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Christian Bale/THE DARK KNIGHT RISES Photo: Bale As Bruce Wayne

Christian Bale, The Dark Knight Rises, Batman / Bruce Wayne
Christian Bale as Bruce Wayne, The Dark Knight Rises

“I can tell you the truth because I'm done with it. I felt immense pressure,” Christian Bale told Entertainment Weekly about starring for the third – and last – time as Bruce Wayne a.k.a. Batman in Christopher Nolan's upcoming The Dark Knight Rises. “And I think it's a good pressure, because you owe it to the films – and the people's expectations – to make great work.”

Co-written by Nolan and his brother Jonathan Nolan, The Dark Knight Rises hits theaters on July 20. In addition to Christian Bale, who last year won a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for playing Mark Wahlberg's brother in David O. Russell's The Fighter, this follow-up to Batman Begins (2005) and the megablockbuster The Dark Knight (2008) also features several performers with Oscar pedigree.

Those are Oscar nominee Anne Hathaway (Rachel Getting Married) as Selina Kyle/Catwoman, Oscar winner Marion Cotillard (La Vie en Rose) as Miranda Tate, two-time Oscar winner Michael Caine (Hannah and Her Sisters, The Cider House Rules) as Alfred, Oscar winner Morgan Freeman (Million Dollar Baby) as Lucius Fox, and Oscar nominee Tom Conti (Reuben Reuben).

Other cast members include potential Oscar nominee Gary Oldman (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy), Inception alumnus Joseph Gordon-Levitt, veteran Matthew Modine (Birdy, Full Metal Jacket), Juno Temple, Josh Pence, Daniel Sunjata, Nestor Carbonell, Joey King, Brett Cullen, Chris Ellis, Josh Stewart, Christopher Judge, Aidan Gillen, Adam Rodriguez, and Rob Brown.

The Dark Knight Rises predecessors were Batman Begins (2005) and The Dark Knight (2008), both starring Bale as Batman. The first movie also featured Liam Neeson and Tom Cruise's wife, Katie Holmes. The second co-starred eventual Best Supporting Actor Oscar winner Heath Ledger as The Joker, in addition to Aaron Eckhart and Maggie Gyllenhaal.

Christian Bale/Batman/The Dark Knight Rises photo: Ron Phillips / Warner Bros, via Entertainment Weekly.

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