Warner Bros officially announced today that Anne Hathaway has been cast as Selina Kyle (a.k.a. Catwoman) in Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises. The previously announced Tom Hardy will be playing Bane.
“I am thrilled to have the opportunity to work with Anne Hathaway, who will be a fantastic addition to our ensemble as we complete our story,” Nolan said in the press release.
Hathaway was among a shortlist of rumored actresses testing for the two females leads in Nolan’s third and final installment in the Batman trilogy. Other contenders included Keira Knightley, Jessica Biel, Kate Mara, Charlotte Riley, and Gemma Arterton, though it is unclear if any will be considered for the second role.
Batman fans had speculated about the introduction of Talia al Ghul, the beautiful daughter of Ra’s al Ghul (played in Batman Begins by Liam Neeson) and an expected continuation of Nolan’s gritty Gotham. But, despite Halle Berry’s hilarious rendition of the leather-suited character, Catwoman was always a viable “villain” due to her strong-willed personality and palpable sexual energy. In “Batman: Dark Victory,” the sequel to the “Long Halloween” series that has influenced the film trilogy, Kyle suspects she is the illegitimate daughter of Carmine Falcone, which could keep the story firmly planted in corrupt, mob-filled territory.
On Hardy, who worked with Nolan on Inception, the director said, “I am delighted to be working with Tom again and excited to watch him bring to life our new interpretation of one of Batman’s most formidable enemies.” In 1997′s Batman & Robin, the steroid/venom-infused Bane was played by Robert “Jeep” Swenson, a pro wrestler.
Bane is often portrayed as a mindless, muscled thug, but the character is an incredibly intelligent criminal that conditioned his mind (as well as his body) in prison by studying various scientific disciples. In 1998′s “Bane of the Demon,” Ra’s Al Ghul said Bane “has a mind equal to the greatest he has known.”
Both Bane and Catwoman appear in the comic book arc titled “Batman: Knightfall,” a series that ran in the spring and summer of 1993. The plot begins with Bane, a physically-intimidating murderer, freeing all the criminals from Arkham Asylum and forcing Batman to clean up the streets of Gotham once again. In a confrontation at Wayne Manor (after Bane uncovers Batman’s true identity), Bane breaks Batman/Bruce Wayne’s back, leaving him a paraplegic. In his absence, Tim Drake/Robin assumes the identity — though it should be noted that Nolan and Christian Bale have nixed the possibility of Batman’s boy sidekick in the movie. Catwoman is approached by Bane’s henchman to join their criminal organization, but she refuses, unwilling to be in league with the villain that broke Batman.
The Dark Knight Rises will begin filming in April for a July 20, 2012 release. Please feel free to weigh in on the casting/villain choices below.