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Last Samurai, Ken Watanabe, joins Batman 5 cast



Story by: Jack Foley

HOT off the back of his Oscar nomination, The Last Samurai's Ken Watanabe has landed the role of longtime Batman nemesis, Ra's Al Ghul, in Christopher Nolan's highly-anticipated revival.

The cast announcement is the latest in a long line of names which make the new project something to get excited about.

The film itself is to be called Batman Begins, according to Empire Online, and will take a look at the Caped Crusader's origin and his first steps into vigilantism.

But while sources remain tight-lipped as to what will happen, according to Bat lore, Ra's Al Ghul is a mysterious figure of undetermined origin hellbent on using genocide to re-create Eden on earth.

Watanabe's appearance completes a terrific year for the actor, who has previously had to fight cancer.

He will join Christian Bale, as Batman, along with the likes of Michael Caine, as Alfred the butler, Liam Neeson, as Henri Ducard (Bruce Wayne's mentor), Morgan Freeman, as Lucius Fox, and Katie Holmes, as a childhood friend of Bruce Wayne.

Shooting should begin next month, in London, with a release date pencilled in for 2005.

With a cast to die for, and a director whose previous CV includes the sublime likes of Memento and Insomnia, it seems Batman Begins could well be the hot ticket of its year - as well as marking a return to the darkness found in Tim Burton's first two movies.

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