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Christian Bale named as new Batman

Story by: Jack Foley

AFTER months of speculation, in which everyone from Jake Gyllenhaal to Joshua Jackson was linked with it, the role of Batman has finally gone to British actor, Christian Bale.

The American Psycho star, aged 29, will join fellow Brit, director Christopher Nolan, on the set of the high-profile movie, which is intended to get the franchise back on track following the misfires of Batman Forever and Batman & Robin.

And while Warner Bros are remaining tight-lipped about what to expect, early word suggests that the plot will focus on the early crime-fighting career of Bruce Wayne, aka Batman, with one internet source suggesting it could be called Batman: Intimidation.

In announcing the decision to cast Bale, who has also appeared in Shaft, Captain Corelli's Mandolin and Equilibrium, Nolan described him as 'the ultimate embodiment of Bruce Wayne'.

"He has exactly the balance of darkness and light that we were looking for," he added, suggesting that the darker tone of the first films in the franchise, as directed by Tim Burton, will be revisited.

The role serves to confirm Bale's reputation as one of Britain's most exciting talents, and realises the potential he first showed when he made his name as a young boy in Steven Spielberg's Empire of the Sun.

Since then, he has appeared in several big budget US movies, including the Summer blockbuster, Reign of Fire.

But until agreeing to play the Caped Crusader, it was as American Psycho that he had been best remembered.

Shooting on Batman 5 is scheduled to begin in February 2004, at Shepperton Studios, with a view to a release in the Summer of 2005.

David S. Goyer has already been announced as scriptwriter, while the presence of Memento/Insomnia director, Nolan, should promise a very stylish slant on the franchise.

Nolan told Variety, not long after he was announced as director, that he had always considered Batman to be 'the most credible and realistic of the superheroes', with 'the most complex human psychology'.

He claimed his superhero qualities came 'from within'.

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