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Heath Ledger set as Joker in ‘Batman’ sequel

Christian Bale reprises as Batman in director Nolan's “The Dark Knight”
/ Source: The Associated Press

Heath Ledger will play the Joker in “The Dark Knight,” the sequel to last year’s “Batman Begins.”

Christian Bale will again star as Batman, and Christopher Nolan will return as director, Warner Bros. studio announced Monday.

“The Dark Knight” is set to begin production next year.

Ledger, 27, was nominated for a best actor Oscar for his role in 2005’s “Brokeback Mountain.”

“Our challenge in casting the Joker was to find an actor who is not just extraordinarily talented but fearless,” Nolan said in a statement issued by Warner Bros. “Watching Heath Ledger’s interpretation of this iconic character taking on Christian Bale’s Batman is going to be incredible.”

Jack Nicholson played the Joker in 1989’s “Batman,” starring Michael Keaton as Batman and directed by Tim Burton.