Gordon-Levitt to play John Blake, Cotillard is Miranda Tate

After weeks of speculation, Warner Bros. finally confirmed that Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Marion Cotillard will appear in Christopher Nolan’s “The Dark Knight Rises,” including an announcement of their respective roles.

Gordon-Levitt will play John Blake, a Gotham City beat cop assigned to special duty under Commissioner Gordon, while Cotillard will play Miranda Tate, a Wayne Enterprises board member eager to help a still-grieving Bruce Wayne resume his father’s philanthropic endeavors.

At least, that’s what Warner Bros. Tuesday release said. Neither character is an established member of the Batman universe, and both actors, regulars for Nolan (each most recently starred in “Inception”), would seem underutilized in anything less than key roles.

“When you collaborate with people as talented as Marion and Joe, it comes as no surprise that you would want to repeat the experience,” Nolan said in the release. “I immediately thought of them for the roles of Miranda and Blake, and I am looking forward to working with both of them again.”

Nolan is canny at protecting his secrets. For instance, Liam Neeson was credited in 2005 as Henri Ducard for Nolan’s “Batman Begins” — but turned out to be the villain Ra’s al Ghul. Variety had previously reported (Daily Variety, March 19) that Gordon-Levitt would play Alberto Falcone, aka Batman villain “The Holiday Killer.”

It’s still a possibility that the characters announced Tuesday are cover for a later reveal.

“The Dark Knight Rises” stars Christian Bale, Anne Hathaway, Tom Hardy, Gary Oldman, Morgan Freeman and Michael Caine. Nolan will produce with his longtime producing partner Emma Thomas, and Charles Roven.

Warner Bros. will release on July 20, 2012.

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