in the form of Amelia Harvey's spirit, this assignment will be the last. Kat eagerly agrees, but makes her father "pinkie promise".
Once arriving at Whipstaff, the Harveys are greeted by Carrigan Crittenden and her attorney, Paul "Dibs" Plutzker both of whom Kat regards with a great deal of skepticism. After being ordered by Carrigan to remove the ghosts as quickly as possible, the Harveys move in and search for their respective bedrooms. Kat is secretly observed by the smitten Casper, who is attempting to work up the courage to introduce himself to her. While Kat is unpacking, Casper accidentally catches her attention by deflecting an object at the back of her head. Once she recognizes that she is face-to-face with a real ghost, Kat keels over from shock and falls to the ground unconscious. Casper is able to revive her by absorbing cold water and wringing it out over her body, but Kat remains in a state of terror, screaming and alerting Dr. Harvey. He too panics upon seeing Casper, frantically carrying Kat to a closet to hide her. It is there that Kat apologizes for disbelieving in ghosts and for "thinking he's a total loser".
Kat remains in the closet while Dr. Harvey confronts the Ghostly Trio, who have arrived home. Casper is able to free Kat from the closest after she is trapped within it by Fatso, but she flees at the sight of him, running downstairs to witness her father in combat with the Trio. After he is able to detain them with a vaccum, Kat rushes to his aid, guiding them to a safer portion of the house.
The following morning Kat enters the kitchen, first clearing the area with a "dust-buster" (hand-held vacuum). She is startled by Casper, who persuades her not to scream in order to avoid awakening his uncles. The two then begin their first real conversation over breakfast, beginning to develop a bond as Casper entertains Kat with questions about what it is like to be a ghost. James Harvey, who is still disturbed over the events of the previous night, arrives shortly afterwards, followed by the Ghostly Trio. Stretch becomes agitated with Casper after seeing his nephew has served the "air-sucking intruders" before himself and his brothers and is openly cruel to him, much to Kat's disgust. Recognizing the escalating hostility between Kat and Stretch, Dr. Harvey hurries her off her first day of school.
While at school (where she is followed by Casper), Kat is introduced to Victor "Vic" DePhilippi and Amber Whitmire, the former of which she becomes quickly attracted to and the latter of which dislikes her immediately. Aside from Vic, Kat's classmates treat with disdain and teasing, including Amber. When Kat reveals that she lives in a notorious haunted mansion and thinks it's kinda cool, if she drinks blood according to Amber, the class unanimously votes to relocate the setting of their Halloween party from Amber's new boat house to Whipstaff Manor, much to Amber's chagrin.
That afternoon, Vic surprises Kat with a visit inside her door, where they make small talk. After learning that Kat has her father's permission to host the party, Vic requests to be her date, to which Kat happily agrees. Unknown to Kat, Vic has courted her under orders from Amber, who plans to take vengeance on Kat for embarrassing her. Kat returns to her room, where Casper, having witnessed the conversation with Vic, attempts to persuade her to attend the dance with him instead and displays jealous behavior. Kat refuses, insisting that she "already has a date" and that she could not go with a ghost. Casper then takes Kat outside, flying to a nearby lighthouse that he regularly visits. While there, Kat asks him about his former life, none of which Casper can remember. He asks if this is a bad thing, but Kat denies it, replying it's "just kind of sad".
The scene cuts to Casper and Kat lying on their bed, presumably some time later. Kat wants to know why Casper has no recollection of being alive, to which he replies that all ghosts tend to forget things that no long matter to them. Kat goes on to reminisce about her mother, wondering if it is possible that Amelia has forgotten her. Casper reassures her, and Kat begins to fall asleep, only half-listening when Casper asks if she would have expressed romantic interest in him if he were still alive, or ever. Upon being kissed on the cheek by Casper, Kat misinterprets it as the wind and asks him to close the window before falling asleep alongside him.
The next day, Kat confides in her father about her date with Vic and requests money for clothing. He informs her that he would love to buy her whatever she wants, but admits that he will not be receiving any money until Carrigan Crittenden pays him. Kat appears disappointed, but understands, pleading Dr. Harvey not to let the eavesdropping Ghostly Trio ruin her party. She then goes to the attic, where she discovers Casper's former bedroom, alongside with various crates that contain old possessions. After setting everything up (off-screen), Kat invites Casper upstairs in hopes of reviving his memory of being alive. The plan is successful, and as a result Casper retrieves his mother's wedding gown for Kat to wear to the party. Shortly afterwards, he comes across an old sled, which reminds Casper that he died of an illness caught during one winter.
