Michael Caine Was On A Tight Deadline To Decide If He Would Play Alfred In Batman Begins

In Empire’s comprehensive history of “The Dark Knight Trilogy,” Michael Caine told the story of how he first met the director, saying that Nolan had arrived at his house one morning with a script for a movie the director was working on. The actor was under the impression the script the director had with him was for Caine to hold onto and read overnight, and he politely said, “Okay, leave it with me, and I’ll give you a call tomorrow.”

However, he was completely unaware of the urgency and Nolan’s intentions for Caine to read the script that very moment. As Caine puts it, Nolan’s response was as blunt and matter-of-fact as possible (ironic, considering how densely packed and vague most of his films are): “No. I want you to read it now. And then I’m going to take the script away with me.” On the same day that Caine met his future long-time collaborator, he would first read the script for “Batman Begins.” As many others in the filmmaking landscape at the time had thought, the actor was surprised that Nolan would be taking on a blockbuster of this caliber, especially having come off of two small scale, personal thrillers:

“I was expecting a ‘Memento’/’Insomnia’-style thriller. And I got ‘Batman Begins.’ Which completely took me by surprise. I thought that this was a big risk by Warner Bros. Giving this massive, expensive movie to a guy that directed two very small-budget thrillers. But I needn’t have worried…”

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