Eckhart faces 'Dark Knight' gangster role


Aaron Eckhart is in final negotiations to play Harvey Dent/Two-Face in "The Dark Knight," Warner Bros. Pictures' sequel to "Batman Begins."

In Batman lore, Dent is the district attorney of Gotham City and an ally of Batman. After half his face is disfigured by acid, Dent becomes the insane crime boss known as Two-Face, who chooses to do good or evil by flipping a coin. Tommy Lee Jones played the character in 1995's "Batman Forever."

"Knight" sees Christopher Nolan back in the director's chair for the summer 2008 release, with Christian Bale reprising his role as Bruce Wayne/Batman. Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine and Gary Oldman also are returning. Heath Ledger joined the cast in the summer, signing up to play the sardonic, murderous Joker.

The script is by Nolan's brother, Jonathan, from a story by Christopher Nolan and David Goyer. Producing are Emma Thomas, Charles Roven and Christopher Nolan.

Eckhart is riding high these days thanks to his acclaimed performance in "Thank You for Smoking," which nabbed him Golden Globe and Spirit Award nominations. He next stars opposite Catherine Zeta-Jones in "No Reservations," the American remake of the 2001 German feature "Mostly Martha." The film will be released by Warners in July. He is also starring in the untitled Alan Ball project, Ball's directorial debut.

Eckhart is repped by CAA and Hirsch Wallerstein Hayum Matlof & Fishman.