One of the biggest casting achievements of BATMAN BEGINS is Michael Caine as the loyal butler Alfred. The character of Alfred is an integral part of Batmans war against crime. The role requires an actor with some depth, but a sly sense of humor as well. Caine is the perfect choice to fill Alfreds shoes, especially since this BATMAN adventure finally gives Alfred more to do than make dinner.
Katie Holmes plays Rachel Dawes, a childhood friend of Bruce Waynes. As an Assistant D.A. she will try to take on the same criminals as Batman, including the nefarious Dr. Jonathan Crane, a.k.a. The Scarecrow. But she can only get so far with the law. Thats where Batman comes in.
Caine and Holmes took some time to talk with JoBlo about how they got involved with the film, and what they brought to their characters.
|Katie Holmes||Michael Caine|
Can you guys talk about what made you decide to be in this movie? I m sure you get a lot of huge offers all the time.
MICHAEL CAINE (MC): Go on. Youre a lady. You go first.
HOLMES (KH): Ive
been a fan of Chris Nolans since MEMENTO.
I heard they were making this movie and he was going to be the director.
So I tried to get as many meetings as I could at Warner Bros.
Then I went and tested I read for the script and then I went at
tested for the role with Christian [Bale] who was already cast as Batman over in
Which scene did you do with Christian in the audition?
KH: I did a scene in the car, coming from the courthouse. And I dont remember. It was a long day.
it was the slap that got you the part?
KH: [LAUGHS] It was the slap!
MC: Me? Christopher turned up at my house on a Sunday morning with a script and said he was doing BATMAN. Which I thought was extraordinary because I know what Christopher had done with INSOMNIA and MEMENTO. And he made me read it because he wouldnt leave the script. So I gave him lunch and read the script. And Ive seen many BATMAN movies before. And this was called BATMAN BEGINS. I was rather suspicious of that. And at the end, I said, Yeah, this is BATMAN BEGINS. Ill do this. And thats why I did this. Because it was Christopher and the script.
Apparently Christopher and [David] Goyer used the man who would be king when as a reference point when they wrote the script
MC: They never told me that. I would have asked for royalties! [BIG ROOM LAUGH]
I just wanted to know if he discussed anything
MC: No, he never mentioned THE MAN WHO WOULD BE KING. He wouldnt want to pay me anything before I did the movie. No, I dont see any references to THE MAN WHO WOULD BE KING in it. But Im going to go back and have another look.
What qualities best described the characters and what do you most want to bring to the characters?
MC: Do you want me to answer first?
KH: Yeah, go for it.
MC: I wanted to bring a very unusual, very tough butler for Batman. I didnt want to use your obsequious, bobbing, bitter-y serve type of person. I want someone extremely tough. I did a back story on myself. I do it very quickly. He was an SAS Sergeant, which is a very tough British army unit. Got wounded. Didnt want to leave the army. Became in charge of the sergeants mess in the canteen. Therefore he knew how to serve drinks and prepare stuff, which made him attractive to Bruce Waynes father, the billionaire. Because he wanted a very tough butler. And thats how we came around And I used the voice of the first sergeant I ever had in the army.
you think of this while you were in the shower in the morning, did you write
this down, or do you talk about your character with friends over coffee about
MC: No, I never talk with friends about acting. No, no. Thats how I keep them. [LAUGHS] No, I just made up my own mind as I was reading it. It comes to you if youve been doing this for as long as I have. I just said right there, Hes a sergeant. Thats easy. Thats where he came from. I had this voice Your first sergeant in the army, even though I was 18 at the time which was a long time ago stays with you. So thats his voice in the picture.
Is the brief reference he has to Wayne being like his savior, was that improvised or that scripted?
MC: No, everything was in the script. But I was reminded. I made up a military man. And in the British army, officers have a private who does all their stuff. Cleans their boots and their brasses. And he, in fact, is called a batman. So Im Batmans batman.
Katie, everyones blown away by Michael, do you do that kind of prep work? Doing the back story and all that?
KH: Um, no. Thats part of creating your character. Um, and Im sitting here because I love listening to Michael. [CHUCKLES] Tell me more! Give me your secrets!
You must have appreciated that unlike previous Batmans you werent so much a damsel in distress as much as a crusader yourself?
KH: Yeah, you know, thats what I really liked about playing Rachel. She was such as strong female character. And shes tough. And shes able to be honest with Bruce. And she tells him how she really feels and doesnt apologize for it. And she wants to make a difference. I like to see characters like that. I like seeing tough women.
You, of course, had some back story as presented on the screen, too.
KH: Yeah, I mean, it was fun to portray that relationship. That close-knit friendship. Where you have this understanding of each other based on the fact that you know each others pasts. And youre just able to communicate about anything because you know each other so well. I thought it was a really beautiful relationship [with Batman] to explore.
Katie, can you tell me what was the best advice that Christopher Nolan gave to you on the set about acting or anything to do with the scene or the general business overall?
KH: You know, it was great working with Chris Nolan. I was a fan of his. I think hes just a brilliant director. He was great leader on the set as well and such a professional. I enjoyed working with him. He was very collaborative but also let you do your job. And if need be, hed come in and guide you. And if not, hed let you go. He was great. I really enjoyed it. I felt so I trusted him. I saw the movie. I was so proud of it and so proud to be in.
