Christian Bale's days as a superhero are over.
"I wrapped a few days ago so that will be the last time I'm taking that [Batman hood] off," The Dark Knight Rises star tells the Philippine Daily Inquirer. "I believe that the whole production wrapped yesterday, so it's all done. Everything's finished. It's me and [director Christopher Nolan] -- that will be the end of that Batman era."
The era began in 2005, when Bale joined forces with Nolan to reinvigorate the flailing franchise, based on a series of graphic novels. (Previous actors who played Batman include Adam West, Michael Keaton, Val Kilmer and George Clooney.) The first film, Batman Begins, earned $372 million worldwide, though its sequel The Dark Knight (costarring the late Heath Ledger) fared much better, earning $1 billion globally.
The Dark Knight Rises features some old characters -- Lucius Fox (Morgan Freeman), Alfred Pennyworth (Michael Caine) and James Gordon (Gary Oldman) -- and introduces some new faces: Catwoman (Anne Hathaway), John Blake (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) and Bane (Tom Hardy).
"In many ways, [Hathaway] has the hardest job," Bale, 37, says. "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."
As for Gordon-Levitt, 30? "Joseph is a very intriguing guy," Bale says. "He's somebody who truly seems to love acting. He's a good, smart guy."
The Dark Knight Rises hits theaters July 20, 2012.