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What Is Senator Patrick Leahy Doing in ‘The Dark Knight’?

Photo: Getty Images, Courtesy of Warner Bros.

We thought we recognized the patrician voice of a silver-haired party patron getting shaken down by Heath Ledger's Joker in The Dark Knight, and yes, it's six-term Vermont senator Patrick Leahy, in one of the more bizarre cameos of the summer. Clearly, Leahy saw what that Wedding Crashers cameo did for fellow Senate maverick John McCain, and is now out to get his own Cheddar. Though shot mostly from behind and in profile at a fund-raising party thrown by Bruce Wayne, Leahy does get a line — and he even gets to represent for Democrats and talk tough on terror, barking, "We won't be intimidated by thugs!" (He has experience in withstanding tense standoffs, having famously been told "Go fuck yourself" by Dick Cheney on the Senate floor.)

Other than the fact that Leahy's apparently a comic-book fan (having previously done an episode of voice work for the mid-nineties Batman animated series), Warner Bros. publicity representatives had no knowledge of any special connections between director Christopher Nolan and the current chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, though maybe they're just playing their cards close to the vest. After all, given that this is the summer of cross-pollinated comic-book spinoffs and foreshadowing, with Nick Fury popping up in Iron Man and Tony Stark in The Incredible Hulk, clearly the Vermont politician is being set up for his own superhero franchise. May we suggest Dairy-Devil? —Brent Simon