What were the first things that popped into your mind after the end credits rolled? What did you think?
KH: I was just happy. I had a big smile on my face.
Michael, I have to admit, this is the first time Ive seen you inside a movie where there are pyrotechnics discharged around you.
MC: I was a soldier when I was very young. I try to stay away from pyrotechnics as much as possible, for the rest of my life! (LAUGHS)
Sure, though. Youve done the man who would be king. But no movie pyrotechnics
MC: Yeah, well I was at an age when there wasnt that much stuff Remember, its only in the recent years, theres more if youre a leading man in that type of thing. But I was in GOLDMEMBER, which is quite pyrotechnical on a comedy basis. But I have not been in any films that have been special effects-lead.
Are they aggravating or do you adjust to it?
MC: I remember once being in, for some reason, I was in Supermans basket against a green screen. And they have to take a cast of your body because its so close. What the hell movie was that? [PAUSE] Anyway, I cant say I remember. It was a green movie. It was all green at the back.
Katie, as opposed to the other actors, your character doesnt exist in a comic book. Is it easier for you to prepare or would you rather have a comic book character to relate to?
KH: I It was great to play Rachel. I didnt have the comic book character to draw from. But it was just like playing another character. You create from whats on the page. The script is so well-written that its pretty much all on the page.
You seem to be the only ray of light in the entire movie.
KH: Rachel, yeah, is very much an independent thinker. She has a lot of idealistic views of the world. Shes trying to make it a better place.
Can you talk about working with Christian Bale?
MC: Christian is so dedicated. The first sign of it is physical. I havent seen THE MACHINIST. Otherwise I would have been more impressed. I remember him from being a slight young man from AMERICAN PSYCHO. I mean, you did look at him and go, God! And I turned up on the set of BATMAN and there was Arnold Schwarzenegger standing in front of me. And so I thought, Boy, this guy has really gone into it. Then his dedication to the part is quite extraordinary. Hes a wonderful actor. Hes a very nice man, too. I dont know him socially. Because you dont go out to dinner with the guy whos playing Batman, because hes been there two months before you got there, and hes going to be there three months after youve gone. Hes been doing this for, you know, its absolutely exhausting.
One of the things about his own character which affected our relationship is that hes a very egalitarian kind of person himself. We talked about this. He hates master-servant relationships. So we drew a line along that in which I know how far an English servant would go without being so obsequious or overbearing. And he knew how far he would go in patronizing a servant, in which is no way at all. It came out as a very good relationship which met in the middle of equal lines. It was very fortunate for us that I knew the other side of it. Because my mother was a cook in these big houses in the country during the war when I was evacuated. So I knew all about the butler and everything.
And Ive seen the line in which masters, who were very kind to their staff, came down to and I knew the line where the butler went up to and neither of them ever crossed the line. And thats what I did with Christian. I always called him Master, Master Wayne. Because I wanted to keep this idea that he was a small boy which made the humorous stuff with him funnier. Because I treated him as a small boy in these shenanigans he was getting up to. I was always pissed off, you know, that this little boy has gone out and done all this stuff like climb up the Empire State building with a guy in his hand.
reaction when you called him Master
MC: Yeah, he liked it. He thought, Yeah, would that be what hed be called? I said, Yes. What he knew is that it was truthful. If its the truth it works, if it aint doesnt.
You became his father in a way?
MC: Yes, because Bruce becomes an orphan. And he brings him up.
Are either of you committed to doing another Batman movie?
MC: Mentally. Yeah, I really want to do another one. Ha! Ha!
Contractually obliged or no?
MC: No, no.
Katie, weve talked about your character relationship. Can we talk about your personal relationships right now?
How are you?
MC: Oh, I wonder what its going to be about! Im going to be left out here before I take off! (LAUGHS)
how are things going?
KH: Im so happy. Thank you.
Can you expand on that?
Well, what do you like about Tom?
KH: Um, okay. Hes the most amazing man I have ever met. The smartest man. The most generous. The best artist I have ever met. Um, amazing I love him.
How are you able to handle all the attention that you have got?
KH: I couldnt be happier. I mean, honestly.
KH: Im in love with Tom Cruise.
No such thing as downside. The name says it all, huh?
KH: Yes, hes amazing.
Katie, what was the first thing tom ever said to you?
And what was your response?
And Michael, what do you think about Tom?
MC: I met Tom before she did. The first time I met Tom was at the after-party of the premiere here of a film called EDUCATING RITA, and my wife went to the toilet, and so there was an empty seat next to me. And suddenly there was a young man sitting next to me. And he said, I want to be a movie actor. And he was he was very young and he was telling me how he wanted to be a movie actor. And I sort of did that good luck to him and all. I thought hed go somewhere [career-wise]. And I asked him what his name was. And he said, Im Tom Cruise, sir. And then he went. And that was it. And he called me sir. I just saw [today] in a corridor and he called me Michael!
Katie, whats your favorite Tom Cruise moment in any of his movies?
KH: I love all of his movies. I love all his movies. I love Tom.
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