Heath Ledger To Play Joker In 'Batman' Sequel

'The Dark Knight' due in 2008.

The last time we saw the Joker in a Batman movie, he was trashing the Gotham Art Museum and grinning his maniacal grin while busting up busts and painting over masterpieces to a soundtrack by Prince.

In the upcoming sequel to "Batman Begins," Heath Ledger, 27, will get his shot at the villain Jack Nicholson reinvented in 1989 when he takes over the role of the Joker. According to Variety, the Oscar nominated "Brokeback Mountain" lead has signed on to be the bad guy in "The Dark Knight," which is expected to go into production early next year.

Christian Bale will be back as Batman/ Bruce Wayne, joined by "Batman Begins" director Christopher Nolan, whose brother Jonathan will write the script. Jonathan Nolan previously penned the screenplay for 2006's "The Prestige," directed by his brother and starring Bale, and wrote the short story that inspired Christopher Nolan's 2000 breakthrough "Memento."

The sequel to the $370 million grossing "Begins" will likely be released in the summer of 2008, Variety reported, where it could face stiff competition from the next James Bond flick and another big-screen superhero adaptation, "Iron Man."

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