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`I've gotta do this'

Michael Caine is the superhero's mentor in Batman Begins


We have all seen a series of Batman movies. Batman this and Batman that and now it is the turn of Batman Begins, which also stars Michael Caine. In an exclusive interview with Friday Review, he speaks about his new role.

It's unusual to see you in a blockbuster that revolves around a comic character.

Yeah. That comes under my heading of an offer I can't refuse. I don't work very much. I only work when I really want to. And when this came up, I thought, "I've gotta do this." Especially as it was Christopher Nolan doing it. When he came to see me with the script "Why is he doing Batman?" I thought. He did Memento and Insomnia. It's weird that he's doing this."

And then it said Batman Begins, I thought: "Wait a minute, I've seen six or seven Batman's." But when I read the script, it really was a different, sensible approach to Batman. I've always wanted to know how he did it, why he started, where the fear came from, where the idea came from to be a Batman, cause you always think this was some nut, putting on a Batsuit. Starts flying around New York, and say, "What, is he crazy?" But of course, he's not.

I was talking to a reporter yesterday and he said to me, "I'm a great 'Batman' fan, have been all my life. I would like to thank you, on behalf of all us fans, for finally making the 'Batman' that we all wanted to see."

The story surprised me. Christopher has something to do with it?

He wrote it. A lot of the stunts are real, absolutely real. You get a sense of story and a sense of structure, which is what Christopher is good at. It builds and builds like a symphony.

What do say of Christian Bale?

He's excellent. I didn't know him personally before the picture. But I remembered him from American Psycho.

What you have there is a split personality. And here again it's a split personality. The nice, bright, young American boy, but with a deep dark side. And Christian was an ideal casting for that.

Was it difficult for you to go from the conventional reality of Batman, I mean of Bruce Wayne, to the more science fictional world of Batman in the basement and all that?

Not at all. Because I knew what he was doing. I mean, I obviously registered surprise, shock, and anger at things I saw, if I disagreed with it. But, what I see myself is that I'm the human footprint that stays on the ground when he goes flying off.

And he always comes back to me. I bring in the human side of it.

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