Actress taking Holmes role in 'Dark Knight'

Maggie Gyllenhaal is in final talks to star opposite Christian Bale in Christopher Nolan’s “The Dark Knight,” the next installment in the revitalized Batman franchise. She’ll play the role of Rachel Dawes, played by Katie Holmes in “Batman Begins.” Holmes dropped out of the project earlier in the year.

Nolan is set to begin lensing in the late spring or early summer. Pic is eying a summer 2008 release.

Producers are Emma Thomas, Charles Roven and Nolan.

Legendary Pictures and Warner are co-financing partners on the project.

Gyllenhaal, a new mother, was most recently in theaters with “Stranger Than Fiction” and “World Trade Center.”

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