Hathaway to play Catwoman; Bane villain of choice in new Batman

Christian Bale, bottom left, returns as Batman in ‘The Dark Knight Rises,’ due in theaters next year. Anne Hathaway, bottom right, will join him as Catwoman. The franchise is based on DC Comics’ popular Batman comic book series, depicted above. (AP Photo)

Since 2008’s “The Dark Knight,” comic book and movie fans have been eagerly anticipating a sequel and the continuation of Christian Bale as the grittiest Batman in history. The movie, called “The Dark Knight Rises,” will be the last in Christopher Nolan’s series, according to Entertainment Weekly.

In late 2010, Nolan stated that the movie will not be in 3D, but no announcements were made on casting.

After the tragic death of Heath Ledger in 2008, any hope of the dynamic Joker making an appearance in the sequel was lost.

With the official announcement of the movie, speculation about its villain surfaced all over Internet blogs and forums. Nolan stated on previous occasions that he originally intended for Heath Ledger to reprise the role of the Joker. Since Ledger’s death, every member of Batman’s gallery of rogues was speculated to appear in the film, from The Riddler to a return of Aaron Eckhart as Two-Face.

The wait is now over as Warner Brothers released a statement that Anne Hathaway will be playing Selena Kyle/Catwoman, and Tom Hardy will be playing the villain, Bane. Hathaway is known for roles in films like “The Devil Wears Prada,” and Hardy was most recently seen in “Inception” as Eames.

The Catwoman character hasn’t seen a great adaptation in recent history, as the 2004 movie focused solely on Selena Kyle (Halle Berry) is notoriously terrible. The Oscar-nominated Hathaway should do justice to the character in the darker Nolan version. Nolan said that Hathaway would be a “fantastic addition to our ensemble as we complete our story.”

The villain Bane is best known for not only figuring out Batman’s secret identity but for almost snapping him in two by breaking his back. Bane is a multifaceted villain who not only has incredible criminal intelligence but great strength, enhanced by a super soldier experiment.

Unfortunately, the representation of Bane in Joel Schumacher’s “Batman & Robin” was one of a large mindless thug who had few speaking parts other than a few grunts. Hardy performed well in “Inception,” though, and Nolan seems to enjoy working with actors with whom he is comfortable. Hardy’s transition into the Batman universe should be smooth.

Both of these characters can be adapted into Nolan’s vision of Gotham City, and the response from most comic book blogs and websites has been positive. Nolan has proved in the past that he can work wonders with ensemble casts, using each actor to his or her full potential within the storyline.

“The Dark Knight Rises” has a tentative release date of July 20, 2012.

Daniel Pazos can be reached at pazos2@tcnj.edu.