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Anne Hathaway Cast as Catwoman in 'Dark Knight Rises'

She will star opposite Christian Bale.

Anne Hathaway
Jason Merritt/Getty Images
Anne Hathaway

Anne Hathaway has nabbed the coveted female lead opposite Christian Bale in Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight Rises.

Warner Bros. made the announcement Wednesday morning.

GALLERY: See a history of actresses who have played Catwoman.

The studio also revealed which character Tom Hardy, who joined the cast last fall, will play: Bane.

Bane, a man who spent his whole life in prison, was a test subject for a drug that gave him increased strength, although he also became addicted to that drug. As opposed to some of the more classic villains that have populated the Batman movies, Bane is a more recent creation (1993) and is best known for a story where he broke Batman’s back, leaving the hero a paraplegic.

“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 said in a statement.

Hathaway was on the the list of actresses which tested for the role in recent weeks, along with Jessica Biel and Keira Knightley, as revealed by Heat Vision.

The test involved Bale, who had to leave his National Board of Review in New York dinner early so he could catch a flight back to LA. to conduct.

The announcement didn’t actually name Hathaway’s character as Catwoman, which keeps in line with Nolan’s more grounded approach to the movie series.

Michelle Pfeiffer starred as Kyle/Catwoman in Tim Burton’s Batman Returns.

The character, as interpreted by Burton, was a meek secretary who becomes empowered after she is almost killed and left for dead.

Pfeiffer played her with a mix of repression and sensuality, with the character breaking out as a symbol of female empowerment and becoming a pop culture sensation.

In his interpretation, Nolan has been giving his characters a deeper and darker psychological edge.

Nolan and his team of writers (he wrote the screenplay with his brother Jonah Nolan, from a story by Nolan and David S. Goyer) have taken some inspiration for their take on Batman from the classic Batman: Year One storyline by Frank Miller and David Mazzucchelli, by way of asking, “What if the story continued?”

The Catwoman in Year One was a prostitute-dominatrix who helps Batman even as he inadvertently inspires her to don a costume and embark on a life of crime.

Warner gave no indication if this was Nolan’s take on the character.

Julie Newmar, Eartha Kitt and Lee Meriweather played Catwoman opposite Adam West in the Batman TV show and movie of the 1960s, while Halle Berry portrayed the character in the failed 2004 spinoff movie.

The movie is looking at a May start, with shooting to take place in London and Los Angeles. It’s slated for release on July 20, 2012.