The internet is abuzz with the latest news regarding the casting for Christopher Nolan’s follow-up to The Dark Knight, The Dark Knight Rises. It was exactly a week ago when I posted about the glut of casting rumours that were doing the rounds on the world wide web, and I questioned what was rumour and what had foundation. It seems that there was some merit to the stories doing the rounds as one of the actresses mentioned, Anne Hathaway, has been officially named as Selina Kyle. Kyle of course is the alter ego of Catwoman. That’s the first new character we have had confirmed, and the other came with the news that Tom Hardy, whose casting was confirmed some time ago, will be playing infamous Batman villain Bane. This is the first solid news we have heard since the confirmation that Nolan would be directing, and the reveal of the title.
Bane in the comics is not the mindless goon as portrayed in the awful Batman and Robin. He is most typically drawn as having grown up in a tough South American prison, and gained superior strength after being injected with an experimental drug. Hardy’s squat, powerful frame as displayed in his role as the title character in Bronson makes him a great choice for the role’s physical demands. Bane is also a very intelligent character, which will also allow Hardy to flex his acting muscles. The character is dependent on the experimental drug that gives him his power, allowing room for some meditation on addiction. One of the complaints about the villains in Nolan’s Batman series has been that none have been as physically imposing as Batman, meaning the films have been without a major hand to hand battle. Bane was the man who broke Batman’s back in the Knightfall storyline, so this is not a fear to carry into The Dark Knight Rises.
Selina Kyle is a cat burglar, stealing artefacts and valuables from the wealthy residents of Gotham. At the end of The Dark Knight Batman had become a fugitive from the law, so we could well find the character in touch with his dark side in the next movie, making a shady and ill-advised romantic dalliance with Selina/Catwoman a very viable story angle. Anne Hathaway has a wiry, athletic look, making her a good fit for an agile cat burglar. She is able to pull off both sexy and girl next door, allowing for both identities of the character (if, that is, we see the Catwoman character at all) to be explored. Hathaway is a bit of a mixed bag acting wise. She has impressed in some roles, but has acted in a lot of fluff so has not had many opportunities to shine. I had the misfortune of sitting through Bride Wars on a flight, and it wasn’t pretty. Nolan has not had much luck with his Bat-actresses, with both Katie Holmes and Maggie Gyllenhall disappointing in their roles. This can partly be blamed on the way the parts were written, so let’s hope Nolan has got that right on this occasion.
Both characters and the actors chosen to play them show promise. Hardy has shown himself to be an excellent actor, and even when Nolan was insisting that Catwoman would not appear in the third installment of his Bat-franchise I couldn’t help feel that the character was a must, particularly given Batman’s being positioned as a wanted man at the end of TDK. I’m optimistic for The Dark Knight Rises. Nolan and his team have a reputation for great casting, and with at least one more big name to come, Nolan’s final visit to Gotham is looking very exciting. We don’t yet know for certain who the ‘other’ female character will be, and I have no real preference, but I would like to see someone with the talent of Naomi Watts cast in the role if she is a fit. We anxiously await the next release of solid news, and prepare for the inevitable onslaught of rumour, conjecture and mis-information.
Bazmann – You can follow me on Twitter at