by Jim Kiernan
NEW YORK (October 25, 2006) — While recently making the rounds talking up “The Prestige,” Access Hollywood couldn’t resist asking Christian Bale and director Christopher Nolan for the latest news on the upcoming sequel to “Batman Begins.”
?The film is called ?The Dark Knight,?? confirms Nolan, once again directing and this time co-writing the screenplay with his brother Jonathan. ?I?m working on the script right now. We?re in early pre-production. I think it?s going to be an interesting challenge to move on from where we left the story.”
Where exactly did we leave the story? Batman, having been signaled to a rooftop by Lt. James Gordon (played by Gary Oldman), was left with both a description of a particularly dangerous criminal let loose in Gotham City and an assignment leading into the next on-screen chapter. ?Take this guy. Armed robbery, double homicide. Got a taste for the theatrical like you. Leaves a calling card,? Gordon tells the Caped Crusader. The simple flip of a standard playing card later, revealing a grinning pale character wearing a jester?s hat, and the stage is set for ?The Dark Knight.” To hear it directly from Nolan, ?Heath Ledger is going to play The Joker. Beyond that there is not a lot I can say.?
Following in the footsteps of the late Cesar Romero (in the 1960s version) and Jack Nicholson (in the 1989 Tim Burton film), Ledger’s take on the role promises to bring a darker interpretation to the role, more focused on fear than comic laughter.
Christian Bale, once again donning the cape and cowl, applauded the decision of casting the Oscar nominee as the Clown Prince of Crime. ?I think it’s great. I know he?s very passionate about it. I know that he loved the first ?Batman Begins.??
Bale and Ledger both recently finished work on “I’m Not There,” a film that has different actors portraying music icon Bob Dylan throughout his life. Though ironically enough, the actors shared no scenes together.
“I think it?ll be real good to be going toe-to-toe with him,? says Bale, sizing up his future archenemy.
“The Dark Knight” is scheduled to shoot next year for a 2008 release.