Nolan Shortlists Actresses For Two Roles In <i>The Dark Knight Rises</i>

Director Christopher Nolan will meet with six actresses for two lead roles in The Dark Knight Rises, Deadline reports. One is thought to be a love interest for Bruce Wayne and the other a villain -- which naturally makes Catwoman, Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn the prime candidates.

The actresses are Anne Hathaway (Alice in Wonderland), Keira Knightley (Pirates of the Caribbean), Blake Lively (Green Lantern), Natalie Portman (Thor), Naomi Watts (Fair Game) and Rachel Weisz (The Lovely Bones). According to Deadline's Mike Fleming, Nolan is keeping the roles under wraps, the same way he did when he recruited Inception's Tom Hardy to play what's thought to be a villain.

Of the six actresses, Lively and Portman would appear to be unlikely choices because of their involvement in other superhero-movie franchises. But stranger things have happened: If Chris Evans can be the Human Torch and Captain America, and Ryan Reynolds can play Green Lantern and Deadpool, then why can't Lively and Portman pay a visit to Gotham?

It's worth noting that Charlize Theron, Kacie Thomas and Vera Farmiga, who were rumored just last week to be contenders for two roles , are absent from this list.

The Dark Knight Rises begins production in April for release on July 20, 2012.

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