Batman: Christian Bale has been cast in the starring role of Bruce Wayne in Warner Bros. Pictures' upcoming Batman movie, to be directed by Christopher Nolan and produced by Emma Thomas. The announcement was made today by Jeff Robinov, President of production for Warner Bros. Pictures.

Principal photography on the film is expected to begin in early 2004. The movie is written by David Goyer and Nolan, and will follow the early career of The Dark Knight.

Said Nolan, "What I see in Christian is the ultimate embodiment of Bruce Wayne. He has exactly the balance of darkness and light that we were looking for."

Robinov stated, "Now that we've found the best person to play Batman, we are really looking forward to moving ahead with the rest of our casting, and are excited about the exceptional group we are assembling."

Bale, who first drew critical attention for his starring role in "Empire of the Sun," has starred in such diverse motion pictures as "Little Women," "Portrait of a Lady, "Metroland," "American Psycho" and "Laurel Canyon."