Warner Brothers just revealed two major casting announcements for Christopher Nolan‘s THE DARK KNIGHT RISES: Anne Hathaway will slink into the Catwoman costume as Batman’s feline foil while Tom Hardy will take on the super-strengthened villain Bane.
While Catwoman has appeared on-screen with varying degrees of success (Michelle Pfeiffer) and failure (Halle Berry), Bane looms large in the Dark Knight’s lore as a terrifyingly formidable adversary, actually crushing Batman’s spine inDC Comics’ Batman #497 from July 1993. This earned Bane the supervillain distinction of being the only one to have “broken the Bat.”
Meanwhile, fans of Nolan’s dark reboot of the Gotham City crimefighter are no doubt buzzing with debate whether Hathaway’s screen persona is too nice and sweet to slink around in a skin-tight catsuit whipping Batman into a frenzy. Pfeiffer didn’t seem like a natural fit when she played Catwoman for Tim Burton in BATMAN RETURNS (1992), but the director’s quirky, dark approach and Pfeiffer’s take on Selina Kyle being an emotionally damaged woman gave the Catwoman some measure of gravitas. Obviously Halle Berry’s portrayal of the character (Patience Phillips?) in 2004 was considerably less impressive in a wholly ill-conceived spin-off project. While that failure truly has no relation to the historic lore of the real Catwoman, Berry’s flop certainly tainted the character name going forward.
Will Hathaway surprise doubters by taking the acting/persona risks required to drag Catwoman into the much more serious, mature universe of Nolan’s DARK KNIGHT universe? The director must think so given his casting choice of Hathaway over a strong field of female lead contenders including Keira Knightley, Rachel Weisz, Natalie Portman and Naomi Watts among others. There’s much less doubt about Hardy’s ability to bring Bane to life, given his successful track record with and without Nolan already, though admittedly the role has far less cinematic expectation to meet.
Below is the official Warner Brothers press release from this morning:
BURBANK, CA, January 19, 2011 – Warner Bros. Pictures announced today that Anne Hathaway has been cast as Selina Kyle in Christopher Nolan’s “The Dark Knight Rises.” She will be starring alongside Christian Bale, who returns in the title role of Bruce Wayne/Batman.
Christopher Nolan stated, “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.”
In addition, Tom Hardy has been set to play Bane. Nolan 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.”
Nolan will direct the film from a screenplay he wrote with Jonathan Nolan, from a story by Christopher Nolan and David S. Goyer. Nolan will also produce the film with his longtime producing partner, Emma Thomas, and Charles Roven.
“The Dark Knight Rises” is slated for release on July 20, 2012. The film will be distributed worldwide by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company.