We've actually known for a while that director Christopher Nolan had been meeting with actresses to potentially star as the new leading lady for his upcoming third Batman film The Dark Knight Rises. Well, if Deadline's recent report pans out, then the actresses in question are certainly not a bunch that were plucked from the depths of obscurity. They name Rachel Weisz, Natalie Portman, Naomi Watts, Blake Lively, Anne Hathaway, and Keira Knightley (pictured below left-to-right, top-bottom) as the final sextet of this process, which will actually fill vacancies for two roles. One will be Batman's new love interest to replace Rachel, the one that somehow transformed from Katie Holmes into Maggie Gyllenhaal and then got blown up. However, the other, will be as one of the film's villains. Details about exactly which characters these will be are obviously still top secret under lawful penalty of castration and forced viewings of Golden Girls marathons. Ah, but to risk using an infomercial cliché: But wait -- there's more! The folks over at ComicBookMovie believe they have uncovered three more gorgeous starlets who may also be in the running. Did this just get interesting? (That wasn't rhetorical, btw. I'm really asking you. I'm not too sure at this point.)
So, we have what I'm referring to (for the sake of showmanship) as "The Deadline Six." All of these beautiful ladies are well known stars, so I will not insult you by including biographies. However, the three candidates that CBM named are not so much in the household name category. First of the group (pictured left-to-right below), there's Piper Perabo who's probably still best known for whiskey-bottle-juggling and table-dancing in Coyote Ugly, but is also currently kicking ass on a regular basis on USA's Covert Affairs. French ingenue, Marion Cotillard actually took the Oscar for Best Actress in 2008 for La Vie en Rose and has been seen in Public Enemies and recently in Inception for, coincidentally, director Christopher Nolan. And finally, the untested commodity of the bunch in Tanit Phoenix. If right-click-saves equated box-office dollars, she'd likely be the front-runner for the cast, since the Internet is full of sexy pics of this voluptuous South African vixen. Her resume may be a bit thin, but with roles in Lord of War with Nicolas Cage, Lost Boys: The Thirst, and (the Statham-less) Death Race 2, there seems to be a lot of behind-the-scenes momentum in her favor and that one breakthrough role may be just around the corner. In fact, recent rumors even had her pegged as a candidate for the new Wonder Woman in the upcoming David E. Kelley-helmed TV revival. **Runs back to Google image page**
As far as all of them go, I can honestly say that Rachel Weisz is the likely front-runner for the part of the villain-ess, since she is probably the stongest actress in the bunch, has plenty of action/sci-fi experience, and carries a nice, sophisticated nuance. In fact, her name has been in the rumor mills for at least a year for the role of Catwoman. However, buzz also seems to be behind the character of Talia Al Ghul, the daughter of Ra's Al Ghul which was the secret identity of Liam Neeson's vanquished character in Batman Begins. (Assuming Nolan wants to steer away from supernatural things like Lazarus Pits and whatnot.) From the standpoint of wanting to complete this trilogy of Batman films in a compelling, circular way, Talia makes the most sense. However, I also get the impression that Batman Begins was the black sheep of this family of Bat-films and, if anything, from studio pressure, they may not want to center the swan song of the franchise's current iteration around a plot where that first film is required viewing. Additionally, Catwoman seems to be on just about everyone's short-list and it may disappoint fans if we don't get to see her in this series. Yet, you never know. If the story's strong enough, it may get by.
There's always the possibility that we may get a compromise option in which we get Catwoman as both a villain AND a love interest with Talia just as a villain who would also add plenty of sexual tension to the mix. I've gotta say, that sounds like a movie to me. (Albeit one that airs at 1:30 AM on Cinemax.) So, pretending, as I tend to do, that my opinion has weight, I'd like to see Rachel Weisz as Catwoman/Selina Kyle, and maybe Tanit Phoenix as a vengeful, sexy, and exotic Talia Al Gul. (With Tom Hardy waiting in the wings, set for a potential role of a villain, as well.)
Let's get some opinions on the table, shall we? Who would you like to see take up these coveted roles for The Dark Knight Rises?