On the promotional campaign for Zhang Yimou’s ‘The Flowers of War,’ Christian Bale opened up to the Inquirer about his three new co-stars – Anne Hathaway, Tom Hardy and Joseph Gordon-Levitt – in Christopher Nolan’s hugely anticipated Batman threequel ‘The Dark Knight Rises.’ The film also stars Michael Caine, Gary Oldman, Morgan Freeman, Marion Cotillard, Juno Temple, Josh Pence, Daniel Sunjata, Nestor Carbonell, Tom Conti, Joey King, Brett Cullen, Chris Ellis, Josh Stewart, Christopher Judge, Adam Rodriguez and Rob Brown.

Talking about Anne Hathaway: I’m terrible at auditions, so I’m very impressed when somebody really seems to acquire an ownership of a character without having worked on it or prepared for some amount of time. I saw that in Anne. In many ways, she has the hardest job. There are a number of people who feel that the Catwoman role has been defined previously. So, I always saw Anne’s role as being the toughest job of any of us.”

About Tom Hardy, who plays Bane: “He is a phenomenal actor. I like working with him a great deal. He goes the whole hog. I know that Bane has been seen in movies before. But, in my eyes, Tom is essentially creating Bane for the first time so there’s great freedom for him to be able to do so.”

And about Joseph Gordon-Levitt: “Joseph is a very intriguing guy… He’s somebody who truly seems to love acting. He’s a good, smart guy. He did a very good job in the movie.”

He also talked briefly about Christopher Nolan’s Batman: “We always maintained from the beginning that if you wanted to break it down, there are three personas – Batman is sincere, the private Bruce Wayne is sincere. The public version of Bruce Wayne, the playboy, is a completely fabricated performance.”

The plot for the film is being kept securely under lock and key, judging by the teaser and the previous two films I’d expect something E P I C. Chistopher Nolan will direct the film from a screenplay he wrote with Jonathan Nolan. The filming locations for ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ have spanned three continents and include the American cities of Pittsburgh, New York and Los Angeles, as well as sites in India, England and Scotland. ‘The Dark Knight Rises,’ the eagerly anticipated epic conclusion to the Dark Knight legend, is scheduled for release on July 20th 2012.

Every hero has a journey. Every journey has an end. Christopher Nolan returns to complete the epic Gotham trilogy that launched with Batman Begins and reached the stratosphere with the billion-dollar blockbuster The Dark Knight. Batman is now hunted by the law led by his friend Commisioner Gordon for taking the blame of Harvey Dent’s murders and protecting his reputation. He must quickly deal with the arrival of new villain Bane who is bent on the destruction and chaos of Gotham City, face old wounds and get a handle on the enigmatic Selina Kyle before his city is lost for good.