Batman film in 2011? It's a mystery made for Holmes

SAN DIEGO (Reuters) - Holy start date, Batman fans! Actor Gary Oldman, who starred in the recent blockbuster Batman movies let it slip on Friday that a new flick about the crime-fighting superhero is set to start filming next year -- but you didn’t hear it from him.

Cast member Gary Oldman attends a promotional event for the upcoming movie "The Book of Eli" during the 40th annual Comic Con Convention in San Diego July 24, 2009. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni

Oldman, who played Commissioner Gordon in director Christopher Nolan’s “Batman Begins” and “The Dark Knight” was promoting another movie, thriller “The Book of Eli,” at the giant Comic-Con convention in San Diego when he was asked about plans for a third movie in Nolan’s hit series.

“We start filming the next ‘Batman’ next year, which means it won’t come out for another two years,” he said, before adding in a sly tone, “but you didn’t hear that from me.”

No details of a third Nolan “Batman” flick have ever been announced and a Warner Bros. spokeswoman declined to comment, which only added mystery to intrigue.

Still, it doesn’t take money-hungry Batman nemesis The Joker to figure out that Warner Bros., which makes and releases the Batman flicks, would be thinking about a new one. After all, the first two movies combined took in nearly $1.4 billion at global box offices.

Meanwhile, Comic-Con attendees got a glimpse of 2010 movie “The Book of Eli” in which Denzel Washington portrays a lone traveler in an America ravaged by nuclear war.

Fans also took in footage of a new “Sherlock Holmes” movie starring Robert Downey Jr. as the British detective created more than a century ago by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

Downey told a crowd at the convention of comic book fans and movie lovers that Holmes “was probably the first superhero. He was an intellectual superhero.”

Despite the numerous film and television adaptations that have come before, Downey believes there is room for this new version directed by Guy Ritchie and set for a Christmas debut.

“I think the more we all looked into the original lexicon of the four novels and dozens of short stories, in a way he had been misrepresented in a lot of the previous filmed and television entertainment versions,” said Downey. “Some of it was constraint at times because he was liberal and hippie, and there were also budget issues.”

Downey said every time the team behind this new film was in doubt about a direction, they would return to what Doyle originally wrote or said about the characters.

“We reinvigorated (the film) by changing less than had been changed before,” he said.

While the new movie explores Holmes’ world from the books, the actual narrative comes from a graphic novel that producer Lionel Wigman created to reboot the franchise in Hollywood.

Downey’s Holmes will match wits with the villainous Lord Blackwood, and the film will deal with the occult -- a popular subject in the Victorian era in which the movie is set.

Editing by Bob Tourtellotte and Alex Dobuzinskis