As I am sure you have probably heard by now, The LA Times reported yesterday both the casting and the identity of two major characters in Christopher Nolan’s third Batman movie, The Dark Knight Rises.
Anne Hathaway (The Devil Wears Prada, Rachel Getting Married) has been cast as Selina Kyle alias Catwoman. She is also one of Batman’s more famous adversaries, and this is the sixth time she will have been portrayed on screen.
Besides being a notorious cat-burglar, Selina Kyle is also notorious for stealing Batman/Bruce Wayne’s heart. Given the fate of Rachel Dawes during The Dark Knight, I’m sure this will play into the plot of the new film. Once again Nolan has decided to take a prominent character in the Bat-family and redefine them in a new universe. He is unafraid to tackle icons like the Joker and Catwoman, making them his own.
There really aren’t too many iconic Catwoman stories I can offer from the comics, but the recent Ed Brubaker/Darwyn Cooke series jumps to my mind first. However, my favorite version of the character comes from the Animated Series, which is one of the few non-comics interpretations to feature both Selina Kyle and Catwoman prominently. Here Selina is a socialite, not unlike Bruce Wayne, and does a lot of work as an animal rights activist who happens to own a lot of cats.
Not really sure what Nolan has in mind for her character beyond that, but Hathaway did a fine job in an action role as Agent 99 in Get Smart, so I think she will be good in the role under Nolan’s direction, although she stands to be the most prominent female character in the film series. And here’s hoping Bale doesn’t try to flirt with her using his growl-yelling like he did to Rachel.
Tom Hardy (Inception, Bronson) has been cast as Bane, a more recent addition to Batman’s Rogues Gallery. He was introduced in 1993 specifically as a “dark mirror” for Batman, specifically for the Knightfall storyline. Becoming known as “The Man Who Broke the Bat,” he was meant to be both a physical and mental match for Batman. Raised in a prison in the fictional Caribbean Republic of Santa Prisca, and addicted to a steroid called Venom, he becomes convinced that a recurring dream involving a bat means he should go to Gotham and defeat Batman.
Rather than a direct assault on Batman, Bane frees a mess of supervillains from Arkham, and after a few months, once Batman was worn down from rounding them up, and Bane had deduced Batman’s identity, Bane attacks Batman in the Batcave and defeats him. This is pretty much the high point in his comic book story, as most writers since have emphasized his Venom addiction and physical strength. If you want to get a leg up, you can check out the Knightfall storyline in this collection.
Nolan, however has been quoted as saying this is a new interpretation of the character, and I can’t help but think that he will have gone more towards the criminal mastermind side of Bane. At the end of The Dark Knight, Batman is on the run from the cops and there is a large vacancy in Gotham’s underworld. Can Bane fill both voids and break the Bat? We shall see, but with Hardy’s turn as a manipulating actor in Inception and a strongman in Bronson, I am sure he is the right person for the role.