‘The Dark Knight Rises’ will have a female villain
Christopher Nolan is currently lining up actresses to be considered for two female lead roles in The Dark Knight Rises, one of whom will be Batman’s new love interest, and the other of whom will reportedly be a new villain. Potential candidates include Rachael Wiesz, Naomi Watts, Blake Lively, Natalie Portman, Anne Hathaway, and Kiera Knightley.
Like most people, I’m not so much interested in the role of Batman’s new love interest (Linda Paige and Julia Madison seem the most likely character choices). I’m much more curious about the new villain. Ever since a throw-away cat reference in The Dark Knight, fans have chattered about a Catwoman appearance, but I don’t buy it. Both Catwoman and Poison Ivy, the two female antagonists from previous Batman films, seem too campy for Nolan to fit into his grittier, more ‘realistic’ Batman world.
My eye is on Harley Quinn. She seems to be most in line with the world and themes of Nolan’s films, and her connection to the Joker provides an easy lead-in from the previous film but wouldn’t require recasting Ledger’s role (which will never, ever happen in this series). The psychotic psychiatrist just strikes me as tailor made for Nolan’s Batman universe, and his fascination with the darkness and dangers lurking deep within the human mind. She may have born from the cartoon television show rather than the comics, but she’s one of my favorites. From the above list of actresses, my pick would be Natalie Portman. I recently got to see Aronovsky’s The Black Swan, and Portman pulls off beautifully disturbed madness in a way I haven’t quite seen before, and she’s actually emerging as a leading Best Actress contender for the role. And her slight, athletic frames makes her physically ideal for Harley Quinn as well.
As always, whatever the choice for the character and the actress, I place my trust in Nolan. Whatever he decides, I’m confident that he’ll be correct.
(Addendum: The below picture is a cut-up of Kristen Bell as Harley Quinn, and though I would change the actress, that look is fucking perfect, and would fit very nicely into Nolan’s aesthetic. Striking, disturbed, tragic.)