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 Batman’s 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 Alfred’s shoes, especially since
this BATMAN adventure finally gives Alfred more to do than make dinner.
Holmes plays Rachel Dawes, a childhood friend of Bruce Wayne’s. 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. That’s 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|
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.
CAINE (MC): Go on.
You’re a lady. You go first.
HOLMES (KH): I’ve
been a fan of Chris Nolan’s 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
scene did you do with Christian in the audition?
I did a scene in the car, coming from the courthouse.
And… I don’t 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 wouldn’t leave the script. So I gave him lunch and read the script. And I’ve 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. I’ll do this.’ And that’s 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 –
They never told me that. I would
have asked for royalties! [BIG ROOM LAUGH]
just wanted to know if he discussed anything –
MC: No, he never mentioned THE MAN WHO WOULD BE KING. He wouldn’t want to pay me anything before I did the movie. No, I don’t see any references to THE MAN WHO WOULD BE KING in it. But I’m going to go back and have another look.
qualities best described the characters and what do you most want to bring to
MC: Do you want me to answer first?
KH: Yeah, go for it.
I wanted to bring a very unusual, very tough butler for Batman.
I didn’t 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. Didn’t want to
leave the army. Became in charge of
the sergeant’s mess in the canteen. Therefore
he knew how to serve drinks and prepare stuff, which made him attractive to
Bruce Wayne’s father, the billionaire. Because
he wanted a very tough butler. And
that’s 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. That’s how I keep them. [LAUGHS] No, I just made up my own mind as I was reading it. It comes to you if you’ve been doing this for as long as I have. I just said right there, ‘He’s a sergeant.’ That’s easy. That’s 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 that’s his voice in the picture.
Is the brief reference he has to Wayne being like his savior, was that improvised or that scripted?
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 I’m Batman’s batman.
Katie, everyone’s blown away by Michael, do you do that kind of prep work? Doing the back story and all that?
KH: Um, no. That’s part of creating your character. Um, and I’m 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 weren’t so much a damsel in distress as much as a crusader yourself?
KH: Yeah, you know, that’s what I really liked about playing Rachel. She was such as strong female character. And she’s tough. And she’s able to be honest with Bruce. And she tells him how she really feels and doesn’t apologize for it. And she wants to make a difference. I like to see characters like that. I like seeing tough women.
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 you’re 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.
can you tell me what was the best advice that Christopher
gave to you on the set about acting or anything to do with the scene or the
general business overall?
You know, it was great working with Chris Nolan.
I was a fan of his. I think
he’s 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, he’d come in and guide you.
And if not, he’d 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?
I was just happy. I had a big smile
on my face.
Michael, I have to admit, this is the first time I’ve seen you inside a movie where there are pyrotechnics discharged around you.
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)
though. You’ve done the man who
would be king. But no movie
Yeah, well I was at an age when there wasn’t that much stuff Remember,
it’s only in the recent years, there’s more if you’re 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 Superman’s basket against a green screen. And they have to take a cast of your body because it’s so close. What the hell movie was that? [PAUSE] Anyway, I can’t say I remember. It was a green movie. It was all green at the back.
Katie, as opposed to the other actors, your character doesn’t exist in a comic book. Is it easier for you to prepare or would you rather have a comic book character to relate to?
I… It was great to play Rachel. I
didn’t have the comic book character to draw from.
But it was just like playing another character.
You create from what’s on the page.
The script is so well-written that it’s pretty much all on the page.
You seem to be the only ray of light in the entire movie.
Rachel, yeah, is very much an independent thinker.
She has a lot of idealistic views of the world.
She’s 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 haven’t 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. He’s a wonderful actor. He’s a very nice man, too. I don’t know him socially. Because you don’t go out to dinner with the guy who’s playing Batman, because he’s been there two months before you got there, and he’s going to be there three months after you’ve gone. He’s been doing this for, you know, it’s absolutely exhausting.
One of the things about his own character which affected our relationship is that he’s 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.
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 that’s 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 he’d be called?’ I said, ‘Yes.’ What he knew is that it was truthful. If it’s the truth it works, if it ain’t… doesn’t.
You became his father in a way?
Yes, because Bruce becomes an orphan. And
he brings him up.
either of you committed to doing another Batman
MC: Mentally. Yeah, I really want to do another one. Ha! Ha!
Contractually obliged or no?
Katie, we’ve talked about your character relationship. Can we talk about your personal relationships right now?
MC: Oh, I wonder what it’s going to be about! I’m going to be left out here before I take off! (LAUGHS)
how are things going?
KH: I’m so happy. Thank you.
Can you expand on that?
Well, what do you like about Tom?
Um, okay. He’s 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
How are you able to handle all the attention that you have got?
KH: I couldn’t
be happier. I mean, honestly.
I’m in love…with Tom Cruise.
No such thing as downside. The name says it all, huh?
Yes, he’s amazing.
Katie, what was the first thing tom ever said to you?
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 he’d go somewhere [career-wise]. And I asked him what his name was. And he said, ‘I’m 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!
what’s your favorite Tom
moment in any of his movies?
KH: I love all of his movies. I love all his movies. I love Tom.
BEGINS TO WIPE THE FLOOR WITH THE COMPETITION ON WEDNESDAY JUNE 15