Anne Hathaway Cast as Catwoman in ‘The Dark Knight Rises’

Even before The Dark Knight finished its historic box-office run, the guessing games about who would play the villain(s) in the inevitable sequel had begun. Whoever it was would have some very big (and scuffed up) shoes to fill. Names like Johnny Depp, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and Cher were bandied about by countless outlets (including, ahem, us). Then Tom Hardy — fresh off his break-through work with Christopher Nolan in Inception — was cast as an unknown heavy. Shortlists of top actresses started popping up in the press, all of whom were apparently testing for the film. Well, the rumors end here. At a surprisingly early date in The Dark Knight Rises‘s production – it doesn’t go before cameras until the summer – Warner Bros. has issued an official press release announcing that Anne Hathaway will take on the role of Catwoman. Tom Hardy will be playing escaped convict and super-villain Bane.

At this point, we find it almost impossible to argue with Christopher Nolan. Anne Hathaway-as-evildoer might be a tough sell, but did anyone other than Nolan think that Heath Ledger had this in him? No, no they didn’t. As for Hardy, his casting as Bane may come as a surprise to comic book fans, since the genetically hulked-up baddie hasn’t been a major figure in Batman’s cinematic rogue gallery (although he did make an appearance in Batman & Robin). Read the press release below, which you’ll notice only refers to Hathaway’s character as Catwoman’s alter-ego, Selina Kyle, but, you know.

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.

And for those of you who have begun fantasizing what Anne Hathaway might look like in skin-tight leather, no need.

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