Michael Caine expects to play Alfred in a third Batman, but not soon

Michael Caine, who plays Alfred the butler in the current Batman series, told a group of reporters that he expects to be called for a third film, but not for a while. Director Christopher Nolan has expressed doubts about completing his trilogy ever since The Dark Knight broke box-office records and won awards unheard of for genre films.

The following Q&A features edited excerpts of a group interview on Tuesday in Beverly Hills, Calif., where Caine was promoting the drama Is Anybody There?

Do you expect there to be a third Batman?

Caine: Well, Christopher is doing a picture called Inception with Leonardo DiCaprio, which I saw on the Internet. So I imagine another Batman is quite a long way away.

Aren't you signed for three?

Caine: Oh, yeah. If they do another, I'll probably be the butler. I hope I'm still alive. Michael Gough, who played Alfred before me, the last time he played Alfred he was 84.

Didn't Nolan do a movie in between Batman films last time?

Caine: He did. I was in that, too, The Prestige. Christopher doesn't make pictures without me.

So do you think he'll come around to doing another Batman this time?

Caine: I would imagine so, and that would probably be the Riddler.

That'll be a tough act to follow after Heath Ledger's Joker.

Caine: Yeah, I thought it would be a tough act to follow anybody who did Joker after Jack Nicholson. Now Heath is the Joker. We'll see. We'll see.

What did Ledger's Oscar victory mean to you?

Caine: Oh, I thought it was very important for his family as well. I was a big fan of his from the first time I met him. I had never met him before, and I met him on the set where he invades our party we're having, and I'm standing by the lift. I expect to greet people, and then all his gang's behind him. He came in, but before that, I'd met, obviously, on the set, and we were chatting. He had this makeup on, and I was saying how fantastic I thought it was. We were just chatting quietly, and then they said, "We're ready to shoot." I had never seen the performance. We were just talking. Then he came out of the elevator, and I was absolutely stunned by that, the way he did it, and the energy that went into it. Then when I saw the movie, there's an opening monologue and a closing monologue that he does. I thought if anybody's going to better that and get an Academy Award above him, I will pay good money to see that. And nobody did beat him. I'm so pleased.

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