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Knightley, Hathaway and Biel Aboard "Dark Knight Rises" Casting Carousel

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Knightley, Hathaway and Biel Aboard "Dark Knight Rises" Casting Carousel

With the release of the next Batman film 18 months away, director Christopher Nolan has begun considering seemingly every hot young actress in Hollywood for the female leads.

Keira Knightley, Anne Hathaway and Jessica Biel, Kate Mara, Charlotte Riley and Gemma Arterton are among those on the mix to play two major roles in "The Dark Knight Rises," reported Heat Vision.

Nolan is looking for both a villainess and a love interest for Christian Bale's Batman, with one rumor having it that the baddie is Talia, daughter of Ra's Al Ghul, portrayed by Liam Neeson in "Batman Begins." In the comic books, Thalia was eventually both Batman's nemesis and lover, as well as the mother of his son.

Let's break down the candidates:

Knightley: Coming of a strong performance in the unseen "Never Let Me Go," she's shown an affinity for action in the past.

Biel: Seemed poised for a breakout in 2006 after "The Illusionist," but has since done things like "I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry" and had an atrocious role in "The A-Team." But judging from the photo on Talia's Wikiepdia page, Biel's a natural for the role.

Mara: Her getting a role in TDKN would probably go a long way toward easing tension at Mara holidays, as her sister Rooney landed the plum role of "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo."

Riley: Engaged to Tom Hardy, whose already been cast in the film, does anyone like working with couples?

Hathaway: She's probably the buzziest of the field, and certainly the most accomplished actress.

Arterton: Loved her in "Alice Creed," wish she would stop doing swords-n-sandals garbage like "Clash of the Titans."

The film is slated to start shooting in May, with locations in London and Los Angeles, and is being released July 20, 2012.

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