Talia Al Ghul has a long and strange history with Batman. At times she’s a foe, at others a lover and through it all she’s the daughter of the Dark Knight’s immortal nemesis Ra’s Al Ghul (who you non-comic geeks will remember best as the character portrayed by Liam Neeson in Batman Begins).
Based on her father’s appearance in the original film, Christopher Nolan’s love for telling stories that inevitably circle back into themselves, and the casting of the beautiful Marion Cotillard, it has long been assumed that Ms. Cotillard would be playing Ms. Al Ghul — despite the fact that her character’s name has long been known to be Miranda Tate. The fan theory was that Tate would be an identity assumed by Al Ghul in a bid to get closer to Bruce Wayne. The character is an assassin after all, so this kind of subterfuge seems entirely plausible. Doubly so, given the intense veil of secrecy and misinformation that surrounds every Nolan film prior to release.
Earlier today though, The Hollywood Reporter published an interview with Cotillard in which she claims that this just isn’t the case. She’s a good guy in the movie, and her role is a rather small one.
Miranda Tate, according to Cotillard, is a business woman who “is fascinated by Wayne Enterprises. They go through difficulties, and she wants to help provide the world clean energies. She’s a good guy.” When asked if she remains a good guy throughout the film, Cotillard offered a simple, direct “Yes.”
So, there you have it, right? We would like to take Cotillard’s words at face value, but again, Christopher Nolan is intensely protective of his films, and has an uncanny ability to create an amazing level of secrecy around them. Everything we know of The Dark Knight Rises was provided by Nolan in a calculated effort to attain pre-release hype while still keeping us all in the dark as to how this film would actually play out. It doesn’t seem unlikely that Nolan would convinced Cotillard to blatantly lie about her character in the film, and it may even be a stipulation of her hiring.
Given that Talia Al Ghul is in the film — that much has been confirmed by this Bleeding Cool story about a little girl who turned down the role of a young Talia — we would have to expect that Nolan would cast a relatively big-name actress for the role. Given Cotillard’s rising fame, and the fact that The Dark Knight Rises is something of a cast reunion for Nolan’s 2010 Inception (in which Cotillard played Mal), it still seems quite likely that Cotillard is Talia Al Ghul, despite her claims.
Still, it doesn’t look like we’ll know for sure until The Dark Knight Rises hits theaters on July 20. This anxious waiting is the worst.