After months of waiting, Christopher Nolan has finally given us his villains for his third (and final) Batman film, The Dark Knight Rises, due out in July 2012. Anne Hathaway will play Selina Kyle, who traditionally becomes Catwoman, and Inception and Bronson star Tom Hardy will play Bane. Hardy's casting as Bane makes sense enough; he has the right look to play someone frighteningly equipped with brawn and brains in equal measure. According to Wikipedia, the character is even considered one of Batman's greatest powerful foes; apparently in one comic book storyline, he even manages to break Batman's spinal cord. Ouch.
Hathaway, on the other hand, is more of a question mark. She's certainly a talented actress, but she has a certain joy about her that makes it difficult for me to picture the future Oscar co-host as the classic villain/love interest. After all, Hathaway is nearly a decade younger than Christian Bale, which has the potential to cause chemistry issues. Then again, the character could simply be more Selina Kyle, and less Catwoman. She could start off as another love interest, and the film could set up for her transformation, either within the film or as an incomplete subplot (though that would be odd, considering that Nolan isn't returning after TDKR).
To be fair, many of us had similar thoughts when Ledger was cast as the Joker ("how on earth is that guy going to become the Joker!?!?!"). And of course, we aren't even remotely close to knowing what the Nolan brothers' (plus David S. Goyer) vision/design is for the character. It's safe to assume that she'll be scaled down somewhat in terms of flamboyance (Nolan's bat-verse is pretty free of camp). And I doubt that we'll be seeing anything like this:
All in all, the pair of Hathaway and Hardy make for an interesting pair of casting choices. The film doesn't begin shooting until April or May, which means we won't get any grainy on-set photos from afar for quite a while now. Hopefully Nolan and co. will give out a costume sketch or something along the way, but if not, we'll simply have to play the waiting game.