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. READ FULL STORY