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Keira Knightley, Jessica Biel eye Batman

Thesps to test for The Dark Knight Rises

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Jessica Biel, Anne Hathaway and Keira Knightley are three of the star thesps in the frame to join Christian Bale in The Dark Knight Rises, the Hollywood Reporter, er, reports.

Helmsman Christopher Nolan is looking to fill two meaty female roles in the next Batman outing, one of those being the daughter of villain Ra's Al Ghul.

Former Bond girl Gemma Arterton was also pencilled in for a screen test, but she may now have scheduling problems since she's just landed the lead in Paramount's Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters.

Biel, Hathaway and Knightley will present their acting credentials in the next two weeks. They'll be up against relatively unknown hopefuls Kate Mara and Charlotte Riley.

Mara had small parts in Iron Man 2 and 127 Hours, while Riley has worked mostly in TV, including on ITV's 2009 adaptation of Wuthering Heights.

Filming on The Dark Knight Rises is slated to begin in May. ®

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