(Update 5:40 p.m. PST: The casting carousel continues, as Keira Knightley, Anne Hathaway, Kate Mara, Jessica Biel and her "Easy Virtue" co-star Charlotte Riley are also said to be testing for two lead roles, according to the Hollywood Reporter.
Riley is a British actress who is engaged to Nolan's "Inception" star Tom Hardy, who has already been cast in an unspecified role (rumored to be Dr. Hugo Strange). I'm not a die-hard "Batman" fan or anything, but Knightley, Biel and Mara would be all wrong for Gotham City, and while Hathaway is a terrific actress, I just don't see her as a good fit for the "Dark Knight" universe.)
Have Naomi Watts and Eva Green been cast as Vicki Vale and Talia al Ghul in Christopher Nolan's "The Dark Knight Rises?"
That's what a mysterious source (could it be the Joker?) has told Collider, which presumably vetted the rumors before publishing them. After all, Nolan is known for disseminating false information about his movies.
Watts' representation at CAA unsurprisingly had "no comment," and I have no doubt that the phones at Warner Bros. and Legendary Pictures are ringing off the hook right about now with inquiries about the highly anticipated sequel.
So why is Deal Central picking this up? Because they're the first "Dark Knight Rises" rumors that actually seem fairly credible.
It's more than a stretch to imagine Eddie Murphy as the Riddler, as has been reported, but it's not that hard to see Watts playing intrepid reporter Vale, who would presumably serve as Bruce Wayne's new love interest now that Maggie Gyllenhaal's Rachel Dawes is out of the picture.
Jane Adams originated the role in the 1949 serial "Batman and Robin," and Kim Basinger memorably picked up the gauntlet in Tim Burton's "Batman."
Watts was previously reported to be on the list of actresses that Nolan was looking at for the "Dark Knight" sequel, and if she's actually been cast, she'd likely be the best love interest Christian Bale's Batman has had thus far. The soon-to-be Oscar-nominated actor had no chemistry with his "Batman Begins" co-star Katie Holmes, whose role was recast with Gyllenhaal, and while her performance was much better than Holmes', she and Bale didn't work that well as a couple, either.
Watts could certainly use a starring role in a blockbuster with wide appeal; the actress has been stuck in a string of serious movies that have limited appeal to audiences. The "King Kong" star could stand to lighten up and have some fun on the heels of "The Painted Veil," "Eastern Promises," "Funny Games," The International," "Mother and Child," "Fair Game" and J.A. Bayona's upcoming tsunami drama "The Impossible."
Green's name is new to the "Dark Knight" mix, and her exotic looks would probably be perfect for the role of Talia Al Ghul. Liam Neeson played Ra's al Ghul in "Batman Begins" and Nolan has indicated that he'd like to bring the self-contained trilogy full circle, so it's possible that the character's daughter could wind up as the villain of the film.
Green has previously appeared in several big-budget blockbusters including "Casino Royale," "The Golden Compass" and Ridley Scott's "Kingdom of Heaven," and she next stars opposite Ewan McGregor in the Sundance drama "Perfect Sense."
Oddly enough, McGregor co-stars with Watts in "The Impossible," and both actresses have worked with Daniel Craig -- Green in "Casino Royale" and Watts in the upcoming DreamWorks thriller "Dream House," a film that co-stars Rachel Weisz, who also found herself on the alleged "Dark Knight Rises" shortlist and was previously rumored to play a Bond girl in Sam Mendes' upcoming movie.
Have I stopped making sense yet?
Collider has several other rumored details of the production, including some proposed start dates and news about the Batmobile, Batcave and of course, the Batsuit, so head over there for additional information.
Honestly, I don't care who Christopher Nolan casts in "The Dark Knight Rises" -- actually, I do, and tips are greatly appreciated -- I just know that July 20, 2012 can't come soon enough.