'The Dark Knight Rises' casting: New candidates for Batman's love interest ... and nemesis?

hathaway-knightleyImage Credit: Gilbert Carrasquillo/FilmMagic.com; Insidefoto/PR PhotosChristopher Nolan’s search for Hollywood’s Next Top Batman Love Interest — which really needs to be a reality show, preferably one hosted by Uma Thurman in a garland bikini — continues as he prepares to shoot his third and final Bat-flick with star Christian Bale, The Dark Knight Rises. According to the Hollywood Reporter, the Inception helmer has a short list of actresses in mind for the alleged role of Talia, who would be both lover and nemesis to Batman. None of this is confirmed (Nolan and Warner Bros. decline to comment on casting or creative details), so this latest report could be a big stinky pile of Bat guano. (Click it. I dare you.) But the names on the list are: Gemma Arterton (Prince of Persia), Jessica Biel (Stealth), Anne Hathaway, Keira Knightley, Kate Mara (127 Hours), and young British TV actress Charlotte Riley, who is also reportedly engaged to actor Tom Hardy, whom Nolan has tapped for an unspecified Batman 3 role. (Hugo Strange or Clayface: Debate!) This alleged “short list” is no longer than the list of actresses that first emerged last November via Deadline.com, which also included Hathaway and Knightley, but had Blake Lively, Natalie Portman, Naomi Watts and Rachel Weisz rounding out the mix. It’s believed that Nolan is looking to cast two female roles.

Just as provocative to hardcore comic book fans, if not more so than the alleged list of actresses, is the name attached to the part for which they are allegedly competing: Talia. To explain her significance to the Batman mythos, allow me to excerpt a passage from a previous post about The Dark Knight Rises, in which I suggested Talia might make for a nifty Bat-nemesis:

TALIA AL GHUL In Batman Begins, Liam Neeson played a criminal-terrorist named Henri Ducard, aka Ra’s al Ghul, the leader of a legendary organization of assassins called the League of Shadows. Its charter: to lay waste to great cultures gone to seed with corruption or decadence. They tried to recruit Bruce Wayne, but he disagreed with their policy on killing; Batman may be a self-appointed one-man judge and jury, but his illegal vigilante ethos draws the line at executing his enemies. Neeson’s character died in the first film’s fiery subway climax, during which Batman told Ra’s: “I won’t kill you, but I don’t have to save you.” (That’s one way to get around the no-killing rule. Shiver.) In the comics, Ra’s had a daughter — Talia. At one point, Batman even became romantically involved with her. THEORY! In Batman 3, Talia will blow into town as the new leader of the League of Shadows to finish her father’s work — i.e., destroying Gotham — and getting vengeance against Batman for killing her dad, making her an ironic counterpoint to Batman’s own morally murky V for Vendetta adventuring. Along the way: A smooch or two.”

Playing the al Ghul/League of Shadows card would give Nolan the chance to bring his trilogy full circle. But it does raise a question that I’ve long had: Why do superheroes fall for bad girls? Shouldn’t these paragons of virtue be better judges of character? Aren’t they supposed to be, like, smart and stuff? Of course, not every caped crusader is reckless with their heart; see: Superman and Lois Lane. But the ones who are baffle me. Take Bruce Wayne. This is one careful man. He spends more time meticulously maintaining an elaborate long con designed to keep his Batman identity a secret than he does actually being Batman. He’s practically obsessive-compulsive about protecting his compulsive obsession with beating the snot out of men in dark alleys dressed as a giant caped rodent. So what the hell is he doing engaging in the high risk activity of chasing after psychotic hottie tail like Catwoman? Is the tail really that hottie? Does film noir not exist in Batman’s film noir fantasy world? Does he not understand the pernicious peril of the femme fatale? Did Fatal Attraction and most of Michael Douglas’ late eighties/early nineties cinematic output simply not screen in Gotham City?

But back on point: The Dark Knight Rises. How do you feel about the new “short list” of potential actresses? Are you cool with the Talia idea — or do you think Nolan should be thinking someone more iconic like Catwoman?

Read more:
The awesome new trailer for ‘Batman: Arkham City’
Will Tom Hardy be playing Hugo Strange?
‘The Dark Knight Rises': Which superstar actresses should Christopher Nolan cast?
Who will be Batman’s next movie nemesis? Catwoman? Clayface? Maybe even… Superman?
‘The Dark Knight Rises’; the Riddler doesn’t
The Christopher Nolan Flowchart
Batman 3 to begin in April

Comments (214 total) Add your comment
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  • girl

    Ra’s al Ghul is never really dead. He has the Lazarus Pit to always bring him back to life.

