Anne Hathaway cast as Catwoman in 'The Dark Knight Rises'

anne-hathway-catwoman.jpg Anne Hathaway will be Catwoman in the next Batman movie, "The Dark Knight Rises."

Warner Bros. announced via press release Wednesday (Jan. 19) that Hathaway will play the role of Selina Kyle/Catwoman in the movie, which is scheduled for release in July 2012. In addition, "Inception" star Tom Hardy has been cast as the villain Bane.

"I am thrilled to have the opportunity to work with Anne Hathaway, who will be a fantastic addition to our ensemble as we complete our story," director Christopher Nolan says. Of Hardy, he says, "I am delighted to be working with Tom again and excited to watch him bring to life our new interpretation of one of Batman's most formidable enemies."

Hathaway was one of several actresses reported to be up for a major role in "The Dark Knight Rises," along with Keira Knightley, Jessica Biel, Charlotte Riley and Kate Mara. One other female role has yet to be filled.

Both Catwoman and Bane have made appearances in previous Batman movies. Michelle Pfeiffer played Selina Kyle in "Batman Returns," and pro wrestler Jeep Swenson played Bane as a henchman to Uma Thurman's Poison Ivy in "Batman & Robin." Given the direction Nolan's Batman films have taken, Hardy's version of the character will likely hew a little closer to the Bane of the comics, where he's a highly intelligent and physically fearsome bad guy.

Filming on "The Dark Knight Rises" is scheduled to begin in the spring.
Photo/Video credit: Getty Images