October 22, 2016
        Hollywood Contenders: New Oscar Predictions for October                Nicole Kidman, Hugh Grant, Naomie Harris, Lily Collins get Honors at 20th Annual Hollywood Film Awards                "Manchester by the Sea" leads the Gotham Award nominations                Tom Ford, Marc Platt and Kenneth Lonergan to be Honored at 20th Annual Hollywood Film Awards                Tom Cruise is in his action hero comfort zone with "Jack Reacher: Never Go Back"                "Moonlight" could be A24's big Oscar horse this year                Ewan McGregor steps behind the camera with "American Pastoral"                Hollywood Contenders: A second crack at Golden Globe predictions for 2016                "The Accountant" seeks to help give Ben Affleck another blockbuster                85 countries will be competing for Best Foreign Language Feature nominations at the Oscars                Tom Hanks to receive Hollywood Actor Award for "Sully" @ Hollywood Film Awards                "Certain Women" showcases Laura Dern, Kristen Stewart, and Michelle Williams                Ben Affleck is perhaps Hollywood's biggest and most diverse superstar                "The Birth of a Nation" looks to survive controversy and contend for awards                "The Girl on the Train" hopes to transport Emily Blunt to the Oscar race        

Keira Knightley, Anne Hathaway vying for Batman roles?

By Sean O’Connell
Hollywoodnews.com: Time to sift through the latest batch of “The Dark Knight Rises” casting rumors.

We continue to focus on the actresses vying for roles in Christopher Nolan’s third spin in the Batmobile, primarily because the main male parts have been filled by the likes of Christian Bale, Gary Oldman and Michael Caine. It also has been revealed by sources close to the production – which, of course, is being kept under wraps – that Nolan would like to cast two actresses, one as a villain and one as a love interest.

Collider advanced the rumor that the female villain in question would be Talia al Ghul, daughter of Ra’s al Ghul (played by Liam Neeson in “Batman Begins”). The site then linked Eva Green to the role, but admitted it was a rumor.

Another rumor floated by the site was that Naomi Watts was “going to be cast” as love interest Vicki Vale, a character most will remember from Tim Burton’s initial “Batman” (she was played by Kim Basinger).

Why are we hesitant to embrace Green or Watts as sure-fire “Dark Knight” players? Because neither name shows up in a report filed by Heat Vision.

Ah, the joy of casting rumors!

Borys Kit, instead, reports that Nolan’s shortlist for “Dark Knight Rises” includes Keira Knightley, Anne Hathaway and Jessica Biel, adding that they are expected to screen test in the next few weeks. Heat Vision also mentions Kate Mara and Charlotte Riley as contenders.

The site also confirms Talia al Ghul as a potential villain, so that’s sounding closer and closer to becoming fact instead of speculation.

But really, with a project of this scope, we won’t know anything for sure until Nolan comes out and tells us … and even then, I’d be suspicious of the old bait and switch!

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About Sean O'Connell

Sean O'Connell is a nationally recognized film critic. His reviews have been published in print ('The Washington Post,' 'USA Today') and online (AMC FilmCritic.com, MSN's Citysearch) since 1996. He's a weekly contributor to several national radio programs. He is a longstanding member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association (BFCA), the Online Film Critics Society (OFCS), and the Southeastern Film Critics View all articles by Sean O'Connell Association (SEFCA).

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