Originally created 09/15/03

Christian Bale cast as Bruce Wayne in new 'Batman' film



LOS ANGELES -- Holy casting news! An "American Psycho" has been picked to star as Bruce Wayne in a new "Batman" movie.

Christian Bale will don the cape and mask in a film that will chronicle the early career of The Dark Knight, Warner Bros. Pictures announced Thursday.

"Memento" filmmaker Christopher Nolan will direct the movie, which is set to begin filming in early 2004.

"What I see in Christian is the ultimate embodiment of Bruce Wayne. He has exactly the balance of darkness and light that we were looking for," Nolan said in a statement.

Bale, 29, made his breakthrough in Steven Spielberg's "Empire of the Sun" in 1987, playing a boy trying to survive in a Japanese-run POW camp in China.

His other credits include "Swing Kids" (1993), "Velvet Goldmine" (1998) and "Shaft" (2000). Bale's most infamous role was as the yuppie serial-killer in 2000's "American Psycho."

Warner Bros. is trying to resurrect the "Batman" franchise. The character became a top box office draw after director Tim Burton and star Michael Keaton made two hit movies "Batman" (1989) and "Batman Returns" (1992).

The films got a little campier when Joel Schumacher took over for 1995's "Batman Forever," with Val Kilmer as the Caped Crusader. The next installment, 1997's "Batman & Robin," was a critical disaster that alienated many fans. It starred George Clooney.