Christian Bale’s the New Batman

Holy Bat-smokes!

Warner Bros. announced Thursday that British thesp Christian Bale has been cast in the role of Bruce Wayne in the upcoming Batman movie, directed by Memento‘s Christopher Nolan.

“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 the press release.

Jeff Robinov, president of production for Warner Bros. Pictures, stated, “Now that we’ve found the best person to play Batman, we are really looking forward to moving ahead with the rest of our casting, and are excited about the exceptional group we are assembling.”

Principal photography on the film is expected to begin in early 2004. The movie is written by David Goyer and Nolan, and will follow the early career of The Dark Knight.

Bale, who first drew critical attention for his starring role in Empire of the Sun, has starred in such diverse motion pictures as Little Women, American Psycho, Reign of Fire and the most recent indie Laurel Canyon.