According to a press release given to the L.A. Times, Anne Hathaway will play Selina Kyle in Christopher Nolan's next installment of the Batman series, The Dark Knight Rises. Keira Knightley, Charlize Theron, Vera Farmiga, and Jessica Biel were among the numerous names previously being bandied about as potential female leads for the film. The press release does not say that she'll specifically play Catwoman, so let's count down the seconds until the rumor mill begins heating up about reasons as to why. A different actress plays Catwoman? Anyone interested in running with that one?

Says Christian Bale who will return as the Dark Knight, on the news of Hathaway's inclusion in the film, "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."

And it just keeps getting better as we find out that Tom Hardy, whose inclusion in the film has been known for several months, will play Bane, one of Batman's most intelligent and physically powerful foes. Says Bale, "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."

Christopher Nolan will direct the film, which he says will be his last in the franchise, from a screenplay he wrote with Jonathan Nolan. The movie is is slated for a July 20, 2012 release.

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