    • anthony

      keira knightley ftw!!!!! she would be great

      • Dee

        With you on that one – as I was reading Jensen’s description of Talia, I could only imagine Keira playing her

      • Flanders

        I agree. Not sure Anne Hathaway has the femme fatale look like Knightly.

      • Alfredo

        sure Keira…if she gained about 20 pounds…that girl is a stick figure!

      • Ian

        I say cast Anne Hathaway as Harley Quinn. She can act and already looks like the Joker.

      • Joe

        anne hathaway? that seriously must be a joke… Keira on the other hand, insanely hot

      • Liz Lemon

        Keira is the only one on that list that I can see in a Nolan Batman film…but I still don’t really like the thought of her playing Christian Bale’s love interest.
        I want Nolan to go with someone unexpected like Rachel McAdams, Michelle Williams, Rosamund Pike, Zoe Saldana (she could be Ra’s bi-racial daughter), Moon Bloodgood, or Jessica Chastain.

      • Kendall Knight

        UGHH NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!

        None of these women are good actors, only ones should be considered are Eva Green and Naomi Watts. Anne Hathaway is incredibly overrated, its bad enough she wants to portray Judy Garland, but now this, just stay AWAY!!!

    • Anthony G

      I love Nolan’s films, and he is an amazingly solid screenwriter, but I truly, truly wish he would write substantial female roles. No matter how we slice it, all the women, everi single woman in every single movie of his has been either a love interest, or a plot device to enhance/support the male protagonist(s). And now, I pray to God that a potentially phenomenal role as Talia isn’t reduced to the generic, stock “sexy bad girl/love interest” so prevalent in comics. Make her the main villain, she has a strong motivation. It would be great to finally see a Nolan film with a woman whose entire arc doesn’t revolve around the male protagonist.

      • Mole

        I dunno, I thought Carrie-Ann Moss’ Memento character was pretty nuanced and took a cool (backwards) turn.

      • ECM

        I couldn’t agree more Anthony G. He reduces the potency of his films with his lukewarm female characters. His Batman films have been especially lacking in this department. Katie Holmes?! For shame.

      • Prunella Von Schleidlhaagen

        Completely agree.

      • carrie

        I disagree… What about Inception? Both Ellen Page and Marion Cotillard’s characters were solid, complex and interesting women, neither of which were merely a love interest or just there to “enhance the male protagonist.” (Of course Cotillard was DiCaprio’s wife, but she was much deeper than just a love interest.) But I do agree that whoever is cast to play Talia should definitely not be the “sexy bad girl” part, because that gets old pretty quick. I have faith that Nolan will get it right!

      • zack

        please not Kiera Knightley, unless she agrees to add 15 lbs to her frame AT LEAST. Anne Hathaway is too American/white to play this role. The actor playing Talia should be someone that could believably pull off an accent, not someone who sounds like she can’t ever believably pull off an accent. Mila Kunis would work, although she played a femme-ish role in Max Payne and I didn’t like her much. Whoever he picks, it’s gonna work. Nolan is gifted at casting. It’s one of his greatest skills.

        Btw, his movies do have strong female roles. They usually reveal the large weaknesses in his male roles. You can’t blame the women for not being as F—ed up as his male characters. If what you’re asking for is for the women to have more screen time or presence, write an amazing screenplay with a strong female role and email it to his agent!

      • PV

        Excellent point Anthony…and I’m so glad a man is making it this time. As a woman, Im frequently exhausted by the lack of depth in female characters in film, specifically comic movies.

        And Carrie, Cotillard’s breakdown/death were the reason DiCaprio’s character was doing the things he was doing. She was the catalyst. We never learned anything about her other than how he remembered her. She existed to give him depth, to give him a problem. We didn’t know her.

        And Ellen Page’s character, while not as involved in the male narrative as Cotillard, she still did not do very much. She was responsible for building the world….we see her practice but after that she’s a pretty passive character. We never see her in action after that. She is simply there. And then when she gets kissed by another male character, its returning to the traditional role for a female character – if you don’t know what to do with them, invent a lame love story (JJ Abrams frequently does this to his supporting female characters). There were male characters who didn’t need a romance….but both female characters were attached to some form of romantic moment and neither really did anything.

      • Caracticus

        But both female characters in Inception were basically aspects of DiCaprio’s character’s conscience: Page’s character his conscience, and Cotillard’s his guilt.

        So all those two did was drive DiCaprio’s character’s story. Their stories were there to just support his.

      • The Barron

        Arn’t there enought movies with super model invincable bullet proof ninja women? It’s so realist when the 105 pound heroin throw the 300 pound hencmen through a wall with the lick of her boney little wrist. LOL. I do love women in a cat suits, growl.

    • Jon

      I’m glad everyone can all agree that Hathaway should stay the Hellaway from this film.

