Irishman Murphy lands gig in pic slated for 2005 release

Batman’s next adversaries are starting to line up.

“28 Days Later” star Cillian Murphy has landed the role of one of the Caped Crusader’s villains in the fifth installment of Warner Bros.’ “Batman” franchise. The young Irish actor would become the fourth thesp cast in the Christopher Nolan-helmed project that stars Christian Bale as the Caped Crusader.

Michael Caine has also joined the cast to play Batman’s butler, Alfred. Pic’s producers are now zeroing in on Katie Holmes to play the female lead subject to a screen test with Nolan.

Pic’s plot, scripted by David Goyer, is being kept tightly under wraps, but WB and Nolan are gearing up for a 2004 start date and 2005 release. WB exec Greg Silverman is the presiding Bat-exec.

Murphy, repped by UTA, appears in “The Girl With the Pearl Earring,” and has wrapped “Intermission,” opposite Colin Farrell. He first came to the attention of Nolan after he tested for the role of Batman.

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