Most people know by now that renowned actor Michael Caine has been knighted. Thus, he is now known as Sir Michael Caine. This, of course, means he should be greeted with the proper respect, correct?
Well, when I saw Alfred the Butler walking down the "black carpet" at The Dark Knight premiere, he reminded me of an adorable grandfather, which apparently made me feel extra comfortable with him. And so, straight to his face, I called him Michael. No "Sir" included. Just "Michael."
I could have slapped myself immediately, but it was too late. Luckily, the brilliant actor acted as if he didn't notice, and continued on chatting with me. I, however, will never forget the occasion when I thought I was on a first name basis with Sir Michael Caine.
Moving on... You'd think for a man who's been in the movie industry for almost 55 years that playing a butler would be no big deal.
Not true for Sir Michael. He gives as much energy to Alfred the Butler in The Dark Knight as he gave to his Oscar-winning roles in The Cider House Rules and Hannah and Her Sisters.
How so? As Alfred's history isn't presented in the film, Sir Michael has created his own back story for the character:
"I didn't want him to be just an ordinary butler. I wanted him to be very tough. So I made him an ex-SAS sergeant... He got wounded and worked in the officers' mess which is how he learned to do drinks and cocktails and be a butler. And Bruce Wayne turned up in the officers' mess and he saw him and he wanted a really tough butler and so he took him."
And though there are other huge stars in The Dark Knight--Christian Bale, Morgan Freeman, Heath Ledger, Maggie Gyllenhaal and Aaron Eckhart, to name a few--don't expect Sir Michael Caine to get star struck.
"It was the older ones. I once found myself in Danny Kaye's kitchen eating dinner with Cary Grant. That was quite an evening. I've been in Hollywood 40 years. It'd have to be a very big star to strike me."
Can you blame him?