'Batman 3' rumor tracking: Will Tom Hardy be playing Hugo Strange in 'The Dark Knight Rises'?

Stephen Vaughan

Will actor Tom Hardy be playing a psychotic shrink for his Inception director Christopher Nolan in the third Batman movie The Dark Knight Rises? And will the film be based on a well-regarded Batman comic storyline entitled Prey? Those are the popular speculations among hardcore fans of the acclaimed and popular superhero franchise — and just this past Friday, both speculations were reported as proverbial done deals by a couple different websites. In fact, on Friday Nov. 19, the website scriptflags.com reported that an unnamed “P.R. contact” working on behalf of The Dark Knight Rises confirmed the Prey plot. We weren’t as lucky: Representatives for both Warner Bros. and Nolan declined to comment on casting or creative details. So officially, the Hardy-as-Strange casting and Prey plot rumors are still only rumors to us.

What’s fascinating about the evolution of these rumors — and it is indeed an evolution — is that it resembles something of an Internet iteration of the “telephone” whisper game. So let’s figure out how the game started. This is about to get confusing, folks. Are you ready? Here we go: As far as we can tell, it began on Nov. 18 at Digital Spy, a British entertainment website. This is how their definitive-sounding report began: “Tom Hardy is rumored to have been cast as Dr. Hugo Strange in director Christopher Nolan’s film The Dark Knight Rises. Total Film reports that the upcoming sequel will be based on the graphic novel Prey and feature Batman being pursued by Hardy’s deranged police psychiatrist.”

For the Batman ignorant, some explanation. Dr. Hugo Strange: A greedy crook and crooked psychiatrist fixated on turning people into monsters. In one memorable appearance during a classic stretch of Batman stories in the mid-’70s, Strange discovered Batman’s Bruce Wayne secret identity, impersonated him for awhile, then tried to auction off the ID to other villains. In the aforementioned Prey, Batman’s police ally Jim Gordon is pressured to assemble an elite team of cops to hunt and capture the vigilante superhero; Strange assists them and becomes psychotically fixated with the task. Provocative stuff. Hugo Strange is a cool, classic Bat-villain, even if he lacks the name brand recognition of, say The Riddler or Catwoman (although I might argue that casting Hardy in the role would be a tragic misuse of the actor’s good looks). And as many others have noted even before all these rumors hit the web, Prey would seem to be appropriate fodder for Nolan’s third Dark Knight movie, as his second one left off with the hero playing the scapegoat for Two-Face’s homicidal sins and becoming a wanted murderer in the process.

That said, Digital Spy’s report made me curious. Their first paragraph calls the Hardy-as-Strange news a “rumor.” In the second paragraph, the site acknowledges that it was merely repeating information posted by the British film magazine Total Film. So I decided to click over to Total Film to read how they were reporting their news. What I discovered was that Total Film wasn’t really reporting any “news” at all. Their post actually begins with a question (“Tom Hardy to play Dr Hugo Strange in Dark Knight Rises?” ) and goes on to note the following: “OK, so you know that Tom Hardy is already confirmed for Dark Knight Rises, but now the rumor mill has him attached to the role of Dr Hugo Strange. The rumor, started at Batman News (guess what they report on…) is that Hardy will play the Batman-obsessed police psychiatrist, and not Sgt. Max Cort, as we predicted. However, we did predict that the Dark Knight Rises would be based on a graphic novel called Prey, and if true, this rumor confirms that we made the right call.”

Digital Spy made it seem like Total Film had scored a scoop, but Total Film was only riffing on a rumor posted at another website, and more, using it to make a pretty bold claim: That if the was Hardy-as-Strange casting can be proven to be true, then it will also, somehow, automatically confirm as true a previously posted prediction that The Dark Knight Rises will be based on Prey. Kinda crazy, but in fairness, let us note that Total Film wasn’t reporting what Digital Spy said they were reporting, i.e. that the movie will be based on Prey. Sounds like Total Film was merely acting like an exuberant Batman fansite, and that’s fine by me. I do it all the time.

Hoping to get to the very bottom of all this, I clicked over to Batman News, a real honest-to-goodness exuberant Batman fansite filled with fun bits and bobs posted by Batman lovers. Some of them claim to have in-the-know Hollywood friends, and one of them is a guy named “Chris.” Apparently, “Chris” has a “source” that knows a lot about The Dark Knight Rises. In his Nov. 16 post, which was categorized as an “Exclusive” and sports the ALL-CAPS headline “RUMOR: IS TOM HARDY PLAYING HUGO STRANGE IN ‘THE DARK KNIGHT RISES’”, Chris wrote: “I’ve heard that Tom Hardy is in fact going to play the villain. My source strongly believes that Hardy is going to be playing Hugo Strange. This is the first bit of information from this person that I’m publishing, however they have been accurate in the past. For example, this person told me weeks before the recent Christopher Nolan interview that The Riddler would not be appearing in the film. They also mentioned that Rachel Weisz and Anne Hathaway were in the running for the lead female role a couple of weeks before Deadline posted their list. Given their track record so far, I wanted to post this Hardy news that I received via email.”

All of this leaves me kinda confused as to what exactly “Chris’” source does or doesn’t really know. Why does the “Chris” source only “strongly believe” in his information? Why doesn’t he know this for a fact? You think he would: “Chris” would have us believe that his source is really plugged in, as the source had told him other key pieces of information about the movie before they were reported by other outlets. Then again, making that claim does beg another question: If “Chris” knew about The Riddler and the actresses before anyone, why didn’t he post that info first?