After discussing Casper's death, the two discover an old newspaper article about Casper's late father, J.T. McFadden. The article explains that J.T. McFadden was an inventor who claimed to be haunted by the ghost of his son. As a result, J.T. McFadden apparently built a machine intended to bring back the dead, which he called the Lazarus. However, J.T. McFadden was committed to an insane asylum before his work was complete. Realizing that this could be his chance to come back to life, Casper leads Kat to his father's secret laboratory, having her guided by a mechanical chair which leads to a hidden passage underneath the floorboards of the library. The laboratory contains various "steampunk-era" contraptions, including the Lazarus, which Kat activates by pushing a button on an old Frankenstein book. Unknown to Casper and Kat, they were followed by Carrigan and Dibs, who discover that the laboratory also contains the vault leading to the treasure they are seeking.
Meanwhile, Kat discovers a glass capsule containing an unnamed liquid that brings the deceased back to life, but only enough for one person. Kat is wary of the machine but Casper is adamant about putting it to use. While operating the machine, the serum is stolen by Carrigan and Dibs, leaving Casper and Kat baffled by the unfinished results. Shortly afterwards, Carrigan returns as a ghost, having died from a fall off a cliff during a dispute with Dibs. Unhappy that she has died, Carrigan still realizes her new powers and decides to use them to steal the treasure chest from the vault while the two young friends watch helplessly. Carrigan laughs greedily, quite impressed with herself. Dibs returns with the stolen capsule, which Casper forecfully takes back. Kat realizes her party guests have arrived and rushes to greet them upstairs before returning to the laboratory. There she and Casper install the potion into the machine, where Carrigan surprises them. She commands Dibs to transform her back into a human. Fed up with her abuse, he betrays her, claiming he will keep the treasure for himself. He decides to destroy the capsule as well making sure Carrigan remains a ghost forever. Carrigan gasps as she watches Dibs attempt to destroy the capsule knowing it is her only chance of ever coming back to life. Enraged, Carrigan berates Dibs, saying if she is forced to be dead and stay a ghost forever, then she’ll haunt him for the rest of his life. Dibs is unbothered by the threat. Carrigan then flings Dibs out a nearby window, presumably killing him. As she prepares to leave with the treasure, Casper and Kat stop her, inquiring about her "unfinished business". When Carrigan gloats, denying she has any, she is forcefully crossed over to the afterlife for the rest of eternity as the children planned. Kat retrieves the serum that Carrigan had stolen and discovers that the "treasure" was actually a baseball signed by Duke Snider of the Brooklyn Dodgers, Casper's favorite player. The treasure would have been worthless to Carrigan, meaning she got herself killed for no reason.
Just as Casper and Kat are about to use the Lazarus to bring Casper back to life, Dr. Harvey returns as a ghost, having died in a drunken accident while out with the Ghostly Trio. As a ghost, he is now loud and goofy like the Trio, but apparently lacks memory of his daughter. While Stretch and his brothers are very pleased with this turn of events, Kat is driven to tears. It is only when she reminds Dr. Harvey of their "pinkie promise" that he is reminded of who he is and what he has done. Casper, realizing that Kat needs her father alive, decides that Dr. Harvey must be brought back to the living world instead. He uses the Lazarus to revive him, thereby giving up his own chance to be alive himself again and being forced to remain a ghost. After a joyful reunion, Kat is reminded of her party and goes upstairs to play hostess.
Meanwhile, Amber and Vic sneak into the house, planning to frighten Kat by dressing up as a spooky ghost. The Ghostly Trio intervenes and drives them away before they can succeed, causing Vic (with Amber atop his shoulders) to run wildly out into the foyer. Their costume falls apart, ruining their prank and humiliating the both of them. Kat looks confused while the other students applaud, but the smile that appears on her face suggests she has figured out what happened.
Some time passes and Kat is seen sitting by herself, now dateless. She is introduced to a human Casper, who has been rewarded by Amelia Harvey's spirit for his selfless deed. The two share a dance and a kiss just as Casper transforms back into a ghost, driving the crowd into a hysterical frenzy and causing them to flee the mansion. Kat wryly comments that this was "not bad for her first party", to which Casper happily agrees. After James Harvey and the Ghostly Trio appear, everyone dances to the Little's Richard's "Casper the Friendly Ghost", thus concluding the film.
