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Christian Bale weighs post-Batman projects

Options include 'A Star is Born,' 'Oldboy,' 'Noah,' more

Christian Bale has made clear he won’t decide his next move until after “The Dark Knight Rises” wraps later this fall. When that time comes, he’ll have some weighty options — several high-profile projects and a handful of studios are actively courting the soon-to-be former Caped Crusader.

They include Warner Bros.’ remake of “A Star Is Born,” starring Beyonce Knowles and directed by Clint Eastwood; “Gold,” which Michael Mann will direct; a remake of Korean thriller “Oldboy,” to be directed by Spike Lee for Mandate, in which Bale would play the villain; Relativity’s “Out of the Furnace,” to be directed by Scott Cooper; and “Noah,” Darren Aronofsky’s biblical epic at Paramount. (There had also been talk of Bale joining WB’s “Last Photograph,” but he’s no longer involved.)

At this time, Bale has not attached himself to any of these projects, nor has he identified any one as a frontrunner. And that’s because, studio insiders say, he’s really sticking to the plan: Look to the future only after finishing “The Dark Knight Rises.”

With that pic wrapping in November, Bale wouldn’t be free until the beginning of the year. Since most of the aforementioned films are scheduled to start lensing then, it wouldn’t be out of the question for Bale to tackle more than one — but it would be mighty difficult.

Interesting side note: None of the projects in play is a franchise title, nor do there appear to be any openings for roles in tentpoles that could shoot during that time. But Bale, who also toplined “Terminator: Salvation,” has always deftly balanced big-budget genre pics with smaller, kudos-friendly pictures like “I’m Not There” and “The Fighter,” which earned Bale an Academy Award for best supporting actor.

Either way, Bale finds himself in a very unique and favorable position — especially coming off his first year since 2003 without a film in theaters (since 2002 there have only been two years — ’03 and ’04 — in which Bale has not had multiple releases).

He’ll get back on track in 2012 with “The Dark Knight Rises” and period pic “The 13 Women of Nanjing,” which he shot before donning the Batmask for the last time.

Bale has always based his decisions on the material and the people involved. Given the pedigree of each of the projects before him now, it’s anyone’s guess what role he’ll jump into next.

The actor is repped by WME.

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