Anne Hathaway Snags Female Lead As Selina Kyle In ‘The Dark Knight Rises’; Tom Hardy To Play Villain Bane

Meow! Anne Hathaway has been cast in Christopher Nolan’s “The Dark Knight Rises,” Warner Bros. announced on Wednesday.

The actress will play Selina Kyle, who is well known in Batman comic book lore as the human alter ego of the villainess who eventually becomes Catwoman.

“I am thrilled to have the opportunity to work with Anne Hathaway, who will be a fantastic addition to our ensemble as we complete our story,” Nolan said in a statement to Access Hollywood.

Anne joins a long legacy of iconic actresses who have taken on this role. Michelle Pfeiffer and Halle Berry most recently played the Catwoman character on the big screen, and Eartha Kitt and Julie Newmar are just two of the women who have clawed up the small screen as the whip-cracking feline temptress.

However, it is still unknown whether or not Anne’s character will indeed fully become Catwoman in this incarnation of the franchise, as there was no mention of “Catwoman” in the studio’s statement. It seems likely that Nolan will explore Selina’s backstory, as he did with Aaron Eckhart’s “Harvey Dent” in “The Dark Knight” (who was never actually referred to as “Two-Face”).

Warner Bros. also announced that “Inception” star Tom Hardy will re-team with Nolan to play the villain Bane, who is best known in the comic books for cracking Batman’s back and forcing him to end up in a wheelchair.

“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.

“The Dark Knight Rises” – with Christian Bale returning as Bruce Wayne/Batman – is slated for release on July 20, 2012.

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