By Kevin Jagernauth | The Playlist January 12, 2011 at 3:10AM
Kate Mara & Charlotte Riley In The Mix; Eva Green & Naomi Watts Have Not Been Cast
While a number of names have been in the mix since last fall for what are apparently two major female roles in Christopher Nolan's forthcoming "The Dark Knight Rises," with production set to begin in just under five months, it looks like the director is still not done seeing what his options are.
The Hollywood Reporter reveals that testing is still underway and set to take place in the next couple of weeks with a new batch of names scheduled to try and convince Nolan they're right for the film; Keira Knightley, Anne Hathaway, Jessica Biel, Kate Mara and Charlotte Riley are all set to audition. Gemma Arterton is apparently also scheduled for a test but as she recently signed on for "Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters," scheduling conflicts with that film may take her out of the race anyway. And oh yeah, that Collider report from earlier today announcing Eva Green and Naomi Watts were cast in the film? Sorry guys, but not true. THR says that while there was interest in Watts, she's currently shooting "The Impossible" with Ewan McGregor in Thailand and is not available to even take meetings. As for Green, she's scheduled to shoot the drama "Arbitrage" with Al Pacino in April which may cause an issue with "The Dark Knight Rises" mounting immediately after.
The parts up for grabs are said to be a love interest role and more intriguing, that of Talia Al-Ghul, daughter of Ra's Al Ghul, the villain from "Batman Begins" played by Liam Neeson. Talia is both lover and foil to Batman and in the comics, she gives birth to his son.
This latest bit of news shows that Nolan is eying both familiar and lesser known names. Obviously, Knightley, Hathaway and Biel are stars and probably the kind of names that the studio would love to see in the picture, while Kate Mara (recently seen as one of the early hikers in "127 Hours") and Charlotte Riley (probably best known for being engaged to Tom Hardy) both would see the biggest roles in their careers to date if they landed the gig. If Nolan's track record from the past two Batman films is anything to go by -- with Katie Holmes and Maggie Gyllenhaal filling in the major female roles -- star power isn't necessarily a concern for him. And while Warner Bros. will certainly be whispering their suggestions in his ear, Nolan is pretty much at the point where he can do whatever the fuck he feels like as far as casting his films.
Either way, with more testing happening over the next couple of weeks, don't expect any official word soon. With expectations cranked super high for the film, Nolan will take his time to make sure all the pieces of "The Dark Knight Rises" fall into place. The film will hit theaters on July 20, 2012 but you probably already knew that and took the day off work.