The Spooktacular New Adventures of Casper
Main article: The Spooktacular New Adventures of Casper
Kat appears as a secondary character in the animated spin-off of the feature film, although there are noticable differences in her character. While neutral to Amber in the film for the most part, Kat now openly dislikes her and behaves in a vindictive manner. Kat's personality has drastically changed as well; she is much more snide and critical of others, particularly Casper and his uncles, and desires popularity amongst her peers.
It has been debated by fans whether or not these cartoons should be accepted as canon, as an Edward Gorey-style short entitled The Ghostly Day depicts a completely different meeting between Casper and Kat than what was shown in the film.
"'Stretch'... 'Fatso'... and 'Stinkie'? Man, they had cruel parents. Wonder where Doc and Dopey sleep."
―Kat, discovering the Ghostly Trio's bedroom.
Wise beyond her years, Kat has a deadpan, wry sense of humor (which is said to be inherited from her mother) and a no-nonsense attitude. She can be stubborn and occasionally short-tempered, often putting up a stoic front to cover up her true vulnerability and self-doubt. Despite these traits, Kat remains a courageous and determined girl who isn't afraid to speak her mind and doesn't frighten easily. Kat is also empathetic and inquisitve, often expressing concern for the wellbeing of others as well as the desire to learn new things.
Even at her young age, Kat has proven herself to be intelligent and responsible, stepping up to take care of herself and her father after the sudden death of Amelia Harvey; an event that caused Kat a great deal of emotional trauma. It was through her friendship with Casper that Kat able to recover and find peace within herself.
In the Spooktacular cartoon, Kat is more snarky and sarcastic than she was in the film. Her voice is radically different is well, sounding more childlike and bubbly than in the theatrical film.
In the film, Kat is a very petite girl, standing at a mere five feet. She is slender, with a round face, broad forehead and large hazel eyes. Her hair is brown, straight and a little bit wavy and mid-length. Something of a tomboy, she typically sports oversized clothing such as henleys, crochet sweaters and cardigans, and jeans. Towards the end of the film, Kat wears a white Edwardian gown made of antique lace for her Halloween party, along with lace-up black combat boots. She is frequently seen with rings on her fingers, most prominently a large one on her thumb.
In the Spooktacular cartoon, Kat's appearence is drastically different. Her hair is much shorter and black instead of brown, with side-bangs. She also has green eyes instead of hazel. She no longer wears jewlery and dresses in an oversized gray-pink shirt, skinny jeans and white sneakers.
- The last name of the Christina Ricci's and Bill Pullman's characters is "Harvey". Harvey Comics is the long time publisher of Casper the Friendly Ghost. The surname is of Scottish, English and Irish origin.
- Was originally named Wendy in the script but changed at the last minute because otherwise Universal would have been required to buy the rights to her character as well. However, several hints that her character was originally Wendy still it made it into the film, such as the red hoodie she wears in the film during one scene that resembles her robe from the comics.
- This is the second movie in which Christina Ricci is the love interest of Devon Sawa. The other one is Now and Then (1995).
- First name, Kathleen, is Greek for the word "pure".
- Her second name is Louise, so her complete name is Kathleen Louise Harvey
- Nicknamed "Bucket" by her father.
- Admits that she doesn't have much knowledge of machinery and "couldn't even get her Easy Bake oven to work".
- The character of Kat was intended to return for the cancelled sequel of the 1995 film. Ricci was unable to reprise her role for at least another year due to attachment to another project.
- According to Hard Copy, she may have gone by the nickname "Kathy" in the past.
- Dislikes sunny-side up eggs, claiming they "kind of make her yak".
- Is a fan of Brad Pitt and Crispin Glover, having posters of both in her bedroom (A Picture Says 1000 Words).
- Mockingly called "Kitty-Kat" by Amber in the animated series. In many fan-made works, however, Stretch is the one to frequently refer to her as such.
- Does not own a cellphone (Trick's a Treat).
- Plays on a softball team (Field of Screams).
- Uses makeup powder (Day of the Living Casper).
- Hates fruitcake, claiming there is "nothing worse" (Grim and Bear It).
- At least tolerates Stinkie, as they have been shown getting along and occasionally helping each other throughout the animated series.
- In the animated series, it is mentioned that she enjoys rollerskating.
- Is seen reading The' Catcher and the Rye at one point during the animated series.
- Casper was originally filmed in 1993, it took two years because of the drawings.
- Eliza Dushku, Kristy Swanson, Scarlett Johanson and Kirsten Dunst were all considered for the role of Kat Harvey before Christina Ricci was cast.