We reported just a few days ago that The Dark Knight Rises will start shooting this April in New Orleans, and it seems the casting process is kicking into high gear. Deadline reports that top-flight actresses such as Natalie Portman, Rachel Weisz, Naomi Watts, Blake Lively, Anne Hathaway and Keira Knightley are vying for two very different roles in The Dark Knight Rises.

There will be two female leads in the sequel, one of which will be the new love interest for Christian Bale's Bruce Wayne, and the other of which will be a villain. No offers are out yet, although director Christopher Nolan is planning on meeting with all of these actresses at some point in the coming weeks.

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Two of the names that weren't mentioned in the story are Charlize Theron and Vera Farmiga. We reported last week that Charlize Theron is up for the role of Detective Sarah Essen and that Vera Farmiga had auditioned for Julie Madison, which will be the love-interest role for Bruce Wayne.

We'll be sure to keep you posted as soon as an official casting announcement is made.