When Hollywood needs a bankable actor to snag a Wild West outlaw, Pablo Escobar or a few thousand Terminators, they send for Christian Bale, so why not send him after John Dillinger? This summer’s Dark Knight is in talks to star in the 2009 mobster drama Public Enemies for director Michael Mann. Bale’s rumored for the role of FBI agent Melvin Purvis, who became an American hero in 1934, the year his relentless manhunt for Dillinger culminated in the 31-year-old gangster being shot dead after he fled from a movie theater by Purvis’ men. To fire off another few rounds of cool, Johnny Depp is already signed to star as Dillinger, his first mobster role since 1997′s Donnie Brasco. Other gangsters yet to be cast include Pretty Boy Floyd and Baby Face Nelson.

Don’t tap my phones or have me tailed, but I’d like to see Bale in a role where he isn’t the stoic cat to a flamboyant mouse, or in the case of the terrific Rescue Dawn, a stoic, half-crazed mouse that surprisingly didn’t eat a cat. Even with Nolan’s Batman films, it seems like Bale is always the icy match to another actor in the opposing corner. I almost expect his films to have a “versus” on the posters. In my mind, this started circa 2005 with the quickly swept away Harsh Times. Does his agent have a Jordan vs. Bird complex? That’s better than a Space Jam complex, but it’s still curious.

Yeah, I guess I’m pining for a Patrick Bateman-esque role, where he, oddly, felt more thawed out than in Equilibrium. Can you imagine the dude in something like Music and Lyrics? Would you wonder the whole time whether his character was going to bust into a Mr. Blonde psycho shuffle? As for Depp, so many of his recent roles have slipped in and out of an ornate straight jacket, I almost expect his Dillinger to wear rouge and talk to peacocks; mobster as Little Edie Beale.

This film had me sold at Mann and Depp, so attaching another four reputable letters is okay with me.

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