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Orlando Bloom as Batman? And the latest Star Wars rumours...

Orlando Bloom is rumoured to be in the running to play Batman in the next Superman movie. Photo / Getty
Orlando Bloom is rumoured to be in the running to play Batman in the next Superman movie. Photo / Getty

And so to the latest round of rampant casting rumours swirling about a certain Caped Crusader, and that mythical galaxy far, far away.

Hot on the heels of last week's headline-hogger that Ryan Gosling and Josh Brolin are among a list of Hollywood talent being considered to play Batman in Zack Snyder's Man of Steel sequel, yet another name has been thrown into the mix.

Per British tabloid The Daily Express (cynical eyebrow raised), the latest actor rumoured to be a "hot favourite" to don the iconic cape and cowl and star alongside Henry Cavill's Superman is none other than...Orlando Bloom.

The tab, citing a "senior source" at Warner Bros, claims that Bloom, 36, is the "odds-on [favourite] to get the part even before our first casting call."

Adds the source: "He would be perfect to play off Henry and I think US audiences would be happy with two Brits as the joint male leads."

But, the outlet cautiously notes, Bloom supposedly being a contender for the role doesn't mean the gig is a done deal.

"He faces opposition from American stars including Ryan Gosling, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and ­newcomer Armie Hammer," adds the report.

The Hollywood Reporter played its part in the speculation game last week, reporting that Gangster Squad co-stars Gosling, 32, and Brolin, 46, are possible contenders to play the Dark Knight.

Other names tossed around by THR included True Blood star Joe Manganiello, 36, along with Matthew Goode, 35, of Watchmen fame; The Hobbit's Richard Armitage, 41, and Pacific Rim star Max Martini, 43.

According to THR, Brolin remains the "frontrunner".

The website also quoted sources who claimed to have an insight into how Snyder will portray Batman in the Man of Steel sequel.

"This Wayne/Batman will be in the late 30s or around the 40 mark ... established and rugged," chimed the source.

The Daily Express also claims that Cavill will reprise his role as Superman in "at least two Justice League Of America films in a reported £6million-a-movie deal with Warner Bros".

The paper, noting Brit actor Andrew Garfield's turn as Spider-Man, also quoted media analyst Mike Raia as saying: "British stars are going to be the toast of Hollywood if Orlando does step up to take over the Batman role.

"It will mean for the first time ever, Brits will be in the three prime roles of Batman, Superman and Spider-Man and I don't think you'll hear a single American fan complaining," he said.

"All three have proven star quality and can individually almost guarantee major box office returns.

"Pitching two together in the upcoming Justice League franchise could cement all their futures in these roles for years to come."

But here's the rub on speculation that Bloom looks set to hop into the Batmobile: A rep for the star tells Gossip Cop that the newspaper's report "appears to be internet gossip."

Earlier this week, a report surfaced that Christian Bale has allegedly been offered a "potential $50 million payday" by Warner Bros to don the cape and cowl once again for the upcoming Batman-Superman crossover movie.

The Sun, quoting author Vince Russel in his eBook Beyond Batman: The Unauthorised True Story of Christian Bale and His Dark Knight Dilemma, claimed that Bale is under "extraordinary pressure" to reprise the Batman role.

Bale has previously said he won't return for another film.

Speaking in July, Bale denied speculation that he would play the masked hero again in a Justice League movie.

"We were incredibly fortunate to get to make three [Batman films]. That's enough. Let's not get greedy," he told Entertainment Weekly.

Snyder's superhero sequel - rumoured to be titled Batman vs Superman - is slated for release in 2015, with production expected to begin next year.

IAN MCDIARMID TO RETURN FOR STAR WARS: EPISODE VII?

Meanwhile, rumour has it that Star Wars veteran Ian McDiarmid might be one of the familiar faces set for a return in J.J. Abrams' upcoming Episode VII.

According to website Jedi News, McDiarmid, who played villain Emperor Palpatine in the franchise, is expected to make an appearance in the sequel, adding that "the nature of his role is unclear".

The evil Emperor popped his clogs at the end of Return of the Jedi, which would make a return a tad problematic, no? Not if he returns as a cloned version of himself, the website speculates, while adding that the insider information is just a rumour at this stage.

"Remember, until confirmed by Lucasfilm this is just a rumour. They are the ONLY people who can confirm this rumour report, or any other," the site adds.

Back in February, British tabloid The Mirror quoted McDiarmid as saying a return to the franchise could be tricky.

"He's disappeared into oblivion," he said.

"I don't know what the plans are for Star Wars. They are talking about a lot of projects.

"The Emperor was the most evil character that ever lived. Now he's dead - but I suppose anything can happen in Star Wars."

But speaking to website SciFiNow a month later, McDiarmid said a role in Episode VII was unlikely.

"Unfortunately, as you probably know, he died at the end of Episode VI, Vader sent him to cosmic hell so he's not going to feature in any of the new Disney ones, I don't think," he was quoted as saying.

"On the other hand they've got lots of exciting ideas for spin-offs about separate characters and so on, and then there is the television series which George [Lucas] has talked about and decided to make into being for a number of years, and that takes place between Episodes III and IV when the Emperor is very much alive. So I think he probably does have a future."

McDiarmid also spoke to USA Today about filming his character's demise at the end of Episode VI.

"I remember it well because it took about a week to get me down that chute with the wires and flying," he said. "I remember saying, 'Is he dead, George?' at the time, and he said, 'Yes, he is. Absolutely dead.'

"I guess that means he can't survive and do Episode VII, unless of course he'd been clever enough to clone himself. He's certainly clever enough, but I don't know if he had that idea or not."

Last week, actor Ray Park, who played Darth Maul in Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace, said he wanted to return to the Star Wars universe.

"I've said that I would play anything to do with Star Wars," he told Flicks And The City. "But really, deep down, I would love to come back as Darth Maul - that's what I want to do. I would go crazy, go mental, lock myself in a cabin, you know. Do the whole 'method' for two or three months, spear-fishing and stuff, just to play the character again."

Star Wars: Episode VII, which is based on a script written by Little Miss Sunshine scribe Michael Arndt, is set for release in 2015.

Stay tuned for updates.

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* Police reportedly investigating freaky and downright creepy Lonely Doll incident at X-Men star Famke Janssen's home.

* Anchorman's Ron Burgundy writing a tell-all memoir about his classy life.

* Look away, Selena: Justin Bieber reportedly dating model Ashley Moore.

* Why did Ben Affleck visit Lindsay Lohan in rehab?

* Britney Spears spent HOW MUCH on a manicure?

* Jennifer Aniston and Angelina Jolie narrowly avoid airplane run-in? Total tosh, says rep.

* Sandra Oh on why she's bailing on Grey's Anatomy.

* Prince takes to Twitter, reveals fondness for peppery salad.

- Rumour Has It

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