Ever wonder what the deal was with Michael Caine‘s Alfred Pennyworth in The Dark Knight trilogy? Well, even if you didn’t, you now have your answer.
In a new interview with The Dark Knight Rises UK Facebook page, Caine has detailed the backstory he created for Bruce Wayne’s butler. Although that story never became particularly relevant in the three films, it turns out Caine’s tale of Alfred’s early life received director Christopher Nolan’s stamp of approval.
“He lets you on your own a great deal because he’s so confident in his casting. What happens is, like, I play the butler, so you haven’t got some great backstory for the blooming butler, but I invented a backstory,” Caine explained. “Bruce’s father went to the S.A.S. headquarters in Herefordshire to see an officer friend. He was in the officer’s mess and there was a sergeant there who had been badly wounded and couldn’t go back to the war, and he didn’t want to go into Civvy Street, so he took charge of the sergeant’s mess, and that’s me.”
He continued, “So what that is is you have this very tough ex-S.A.S. guy who knows all about drinks and service and getting sandwiches and coffee, because he had to learn it for the sergeants mess. … So I told Chris that story and he said, oh it’s brilliant.”
Caine’s biggest concern playing Alfred initially had been that he’d have to say, “Dinner is served,” and Nolan promised him from the get-go that he wouldn’t. As we now know, Caine never had to say that line, but Nolan never forgot that it was something he was so hesitant about. It turns out that the director bought Caine a gift for Christmas last year with the words, “Dinner is served,” inscribed on them, and Caine said he got a real kick out of it.
The Dark Knight Rises came out on Blu-ray and DVD on Dec. 3. The film, which has grossed more than $1 billion worldwide, stars Christian Bale as Batman, Anne Hathaway as Selina Kyle, Tom Hardy as Bane, Marion Cotillard as Miranda Tale, Michael Caine as Alfred, Gary Oldman as Commissioner Gordon, Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Officer John Blake and Morgan Freeman as Lucius Fox.