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Anne Hathaway cast as Catwoman in Dark Knight Rises

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The cat is finally out of the bag: Anne Hathaway will play Catwoman in Christopher Nolan's new Batman film, The Dark Knight Rises.

Nolan and Warner Bros. announced today that Hathaway has been tapped to play Selina Kyle, Batman's sometime lover (and foe), better known as her feline alter-ego, Catwoman.

"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," said Nolan in a statement.

Hathaway won the coveted role over Keira Knightley and Jessica Biel, who also tested for the part in recent weeks.

Love & Other Drugs star Hathaway follows in the footsteps of Michelle Pfeiffer (who was simply delicious in Batman Returns), Halle Berry (who soiled her kitty litter and positively stunk in 2004's Catwoman spin-off), Julie Newmar and Eartha Kitt who have all portrayed the feline temptress.

Meantime, Hathaway's next big role will be as co-host of the Academy Awards with James Franco.

In other Batman news, Inception actor Tom Hardy will play the muscled-up villain Bane - not The Riddler or Dr. Hugo Strange, as was widely speculated.

"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," said Nolan.

Hardy's involvement with the project had been known for a while, but his role had been uncertain, until now.

Comic-book aficionados will know Bane as "the man who broke the Bat" after he broke Batman's spinal chord in the comic book series. The character was last seen on the big screen as Poison Ivy's beefcake minion in 1997's Batman & Robin.

The Dark Knight Rises is slated for release on July 20, 2012.

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