Christian Bale: I’m Done Playing Batman

 Stephen Vaughan/TM

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.

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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.

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