Since first playing the role of Bruce Wayne’s butler, surrogate father and confidante Alfred in Batman Begins, Michael Caine has become a fixture in Christopher Nolan’s work. And he hopes to keep it that way.
You’ve developed quite a working relationship with Christopher Nolan.
I’m the good luck charm. Chris always says, “You’re my good luck charm,” and I say, “No, Chris. You’re my good luck charm.” I had retired, and now I’ve gone and made the biggest pictures I’ve ever made. I know I’m not the star of them, but that’s not the point. They’re things that will go down in movie history — especially this one. I wouldn’t want to do a fourth and try and top this.
So we can assume you’ll be in whatever he decides to do next, right?
I’ve been in every big movie he’s made since he started Batman. I was in The Prestige, where I had a very good part. It wasn’t a very big part for me in Inception, but it was very good for me because I was in the beginning and the end. I was important because it’s a very puzzling movie. I say to people, “If I’m in it, it’s real. If I’m not, it’s a dream.” And that’s the answer. I only worked for four days — I worked two days in London and, about three months later, two days in Los Angeles. He always uses the same actors and I didn’t really know who was in Inception. I turned up to greet everybody at the end, and the whole cast of Batman walked off the airplane! (laughs)
Over the course of the trilogy, you’ve given Bruce Wayne some great lectures.
Well, I’m the only one who’d dare tell him off, tell him what a moron he is for going out and trying to do all this stuff. In this one, I start with, “You’ve been gone eight years and I prayed you’d never come back.” (laughs)
Do you have a personal favourite of the talking-tos you’ve given him?
There was one in this one, when he gets off a helicopter and I corner him and give him a lecture there. I can’t remember the gist of it — I haven’t seen the picture in two or three weeks. I give him a lecture about, “You’re not who you were.” You get the feeling in audience like, “How dare he talk to Batman like that?” And he’s the only one who can. But he was a point.