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

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Image 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