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Watanabe Wants to Play Ra’s Al Ghul

Best Supporting Actor Nominee Ken Watanabe (The Last Samurai) will play the immortal mastermind Ra’s Al Ghul in upcoming Batman movie opposite Christian Bale. The untitled film will be directed by Christopher Nolan (Memento). Ra’s has long been one of Batman’s most challenging and intriguing villains, more than able to match wits with hero he calls "The Detective." Ra’s wants to destroy most of the world’s population to restore ecological balance – and become its ruler.

Watanabe first English-language film was in Warners Bros.' Samurai. In Japan, where he has been acting since the early 1980s, he is a household name often associated with roles as a heroic samurai.

Liam Neeson has also finalized his deal to appear in the film and Warner Bros. also confirmed that Neeson’s role will be that of Henri Ducard, a mentor to Batman’s alter ego, Bruce Wayne. Morgan Freeman will also play Lucius Fox, one of Bruce’s few friends and the man who actually runs most of Wayne Enterprises. However, in this film, Fox is being described as "a former board member and sidelined employee of Wayne Enterprises."

Also cast are Michael Caine as Alfred, the butler and Katie Holmes, who will play a childhood friend of Wayne’s. There’s no word so far as to whether the character of Talia, Ra’s daughter and a love interest for Batman, will appear in this film.

Filming is scheduled to begin in London in March

-- Beth Hannan Rimmels