Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Official Batman Casting News!

The word is out, and straight from the horse's mouth, confirming the two major villains who will appear in The Dark Knight Rises, Christopher Nolan's hotly anticipated sequel to The Dark Knight. A happy coincidence, considering I was just writing up my thoughts on the Batman movies thus far.

Official Press Statement:

"Warner Bros. Pictures announced today that Anne Hathaway has been cast as Selina Kyle in Christopher Nolan’s “The Dark Knight Rises.” She will be starring alongside Christian Bale, who returns in the title role of Bruce Wayne/Batman. Christopher Nolan stated, “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.”
In addition, Tom Hardy has been set to play Bane. Nolan said, “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 will direct the film from a screenplay he wrote with Jonathan Nolan, from a story by Christopher Nolan and David S. Goyer. Nolan will also produce the film with his longtime producing partner, Emma Thomas, and Charles Roven. “The Dark Knight Rises” is slated for release on July 20, 2012. The film will be distributed worldwide by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company."

Wow, I was completely not expecting that at all. I really have wanted to see how Chris Nolan would interpret Bane, and I'm glad that we're getting a Catwoman - it isn't really Batman unless his relationship with Catwoman is explored. Tom Hardy is a good actor, but I've always thought of Bane as Hispanic, and I'm not so sure how they are going to achieved the "pumped-full-of-steroids" look for Bane - a CGI effect ala the Incredible Hulk is probably how they'll go, if not Hardy will be a more realistically-proportioned Bane.

Tom Hardy is...
...Bane

Anne Hathaway certainly isn't the name that immediately comes to mind when someone says "Catwoman"  - I've always been rooting for Stana Katic, Moon Bloodgood, Rhona Mitra - maybe even Marion Cotillard, after her performance in Inception as Mal. Hathaway really looks a good deal too sweet to play the dangerously seductive femme fatale, but she's proven she has a much wider range beyond a modern-day Disney princess.



Anne Hathaway is...
...Catwoman


I've gotta say, I'm really excited to see how both characters will look in-costume. The expectations are piling higher than ever now, but I'm confident Chris Nolan will pull through!

I think I speak for many when I say that for all the strengths of the Chris Nolan Batman films, Rachel Dawes was an awful, flat character - especially when there are so many interesting women in the Batman comics to choose from to adapt to the screen. I'm very interested to see how Nolan, the other writers and conceptual artists change the backstory for Selina Kyle. They merged Ra's Al Ghul and Henri Ducard into one composite character, gave the Joker a deliberately ambiguous past, and set up Harvey Dent for his fall to becoming Two-Face - all done very well. Nolan has been able to pretty much walk a delicate balance between adding fresh and original twists to well-known characters, and also pleasing the fanbase. Heath Ledger's Joker is very different from what we have in the comics, and even from earlier portrayals by Ceaser Romero, Jack Nicholson and Mark Hamill. Is it better? Don't know. Did it work in the context of the film universe? Yes, it sure did. So, I'm hoping something like that materialises for Hathaway's Catwoman, and just as much for Hardy's Bane.

It's quite interesting how all the controversy and speculation is mainly tied to Anne Hathaway's casting. Tom Hardy as Bane is actually just as intriguing if not even more so, and it does raise a few more questions than Hathaway as Catwoman. Will they change Bane's backstory from a genius Hispanic young man jailed in a prison island? How will they handle the issue of the "venom", and of Bane's superhuman strength and appearance? Once again, really itching to see concept art and photos of the actors in costume.

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