Young Ra’s al Ghul cast in The Dark Knight Rises

When it comes to The Dark Knight Rises, who needs minor little details–like what the plot is about—when we have tons of casting rumors? So far, the cast of The Dark Knight Rises has been fairly impressive. It is a mix of A-level talent, up-and-coming stars, and performers that have earned a reputation for their acting skills. The cast list is reading more and more like what you might see 10-years from now on the Oscar red carpet circuit. Add to that list The Social Network’s Josh Pence, who will play a young Ra’s al Ghul.

Odds are you have never heard of the guy. His role in The Social Network was unusual, as he played one of the Wiklevoss twins, who then had his face digitally removed to allow the visage of Armie Hammer to replace it. And yet the role gained him the attention of many in Hollywood who claimed that the performance was all the more difficult, knowing that he would be digitally altered in post-production. Following The Social Network, Pence was then cast in a fairly substantial supporting role in Peter Berg’s upcoming film, Battleship, starring Liam Neeson—who coincidentally, Pence will play the younger version of in the next Batman film.

The Hollywood Reporter is claiming that Pence will play a young Ra’s al Ghul in what the site describes as a “key flashback”. The character of al Ghul (played in Batman Begins by Liam Neeson) perished in the first of Nolan’s Batman films, but the use of the character does further hint at the inclusion of Talia al Ghul, the daughter of Ra’s.

Rumors have been swirling for months that the character would appear in the next movie as an antagonist and possible love interest for Bruce Wayne/Batman, and numerous reports have suggested that French actress Marion Cotillard (Inception, Nine) has been offered the role. Negotiations have supposedly begun between the actress and the studio, but nothing has been confirmed.

Pence joins an ensemble cast that includes Tom Hardy as Bane and Joseph Gordon-Leavitt as Alberto Falcone—both of who will likely be villains. Anne Hathaway is also confirmed as Selina Kyle/Catwoman, although it is unclear whether or not she will be a hero or villain, and Juno Temple  is also rumored to be in negotiations to play a “street-smart Gotham girl”. Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman and Gary Oldman all reprise their roles, as of course, does Christian Bale.

The Dark Knight Rises begins filming in Pittsburgh this May, and will be released in theaters on July 20, 2012.

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