Mike Fleming

Chris Nolan has lifted the veil off his third Batman film. He has set Anne Hathaway to play Selina Kyle, who has a double identity as Catwoman. Nolan has also acknowledged that his Inception star Tom Hardy will play the villain role of Bane, an escaped prisoner who became abnormally strong after being pumped full of drugs. Bane is known as “the man who broke the Bat” after he broke Batman’s spinal cord in the comics storyline. Warner Bros has a checkered history with the Catwoman; Michelle Pfeiffer was hailed for her performance as the feline in 1992′s Batman Returns. A subsequent attempt at a 2004 spinoff movie with Halle Berry was a flop. Hathaway has been vying for the role since last November, along with actresses that included Keira Knightley, Rachel Weisz, Naomi Watts, Blake Lively and Natalie Portman. Deadline revealed last October that Hardy was set to play the villain role. That started a guessing game over which Batbaddie he might be. Now we know. Here is the official  studio announcement.

BURBANK, CA, January 19, 2011 – 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.