British actor Christian Bale has been unveiled as the star of the new Batman movie.

After months of speculation, the AMERICAN PSYCHO star has been chosen ahead of contenders including Jake Gyllenhaal, Joshua Jackson and CILLIAN MURPHY for the coveted role of the Caped Crusader - succeeding previous leads Michael Keaton, VAL KILMER and George Clooney.

Bale and director Christopher Nolan will begin shooting BATMAN 5 next February (04).

MEMENTO movie maker Nolan, a fellow Brit, explains his decision, "What I see in Christian is the ultimate embodiment of Bruce Wayne. He has exactly the balance of darkness and light that we were looking for."

The return of Gotham City's Dark Knight is a bid by studios Warner BROS to resurrect the Batman franchise, which won critical acclaim on its first outing in 1989. Batman Returns in 1992 appeased fans of the comic caper, but the last two movies Batman Forever and BATMAN + ROBIN were derided by cinema audiences - the latter being voted in the top ten worst movies of all time.

12/09/2003 09:29