Nolan Defends Ledger as Joker

Fans bristle at the thought of an actor who hates comics playing their beloved Clown Prince of Crime in The Dark Knight, but the film's director says Ledger is perfect. Plus, Two-Face talk...

Christopher Nolan, director of The Dark Knight Batman sequel, defended his choice of Heath Ledger as the Joker in the film.

"He's just exactly the kind of energy I needed for the character," Nolan told Sci Fi Wire. "Everything about the risks that that performer is willing to take are the things I need for somebody to take on that iconic figure. It's going to be a huge challenge for us to create it, and he's exactly the guy you want to be in the trenches with."

Batman Begins ends with Batman and Lt. Gordon discussing the emergence of a new criminal called the Joker. The new movie picks up from that spot. "To be frank, I hadn't really thought about doing the sequel while we were doing the first one, but we wanted to end the first one with a sense of possibility," Nolan told Sci Fi. "And, frankly, the dynamic of that scene and the sense of possibility that we tried to leave the audience with at the end of Batman Begins just stuck with me. And I felt it as much as I hope the audience did. So we really just want to carry on that story and see where it goes."

Christian Bale (Batman/Bruce Wayne), Michael Caine (Alfred), Morgan Freeman (Lucius Fox) and Gary Oldman (Lt. James Gordon) will reprise their roles. There's been no talk of Katie Holmes returning. The sequel premieres in 2008.

Meanwhile, rumors continue to swirl around who will play Harvey Dent/Two-Face in the film, now that Nolan has confirmed the character is part of the script.

Jake Gyllenhaal (Ledger's co-star in Brokeback Mountain) has been added to the list of possibilities. But IGN Filmforce says Gyllenhaal is not in the running.

Ryan Phillippe, Liev Schreiber and Guy Pearce have also been mentioned. IGN says it confirmed Pearce won't be the D.A. turned criminal.

However, Phillippe's agents gave a no comment even though his publicist denied the rumor.
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