Batman has a new adversary from Down Under.
Warner Bros. confirmed Monday that Heath Ledger will be playing The Joker in The Dark Knight
, the next installment of the rejuvenated Batman franchise.
"I'm excited to continue the story we started with Batman Begins
," director Christopher Nolan, who has also signed up for the sequel, said in a statement. "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."
So obviously Bale is back on board as the man in heavily armored tights.
Ledger, 27, was nominated for an Oscar this year for his role in Brokeback Mountain
and he also scored an invite earlier this month to join the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences.
Production is set to being on The Dark Knight
early next year--the better to make Gotham City look eerily chilly and desolate--making the sixth Caped Crusader film a prime candidate for a summer 2008 release.
"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
," Jeff Robinov, president of production at Warner Bros. Pictures, said. "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."
The star-studded Batman Begins
was also a formidable force at the box office last year, taking in more than $370 million worldwide.
So let the hype surrounding the next addition to the series begin--the last time Batman faced off against the Joker, it was 1989 and Michael Keaton was wearing the mask and Jack Nicholson was wearing the makeup. We can't wait to see how the next generation plays out.