Hathaway to play Catwoman, Hardy to play Bane in The Dark Knight Rises

As one door closes, a window opens. Now that the months of speculation regarding the identity of the villains in Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises have been confirmed via a press release, we can now begin to mercilessly scrutinize those decisions in the way that only an internet fanbase can.

For months now, it has been rumored that Selina Kyle and her alter ego Catwoman would be featured in the next Batman film. That was never official, but when has being official mattered to internet gossip? So the list of potential actresses ranged long and wide. Although mostly just fan gossip, at one point or another, almost every actress in Hollywood and on the international stage has been mentioned, but today Warner Bros officially announced that Catwoman will be in The Dark Knight Rises, and she will be played by Anne Hathaway.

Hathaway was one of several actresses said to be officially in the running, along with Keira Knightley, Blake Lively, Natalie Portman, Naomi Watts and Rachel Weisz.

“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.

Perhaps this is reading into things too much, but the press release specifically said that Hathaway will be playing Selina Kyle, with no mention of Catwoman. It seems fairly obvious that Catwoman will appear in the film, but the older casting news claimed that the producers were looking to cast an actress to be Bruce Wayne’s love interest. That could suggest that Selina Kyle and Bruce Wayne will also have a relationship in the film, and not just Batman and Catwoman.

This is far from the first live action appearance for the character. Michelle Pfeiffer played Catwoman in Tim Burton’s Batman Returns, while Halle Berry tried (and failed) to create a spin off franchise for the character.

Along with the casting of Hathaway, the press release also confirmed that Tom Hardy will play Bane. That means that he will not play Hugo Strange. Or the Riddler. Or Harvey Bullock. Or Hush. Or any of the dozens of others characters he has been rumored to be playing.

In the comics, Bane was known as the “man that broke the bat”, after he planned the downfall of Batman which lead to Bane breaking Batman’s spine. Originally the character used a poisonous and addictive chemical to increase his strength and physical mass, but recent iterations have had Bane show his deep respect and even admiration for Batman–even a yearning to one day be Batman. There were no clues on how the movie will portray him. The character was seen briefly seen as a lackey to Poison Ivy in Joel Schumacher’s final Batman film that shall not be named.

“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 said.

So let the discussion begin! Do you like the casting? What about the inclusion of Bane? Sound off below! The Dark Knight Rises is due out on July 20, 2012.

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