I swear to God I was just getting ready to write an editorial wondering where the hell the next Batman movie was. I mean, we heard two weeks ago that Heath Ledger was going to sign on to play the Joker. I heard from many reliable sources that Chris Nolan would be at Comic Con to announce the sequel. But none of that happened, and the days passed and I began to think that Batman 2 would never happen. Hell, I even spent a good part of the weekend on our message boards arguing that, in Magic 8-Ball speak, the future was cloudy for the franchise.
Here I am eating my words! The announcement is small but it’s here – the Batman sequel is happening! It is called The Dark Knight! Heath Ledger is the Joker! Chris Nolan is directing again! No word on whether all these Penguin rumors are true!
UPDATE! Here’s the full press release Warner Bros sent out. The film starts shooting in early 2007, so does that mean Summer 08?
BURBANK, CA, 31 July 2006 – As a follow up to last year’s blockbuster Batman Begins, Christopher Nolan is set to direct Warner Bros. Pictures’ The Dark Knight, written by Jonathan Nolan, based on a story by Christopher Nolan and David Goyer. The film will be produced by Emma Thomas, Charles Roven and Christopher Nolan. Additionally, Christian Bale will resume his role as Bruce Wayne and Academy Award nominee Heath Ledger has been cast as The Joker. The announcements were made today by Jeff Robinov, President of Production, Warner Bros. Pictures.
Christopher Nolan revamped the Batman franchise in 2005 with the immensely successful Batman Begins, starring Christian Bale in the title role, which chronicled the early years of the superhero. Nolan first garnered attention from critics and fans in 2000 with the groundbreaking drama Memento, which he wrote and directed. He went on to direct the thriller Insomnia, starring Al Pacino and Robin Williams, and recently wrapped production on The Prestige, with Hugh Jackman and Bale.
Bale was most recently seen in the ensemble cast of Terrence Malick’s The New World. His other credits include Little Women, Portrait of a Lady, Metroland, American Psycho, Laurel Canyon and Steven Spielberg’s Empire of the Sun, which was his first starring role.
Ledger most recently earned Oscar Golden Globe, BAFTA and SAG Award nominations and won the New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Actor for his portrayal of Ennis Del Mar in the award-winning drama Brokeback Mountain. His other credits include Casanova, Monster’s Ball, Lords of Dogtown, The Brothers Grimm and The Patriot.
“Chris’ unique vision is what made Batman Begins such an outstanding film and we could not imagine anyone else at the helm of The Dark Knight,” said Robinov. “We also can’t wait to see two such formidable actors as Christian and Heath face off with each other as Batman and The Joker.”
“I’m excited to continue the story we started with Batman Begins,” added Nolan. “Our challenge in casting The Joker was to find an actor who is not just extraordinarily talented but fearless. Watching Heath Ledger’s interpretation of this iconic character taking on Christian Bale’s Batman is going to be incredible.”