UPDATE: Marion Cotillard in Discussions for The Dark Knight Rises

While her name has been speculated in connection with The Dark Knight Rises since well before the film even had a title, French Newspaper Le Fiagro is now reporting that Inception actress Marion Cotillard is joining the cast of Christopher Nolan’s next film.

"Marion Cotillard will join the production this summer in Los Angeles," the article claims (translated from French), "where she will share the bill with Anne Hathaway."

While the newspaper’s journalistic integrity certainly carries some weight, Cotillard’s casting is far from confirmed and it’s unclear exactly what Le Figaro‘s original source is on the matter. That being said, another female lead would lend some credence to persistent online rumors that Talia al Ghul, daughter of Batman Begins‘ Ra’s al Ghul, will play a major role in The Dark Knight Rises‘ storyline.

Also still unconfirmed is last week’s rumor that Joseph Gordon-Levitt has signed on for a part in the film. If both pieces of casting are true, Cotillard and Gordon-Levitt will join Tom Hardy in the role of Bane and Michael Caine in the role of Alfred as members of the Inception cast now heading (returning, in the case of Caine) to Nolan’s Gotham City.

Though also pure speculation at this stage, Gordon-Levitt’s role has been suggested to be that of Alberto Falcone, the son of Tom Wilkinson’s Carmine Falcone. If the children of both Falcone and al Ghul do appear in the film, it is likely that The Dark Knight Rises will have a strong focus on sons and daughters as, in the comic book series, Selina Kyle (to be played by Hathaway) suspects Carmine Falcone of being her father. As such, the theme of children and familial legacy would theoretically offer a parallel to Bruce Wayne’s own struggle against the loss of his parents.

Regardless of which rumors pan out and which do not, The Dark Knight Rises will begin production soon, aiming for a July 20th, 2012 release.

UPDATE: The Hollywood Reporter has followed-up with Cotillard’s representative, who says that she is "in discussions, but nothing has been confirmed." The actress is pregnant and due in the spring, though the plan would be for her to start shooting mid-June in London, film all summer in L.A. and Pittsburgh and wrap mid-November in New York.