Michael Caine believes he will reprise his role Alfred the butler in the third installment of the Batman movie franchise because he is a “good luck charm” for director Chris Nolan. Nolan has helmed the first two installments of the Batman series starring Christian Bale as the Caped Crusader.
The venerable British actor, who has won two Oscars and been knighted for his accomplishments in his half-century-long cinema career, revealed that the new Batman movie will begin filming in May 2011 and Nolan has signed on to direct. Caine has appeared in the last four films directed by Nolan, including the recent blockbuster Inception.
Starring Leo DiCaprio, Inception grossed $287 million in the U.S. alone since being released in July 2010. The last Batman movie, The Dark Knight (2008), is one of the top-grossing movies of all time. It featured Heath Ledger’s Oscar-winning turn as The Joker. The current series began in 2005 with Batman Begins.
Elephant to Hollywood
The 77 year-old cinema legend is on a book tour promoting his latest autobiography, The Elephant to Hollywood. Born Maurice Micklewhite in London’s Elephant and Castle neighborhood (which is located adjacent to London’s Cockney section), Caine wrote a well-received book on acting, Acting in Film, in 1997.
(Not everyone liked the book. Irish actor Richard Harris accused Caine of trying to make a virtue of his limitations as an actor, but of the two — both of whom broke through as stars in the mid-1960s — it was Michael Caine who had the greater career. He arguably is the greatest British movie star of all time, surpassing the career of his friend and fellow cinema knight Sir Sean Connery, also an Oscar-winner, in terms of length and acclaim.)
Michael Caine published the first volume of autobiographical writings in 1993, What’s It All About?. (The title is a play on the song “Alfie” that asks, “What’s it all about, Alfie?” It was the 1966 movie Alfie that won him his first Oscar nomination and made him a star.)
That quite entertaining well-written tome proved that Michael Caine was a born author. It covered his childhood, his service in the Koran War, and his acting career, a career that brought him to America as a tax exile in the 1980s. Caine eventually moved back to England, after the Tory government of Margaret Thatcher lowered the income tax to 40%..
Michael Caine plans to branch out as an author and write a novel. It will be “a thriller about terrorism – the sort of thing I read all the time,” he told the BCC. “It’ll be for guys. It won’t be a great literary effort.”
More than a decade ago, he had an idea for a novel about a terrorist group that hijacked a plane.
“I had this plot where terrorist fly a plane into a London skyscraper,” Caine said. “Then they did it in real life. I was stunned by that, so I stopped writing.”
Although he was born into the working class, Caine controversially supported the Conservative Party in the 2010 general election, denouncing the ruling Labour Party’s income tax policies. Caine said he would return to America if Labour was reelected and raised the top tax rate above the current 50% level.
The Labour Party in the 1970s had hiked the income tax to confiscatory rates for the rich, forcing Caine, his friend Sean Connery and many other British entertainers including Mick Jagger into exile.
With the election of a coalition government headed by the Tories, Caine will not have to leave his beloved England in the near future.
The popular actor, a world-wide symbol of Engalnd, appeared with Conservative Party leader (and now Prime Minister) David Cameron at a pre-election press conference. The Tory leader advocated a new national service scheme that would have 16-year-old youths perform community service for two months. The scheme was enthusiastically supported by Caine.
Representative of “The Forgotten”
The Manchester Guardian quoted Caine as declaring at the press conference, “I’m a representative of all those youngsters who have been forgotten in this country.”
Caine said that Cameron’s plan would help save disadvantaged youth, of whom he once was one, back in his early days in London’s impoverished Elephant and Castle district.
The Guardian estimated Caine’s net worth at 45 million pounds sterling, about $70 million. Many leftists and supporters of the Labour Party denounced Caine for betraying his working class roots by supporting the Tories, the perceived party of the rich.
Manchester Guardian (UK), “Hang on, lads, I’ve got a great idea: Michael Caine backs Tory plan”
On the Red Carpet, “Michael Caine says he assumes he is in ‘Batman 3’, which is directed by Christopher Nolan”
The Third Age, “Michael Caine Wants to Write a Terrorism Novel”