      • Marc

        1) Anne Hathaway would be the worst possible choice.

        2) It probably will be Anne Hathaway, because, sadly, Nolan’s choice in women sucks (I’m looking at you, Maggie Gyllenhaal)

        3) I want to see Natasha McEelhone as Cat Woman. She and Bale had great chemistry in Laurel Canyon, and she could fill out a cat suit.

        3)If they are considering 2 female leads, have both Talia and Cat Woman. Let Cat Woman turn out to be the ‘good girl’ (in relative terms) that Batman falls for. After Holmes and Maggie G., Batman deserves some cat woman.

      • Alex

        I liked Maggie Gyllenhaal and she was defiantly an improvement over Katie Holms.

    • Cygnus

      Mila Kunis – she needs to become the new Angelina. She is HAWT and can play bad-girl well.

      • Xavier

        couldn’t agree more. She just has that “attitude” to go along with the look.

    • Angel

      Hathaway is a better at playing pyscho/scary female characters. However, Jensen’s take is too simplistic. I think Bruce will fall for Talia and Batsy will fall for her revenge plan but she won’t follow through (love?) and will be pushed to follow through by centuries-old Ra’s himself (re: Lazarus Pit). Daddy will attempt to finish the job which will put his daughter between a Bat and a hard place. Hardy and whoever else is added will just sweeten the plot with twists and thrills!

    • RJ

      Sarah Shahi !!

  • JAM

    I’m just glad that Portman isn’t on that list. Since the ‘prequels’ I feel like all her acting is just not believable. I would love to see Hathaway or Knightley in the role, preferably Knightley.

  • RICH

    nolan needs to bring a catwoman to his story something really well done that will do the character the justice that it deserves. catwoman was always a vital image in batman and to not see it in one of nolan’s movies would be a disappointment to many fans.

    • graeme

      Rachel Weisz!

      • REASON

        no, Sarah Michelle Gellar!

      • A-K87

        It’s not impossible (Neeson is almost 60 and Weisz is 40) but I reckon Neeson looks a lad younger. I think it would be cooler for a fresher face (not that I dislike Weisz’s acting or looks).

      • Solange

        I agree, Rachel Weisz would be a good choice and she has meat on her bones not like Keira. Also she would be mature and I think Keirs is seem too young for such a serious character.

      • Angel

        I love Weisz but she may be too mature the play the daughter of a psycho-killer. Qu’est-ce que c’est?

    • hobbes242

      What about Noomi Rapace? She’s hot and can seriously kick butt.

      • skeletor

        … insanely good idea?
        but she may be too busy

      • Angel

        NICE PICK! How’s her English?

  • KBJr.

    Perhaps I’m the only one, but so far the only thing that excites me about this next Batman film is the fact that it’s going to be a 3rd Nolan-era entry. Other than that, the details are slowly killing any enthusiasm I once had for the picture. From that weak film title, to the lack of a clear, credible villain it’s just sounding all rather lackluster to me. I wasn’t a big fan of ‘Batman Begins’ precisely because of that pitiful excuse for a nemesis. There was nothing interesting about Neeson’s Ghul, and I will be even more disappointed if Nolan revisits that well with the third flick.

    Can we get the friggin’ Riddler already? And while we’re at it, change that awful title.

    • D

      I really love everything about this comment.

      • Heath Ledger

        Agreed. The comment addressed all my concerns as well, including the worst title since the Phanotom Menace

      • severine

        Come back, Heath!!

    • Stacy

      Batman Begins saved Batman from being a joke! The movie was smart and a great story. Batman is my favorite comic book character and that movie showed the depth of Bruce Wayne better than any in the past. I will agree with you on 1 point the title of the movie does need changed.

    • cerberusd

      Agreed! with a capital A. However I would think, given how sharp Nolan is , he would be perfectly aware of how much of an improvement DK was over BB. Even if he decides to do multiple villains, as long as the story is focused and tight and the tone is not too light, TDKR wont suffer from BB’s problems.

    • cerberusd

      For me personally Al Ghul+ Scarecrow were quite threatening and sinister villains. It was just that we only got to see about 5 minutes of each in the entire film that made them have almost no sense of presence.

      • ST

        In fact, there was so little presence that I totally forgot Liam Neeson was even in the film! I do wish they would make the Riddler the villian. He’s more recognizable as a character and he could be played dark as well (similar to Joker). P.S. I also like Hathaway for the role if it goes in that direction. Did NOT like Maggie Gylenhall for his previous love interest. She’s okay as an actress but it just wasn’t believable that Wayne would fall for her. I didn’t buy it.

      • A-K87

        @ST.

        I think that is precisely why Nolan doesn’t want to use The Riddler. ‘Too Iconic’. He wants to weave his own story.

