Christian Bale jumps in ‘Out of the Furnace’

Cooper targeting Mortensen for villain role

Christian Bale has finally found his follow-up to “The Dark Knight Rises,” as he’s in talks to star in Relativity Media’s “Out of the Furnace,” which is heating up with “Crazy Heart” helmer Scott Cooper writing and directing.

Pic is one of the five projects Variety first reported Bale was circling, as Variety first reported August 24.

“Furnace” is based on Brad Ingelsby’s story “The Low Dweller,” and is envisioned as a gritty throwback to pics of the 1970’s. Plot follows an ex-con bent on avenging the death of his younger brother as soon as he’s released from prison.

Cooper is targeting Viggo Mortensen to play the villain, while Casey Affleck, Garrett Hedlund, Taylor Kitsch and Channing Tatum are among the actors circling the part of Bale’s brother. Robert Duvall, who is related to Cooper, has long been rumored to play the protag’s uncle, who helps him on his quest for vengeance.

It’s no surprise that so many top actors have expressed interest in the project, considering its high pedigree; In addition to Relativity, producers include Leonardo DiCaprio’s Appian Way and Ridley and Tony Scott’s banner Scott Free, as well as Brooklyn Weaver of Energy Entertainment.

Relativity cautions that no deals are in place and that additional casting will depend on whether Bale signs on to the project. Thesp was offered the lead role last summer but it was unclear whether he’d be available, as he planned on doing two Terrence Malick films back-to-back. Current plan calls for Bale to shoot the first Malick film until the end of May and have him jump into “Furnace” sometime in June before filming the second Malick project in September.

Bale is repped by WME.