For weeks we've been hearing rumors about the The Dark Knight Rises casting - especially with regard to potential female leads.
While it's still unclear exactly what lady characters will be portrayed in The Dark Knight Rises, a new report may have narrowed down the possible actresses moving to Gotham City, as well as lent credibility to the previous rumor of two female leads - one Bruce Wayne love interest and one Bat-villain.
Deadline claims that Nolan is schedule to meet with a group of eligible young actresses for one of two roles in The Dark Knight Rises. Similar to previous rumors, it sounds as if the film will feature two female headliners. The list of actresses up for the roles represent a terrific batch of young talent including Rachel Weisz, Naomi Watts, Blake Lively, Natalie Portman, Anne Hathaway, and Keira Knightley.
Of course, the identity of any potential characters is still tightly under-wraps; though, given the aforementioned list of potential leading ladies, any of the earlier possibilities, such as Catwoman or Talia al Ghul, could certainly still make an appearance.
That said, one interesting detail especially worth noting: the list (with the exception of Naomi Watts and Rachel Weisz) skews younger than the prior casting of Katie Holmes and Maggie Gyllenhaal. While not a huge point, a younger group of actresses could lend credibility toward rumors of Talia al Ghul, or even Harley Quinn, appearing as a villain in the film - while narrowing the Bruce Wayne love-interest down to Watts or Weisz (who, in terms of age, stick out a bit in this group).
Instead of creating another non-canon love interest (ala Rachel Dawes), could Nolan be planning on slipping Watts or Weisz into a more iconic Batman love interest role - such as Vicki Vale (previously portrayed by Kim Basinger in the first Tim Burton Batman film) or Julie Madison (played by Elle Macpherson in Batman & Robin)?
Sure, Bruce Wayne is a playboy but watching 36 year-old Christian Bale running around with Blake Lively, who is only 23 in real-life, seems like a stretch - something that a careful filmmaker like Nolan wouldn't do (imagine Ellen Page as Leonardo DiCaprio's love interest in Inception). Instead, the report seems to hint at a more intentional casting call - for younger actresses who can step into the role of a twisted, but youthful, antagonist.
Prior reports claimed that Nolan planned to cast an actresses in her late twenties or early thirties for the role of Catwoman; though, looking at the batch of actresses on the list, only a few seem capable of pulling off the Selina Kyle/Catwoman combo. That said, who would have thought Scarlett Johansson would have been so perfect for Black Widow?
Given the lashing that Halle Berry gave the Catwoman franchise, should Nolan move forward with the character, DC has got to be pushing for a Heath Ledger-level performance - to win back interest in Catwoman. Despite a myriad of talent on the list, Anne Hathaway or Keira Knightly seem like the more likely choices. Portman would certainly be interesting in the role but, given her affiliation with Marvel's Thor franchise, it's hard to imagine the prolific actress jumping into another comic book franchise female lead for awhile.
Watts (or even Weisz) would actually be my top choice for Catwoman, out the names on the list, but a love triangle featuring an older Catwoman/younger bachelorette for Bruce Wayne might get pretty complicated - even for Christopher Nolan. Maybe the director will just save that particular storyline for The Dark Knight Returns.
What do you think about the potential Bat-actresses? Who'll make the cut - and who will they play?
The Dark Knight Rises begins shooting this spring – aiming to hit theaters July 20th, 2012