      • chase

        @ST I totally agree. Maggie Gylenhall is alright looking but I don’t see Bruce Wayne falling in love with someone who’s so plain.

      • Brad H

        @A-K87
        Riddler to iconic… but Joker is okay??

        Huh??

      • Brad H

        too*

    • kimmy

      agreed. i get that Nolan is trying something differnet with his Batman, but Al Ghul was really boring. there are much better (and more iconic) baddies to reinvent.

    • Nan

      RIDDLER! RIDDLER! RIDDLER! We all know Nolan likes to cast people he has already worked with so. . . Joseph Gordon Levitt as The Riddler! Yes please!

      • Mallory

        I concur. JGL is an amazing actor that needs more recognition. He’d be perfect as the Riddler. If not him, Michael C. Hall.

    • Portia

      The Riddler is just the Joker Lite.

      Why would you want to do a weaker version of what you’ve already done?

      I hope that Nolan brings Batman back into this 3rd entry… I thought the Dark Knight was good, but it made the same mistake that previous versions of Batman did… they were so fascinated with the villains that they made Batman a footnote.

      Using these female opponents, letting them get under the skin of Batman/Bruce Wayne in ambiguous relationships opens up a different kind of story opportunity, where they torment Batman on a more intimate, personal level.

  • Big Walt

    Not crazy about the list. Definitely no to Hathaway and Mara. Can’t decide on the other three. Knightly is probably the best of them for me.

  • MDS

    Always thought it would be a good idea for Talia to show up in the third one. Glad to see that it seems to be happening.

  • Rod Steel

    And where would a crime-fighting superhero find a good girl? He’s certainly around the bad ones much more often.

  • Cate

    Please NOT jessica biel! I can’t stand her!!! There are so much more talented actresses up for this (if this is true).

    • TKGM

      No doubt, she’s an awful actress.

    • Jeanne

      Amen! Easy Virtue was a torturous experience.

  • Reena

    Please NO Jessica Beil she can not act Im sorry thats just my opinion but she cant atleast go with an unknown and I am an Anne Hathaway fan but couldnt see her in this role.

    • Solange

      I agree, Jessica Beil is not a great actor

    • strickens girl

      Jessica Beil couldn’t act her way out of paper bag.

  • shamangrrl

    I like the idea of Talia – it’s something a little different, as opposed to always going with the likes of Catwoman. However, I have no desire to see any of the actresses on the shortlist play the part. I can’t imagine any of them bringing depth and credibility to the role. Basically, the list is “Pretty girls who can act pretty”, and I want smart, gritty, conniving and canny. But what do I know?

    • PV

      ditto.

      Need a Michelle Forbes, Eliza Dushku (say what you will about her acting skills, but the woman can do dark and villainous), Anna Silk, Katie McGrath (from Merlin), Archie Penjabi, Morena Baccarin (though might thematically conflict with V), or Anna Torv.

      • tjj50

        Oh, I dig the Archie Penjabi suggestion!

    • Katie

      Talia is an excellent choice; I’m done with Catwoman. He should bring Harley Quinn into the mix and revamp her. Talia has a dead father b/c Batman; Joker got caught by Batman. Two women taking over what they left would be amazing. The Riddler or Mad Hatter would be interesting to see also. I just hope they go with a girl for acting, not for her name (No Jessica Biel or Kiera Knightly).

  • Jobless

    I’m not even a huge fan but Keira Knightley seems to be the logical choice for Talia.

  • Steph

    Oh not Jessica Biel, c’mon Nolan, you messed up with Katie Holmes- don’t do it again!

  • The Dude

    I think it’s time for EW (and all other outlets) to stop publishing stories on the speculation of casting choices for Nolan’s next film, because there were about 50 stories like this that erupted yesterday and none of them turned out to be true (one went so far as to claim that the female roles had been cast already, and that Eva Green and Namoi Watts were hired). Just let Nolan do his thing.

    • Phil

      EW has to run such a story as this since they are owned by Time-Warner who in turn is releasing the movie. If Jeff didnt write up a piece such as this, he’d be getting an email from his boss, who already got an email from corporate.

  • natalie

    anyone but knightly

  • Craig Ranapia

    *sigh* So, Nolan started out saying he was aiming for a “heightened reality” but now he’s going to head right back to that tiresome, campy comic book trope: “You killed my father, I’m going to take my revenge… except, golly, you’re really hot and black leather turns me on. Let’s make out!”

    Ugh… I was hoping Nolan would nut up, and go for a gritter Selina Kyle/Catwoman, similar to Frank Miller’s take in ‘Batman: Year One’. Never mind.

    • YorickB

      Craig, you do realize the plot is all speculation at this point don’t you? Why don’t we wait and see before you start complaining.

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