Water Cooler Moment: The Dark Knight Rises villain casting

SPOILER ALERT: If you have not seen The Dark Knight, beware that some major plot elements will be discussed below.

“The Dark Knight” is a gripping and realistic film interpretation of the superhero mythos that elevated its genre beyond the confines of its comic book origins. The late Heath Ledger gave a chilling performance as Batman’s arch nemesis,  Joker, and also managed to set the benchmark for all future Batman villains. Since Ledger’s demise, speculation has rampant as to which actor will fill the void in the series third film “The Dark Knight Rises”. Director Christopher Nolan maintains that the role of the Joker will not be re-cast… at least while he’s in charge. However, other Batman villains are confirmed to be in the film.

Actress Anne Hathaway has been cast as Selina Kyle (A.K.A. Catwoman). Hathaway is known for playing smart and sexy roles in other films and should bring those qualities into her hopefully tight leather costume. The former star of “Princess Diaries” who wants to part ways with her Disney image has recently taken on more mature roles. In comics, the character Catwomen has had many different incarnations. Catwoman is a jewel thief, high-tech vigilante, and is often Batman’s conflicted love interest. With the death of Batman’s girlfriend in the previous installment, it is highly likely that Catwoman’s relationship with Batman will be an important factor in the film.

English actor Tom Hardy will play Batman’s muscle bound adversary Bane. Hardy has only recently gained international fame for his role as the face-changing Eames in the science fiction thriller, Inception. He has won critical acclaim for his transformation as Britain’s most violent criminal Michael Peterson (alias: Charles Bronson) in the excellent biopic “Bronson”. His flexibility as an actor is matched by his hardened physicality. Despite being only 5’9″ tall, Hardy is known for his ability to quickly gain muscle mass in preparation for the gritty action roles he seems to attract. The character Bane was previously mishandled in Joel Shumaker’s Batman and Robin as a supernaturally strong, dim-witted supporting villain. Expect Hardy’s Bane to be leaner, smarter, and more ruthless than his predecessor. Christian Bale’s Batman is in for a tough fight.

The “Dark Knight Rises” will feature the return of most of its original cast including Christian Bale as billionaire playboy Bruce Wayne/Batman, Michael Cane as Wayne’s loyal butler Alfred, Gary Oldman as Commissioner Gordon, and Morgan Freeman as the inventor Lucius Fox. It is expected that actor Aaron Eckhart will not reprise his role as the villain Two Face. The film is rumored to be shot mostly in IMAX format whereas “The Dark Knight” only featured several sequences. The films visual esthetic will benefit from this advanced technology should it be implemented. Other casting rumors should be taken with a grain of salt. Big name actors like Joseph Gordon Levitt Scott, Inception Actress Marion Cotillard, to comedian Robin Williams has been reported to being involved in the film.