'The Dark Knight Rises' Marks the End of Christian Bale's Batman Era

Christian Bale
<p> <strong>Bale,</strong> in Batman garb, filiming <em>The Dark Knight Rises</em> in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. <em>TDKR </em>is the last in the <strong>Christopher Nolan</strong>-directed <em>Batman</em> trilogy.</p>   |   Jared Wickerham/Getty Images
In a new interview, the actor recalls hanging up his cape for "the last time," calling it the end of "that Batman era."

Christian Bale has hung up his iconic Batman cape for good.

The actor has played Bruce Wayne and his superhero alter ego in all three films in Christopher Nolan's trilogy -- the last of which, The Dark Knight Rises, recently wrapped shooting for a July 20 release.

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"I wrapped a few days ago so that will be the last time I'm taking that cowl off," Bale said in an interview with the Philippine Daily Inquirer. "I believe the whole production wrapped yesterday, so it's all done. Everything's finished. It's me and Chris - that will be the end of that Batman era."

The Academy Award winning actor has played Bruce Wayne and his superhero alter-ego since 2005's Batman Begins, which has earned more than $372 million worldwide. With its 2008 sequel, The Dark Knight, Warner Bros. pulled in more than $1 billion at the box office.  

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The Dark Knight rises features a few familiar faces -- Michael Caine, Gary Oldman and Morgan Freeman -- as well as newcomers Anne Hathaway, Tom Hardy and Joseph Gordon-Levitt.

Bale sang the praises of each of his co-stars, but credits Hathaway with tackling the film's toughest job.

"When Chris watched the screen test, he agreed that Anne did a wonderful job. In many ways, she has the hardest job," he said. "There are a number of people who feel that the Catwoman role has been defined previously. So, I always saw Anne's role as being the toughest job of any of us."

The Dark Knight Rises is slated for a July 20, 2012 release and is being made with a budget of $250 million -- the highest of all three films.