As another year clicks by on the calendar, it means we’re that much closer to Christopher Nolan‘s The Dark Knight Rises. The third in Nolan’s Batman trilogy, scheduled for release July 2012, won’t shoot a frame of film for several months yet rumors about it continue to spread. We’ve got a whole bunch today and here…we….go.

Collider is reporting they’ve heard both Eva Green (Casino Royale) and Naomi Watts (King Kong) have been cast as two rumored female leads in the film, Talia al Ghul, daughter of Ra’s al Ghul and Vicki Vale, photojournalist, respectively. They also heard some rumblings about the new Batcave and Batmobile.

Meanwhile, a Chicago blog has run a report that Nolan will not be shooing the movie in the Windy City, instead moving the action to Detroit and several sites are speculating that Tom Hardy‘s latest haircut is confirmation of his role. Right. We break this all down after the jump.

We’ll start with the most plausible rumor and work our way down. Collider quotes unnamed, trusted sources as the people behind the information on the Eva Green and Naomi Watts castings. However the site is quick to point out that neither Nolan or Warner Brothers will confirm anything ever so whether it’s true or not, there’s no way yet to tell. But everything does kind of fit.

Watts was mentioned on a short list of actresses we heard about a few months ago and she fits the look of Vicky Vale, who could be Bruce Wayne’s love interest now that Rachel Dawes is dead. As for Green, she certainly looks like she could be Ra’s al Ghul’s daughter and bringing that character into the mix would thematically fit into the story Nolan has been telling. So…maybe.

The Collider piece also mentions that principal photography will begin on May 6th and post-production starts November 28th. Michael Caine said as much a few months ago so, again, that sounds possible.

Finally, these unnamed sources also told Collider that the Batmobile, aka The Tumbler, has been redesigned as sleeker and that the Batcave is back, very much the same as in Batman Begins, just with some additions like a Batcomputer and storage for multiple Batsuits. Again, this all makes perfect sense because the Batmobile was destroyed in The Dark Knight and the Batcave has been under construction since the end of Batman Begins, but any one of us could have made these conclusions based on seeing the movies. Of course the Batmobile and Batcave are going to be improved.

Next rumor. Over at ReelChicago, they posted the following brief a few weeks back.

SORRY TO SAY that Detroit won out over Chicago as a location for writer/director Christopher Nolan’s latest “Batman” entry, “The Dark Knight Rises.” Instead of shooting here, as originally announced, the movie will film in Detroit. Starting in May, it also will shoot in New Orleans, and two locations in the UK.

There’s no source for that information but it doesn’t make sense. We’ve heard the New Orleans rumors, and if Batman went to Hong Kong in the last film, maybe he goes to the UK this time around but Nolan’s Gotham is Chicago, plain and simple. Budget certainly isn’t an issue and the city of Chicago has obviously welcomed big productions with open arms recently (Michael Bay basically blew the city up for Transformers: Dark of the Moon) so who knows what this lady is talking about. Still, she was confident enough to print it, so maybe it’s true, maybe it’s not.

Edit: /Film reader Brian wrote in to suggest the possible reason for leaving Chicago is hotel rooms. He says the city as a whole is losing major events regularly because the cost of luxury suites are almost double nearby cities. He seems to think the film can save millions just by setting up camp somewhere else and doing exteriors in Chicago. I wasn’t able to find any literature behind this claim, but it was worth noting.

Edit #2: Here are some links backing up this claim. Link 1, Link 2, Link 3.

Finally, the funniest rumor is that Tom Hardy is definitely playing Dr. Hugo Strange because he’s been spotted with a shaved head. First of all, the photos on Movieweb don’t even confirm he has a shaved head. It sort of looks like it but, you can’t be sure. Second of all, the guy has been making a ton of movies recently, any one of which might require him to shave his head for reshoots or whatever. Finally, even if he does have to shave his head to play Dr. Hugo Strange, assuming that’s who he is playing, he has at least four months or so before filming. Why would he do it now? Here’s one of the “incriminating” photos.

[No photo]

Those are all the current Dark Knight Rises rumors that are fit to print. Which seem most reasonable to you?

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