At this point, can we just run the same list of names for every project and call it the "exclusive wish list" and have that count as good reporting?

Word is that Christopher Nolan is about to start meeting actresses for two major roles in the new "Batman" film, one a villain and one a romantic interest.  The list as it stands now is Rachel Weisz, Naomi Watts, Blake Lively, Natalie Portman, Anne Hathaway, and Keira Knightley.  Or, to put it another way, the same basic group of talented A-list names that are considered for pretty much every big-budget movie with a female lead of a certain age.

Obvious speculation jumped immediately to Catwoman as the villain, but there's a problem with that.  Nolan and Goyer have both said that the villains for this film would not be villains we've already seen in previous Batman films.  Here's where this becomes a game… does Nolan mean that this villain hasn't appeared in any Batman film ever, or just not in one of his movies?  Because one way, it could be Catwoman they're hiring, but put the other way, there's not a chance it's her.

So who would it be if not Catwoman?  And do we really buy that Nolan's just going to add a "romantic interest" to the film?  That doesn't really seem to fit the character as Nolan's written so far, unless that romance came directly out of the thematic demands of the movie. 

I think the best bet for who we're actually going to see here is Talia Al Ghul, who's been a major part of the comic mythology, and whose father just happened to be the character played by Liam Neeson in the first film.  Like Catwoman, Talia has served as both foil and flame for Batman over the years, and she even carried Bruce Wayne's baby, which makes her a fascinating possibility to wrap up Nolan's trilogy.  The Al Ghul family could turn out to be the most important figures in the Nolanverse aside from Batman himself.

Whoever these female characters are, remember they're not alone in the film.  Tom Hardy's already onboard as a villain, and I doubt he's just going to be a bit player.  There's a lot we don't know about this film yet, and while there are some hints we can take from all this casting talk, jumping to conclusions is silly, and it also gets the hardcore fans worked up about things that don't pan out, leading to disappointment for no good reason.

For now, I'll just say that if it is Talia, I'd love to see Weisz play the role.  Then again, there are few roles I wouldn't want to see Weisz play.  I just think she's got the right heft and maturity and presence to stand toe-to-toe with Bale's Batman.

We can expect to see "The Dark Knight Rises" on July 20, 2012.