To be clear, I don’t want to be too harsh on “Chris.” He plays honorably. Unlike the folks at Digital Spy or Total Film, “Chris” himself does go out of his way to suggest that he could be wrong about all this. As he tells his readers at the end of his post: “Again, this should just be taken as rumor. I’m posting this for the sake of discussion since we’ve hit a dry spell with The Dark Knight Rises news. What do you guys think? Would you like to see Hugo Strange as the villain?”

Anyway, the irony of all this is… it’ll all probably end up being true. Which really only leaves us with two questions:

What do you think, PopWatchers? Would you like to see Hugo Strange as the villain?

[Corrected at 1:17 PST to clarify details about Prey.]

Read more:
‘The Dark Knight Rises’: Which superstar actresses should Christopher Nolan cast?

Who will be Batman’s next movie nemesis? Catwoman? Clayface? Maybe even… Superman?
‘The Dark Knight Rises’; the Riddler doesn’t
The Christopher Nolan Flowchart
Batman 3 to begin in April

Comments (81 total) Add your comment
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  • dmac2498

    Perfect villain. Perfect casting…perfect segue to from the last one. Perfect in keeping with the Nolan Bat-universe. Bring it on!!! In Nolan, I trust.

    • murkey

      i though HS elements were purposely incorporated into Scarecrow + the plot of Batman Begins…?

      • murkey

        i’m going to call BS… this sounds so unlike nolan + his crew (like those philip sey. hoff. penguine rumors from a while back)

        Hardy is too young to play strange convincingly, and there is too much in common with Batman Begins.

        still hoping for Bane or Clayface, much batter matches for Hardy… and yeah, I think these guys can be Nolinified to fit the darker/realistic universe…

      • murkey

        penguin*

      • Kevin

        How about a Mask of the Phantasm live action remake?

      • Caiti

        See, that’s what I thought. It sounds just a little too much like Batman Begins- the psychological stuff, that is. I would think (especially if this IS to be a trilogy) that Nolan might want to branch out.

      • A-K87

        The more I read about HS, the more I think Cillian Murphy’s portrayal of The Scarcrow had major elements of HS.

    • harry

      Bring it on!!! In Nolan, I trust you

    • Marc

      Hardy seems a bit young for Strange; my bet it still on Hush!

  • Mike

    Rachel Weisz and Anne Hathaway are the best choices for the roles.

    • C

      Jaime Murray would be good too, especially as catwoman.

      • tracy bluth

        I do love Jaime Murray!

      • Jamal

        Halle Berry was excellent as Catwoman. She should have won an oscar had it not been for the racist Academy. Obama 2012

    • graeme

      Anne Hathaway? No. Rachel Weisz would be an AWESOME Catwoman.

    • Ian

      Anne Hathaway would have been perfect for the joker, as she’s already got the freakishly large mouth and grin.

  • michaelsacal

    Prey is not a graphic novel. Revisionist history crap does not work in real life, only in comics.

    Prey is a STORY ARC from a Batman comic reprinted in a TRADEPAPERBACK.

    • Jeff Jensen

      I will clarify. Thanks!

      • taco

        DOC JENSEN! I MISS YOUR LOST POSTS!

  • MCS

    Storyline would make sense. And the villain fits in Nolan’s ‘realistic’ Gotham.

  • Mike

    Hugo Strange uses hypnosis to bring out Batman, he hypnotizes a woman to become a vigilante herself in order to lure him out. Thus, Catwoman’s role.

    • Lexie

      Nope. Hugo Strange has absolutely nothing to do with Catwoman or her backstory.

      • Lexie

        Sorry, they do appear together at a point but he has nothing to do with her backstory.

      • Lexie

        Correction: they appear together at one point in the series but he has no bearing on her origins.

      • Mike

        It could be an interesting tweak to the origins. Keep the character fresh, you know?

    • A-K87

      make your mind up lexie.

      • Ian

        Give him time to get to the end of the Wikipedia page.

  • Roncon

    Not knowing the plot and villains of this movie begining to hurt me.

    • A-K87

      Best comment on these boards I have read in weeks.

    • Ian

      roncon, are you sure it’s not the pain of being an adult virgin that’s hurting you? Or the bedsores from not leaving your mom’s basement?

  • mclovin4893

    maybe hathaway’s role on SNl with the batman scene shows indication?

  • fred

    charlize theron and lindsay lohan

  • jordan

    Again you’re talking about Batman?

  • DTO

    Tom Hardy was great in both INCEPTION and BRONSON. For someone who is not as well versed in the comic books themselves but who is a fim geek who has seen every incarnation of Batman on film, I really like the idea of a little-known villain with lots of dramatic possibility, especially with a great actor attached who is very talented and on the rise but not a household name yet either.

  • Flip

    Eff Hardy. Just tell me if Catwoman’s in this film!!!

    • tipsy

      yes, they cast Hardy. Strange is just a cover-up rumour so that when they unleash Hardy as cross-dresser Catwoman, everyone will be shocked, owed and owned.

    • Ian

      Seriously Flip, we’ve already had two mediocre versions of Catwoman in Batman films, so if Nolan is dumb enough to use her again in the third film, then I have no desire to see it.

  • mario

    this article is hilarious and totally unnecessary. mind you, tom hardy and hugo strange and TDKR based on the plot of Grey sounds fantastic and totally plausible in relation to the events concluding TDK

    • Ian

      Grey?

  • Justin

    NO HUGO STRANGE!

  • A-K87

    Tom Hardy is a dying breed. The chameleon actor.

    The more I read about Hugo Strange, the more I can see it working as Hardy WITH a female lead like Talia.

    I still love the idea of Black Mask but I think Hardy will rise to any challenge.

  • john

    whatever nolan does, i m in!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Emilio

      That’s wise. Let the man do his thing.

    • RyanK

      I’ll 2nd that

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