The Batman star Andy Serkis will make the role of Alfred Pennyworth his own after taking over from the "legendary" iteration of the DC Comics character depicted in Christopher Nolan's Dark Knight trilogy, where Alfred was portrayed by Michael Caine. The reboot from writer-director Matt Reeves focuses on the "emotional connection" between Alfred and Bruce Wayne (Robert Pattinson), who is early into his career as a costumed crime-fighter and the sworn protector of Gotham City. Speaking to LADbible about The Batman, which was among the productions forced to halt production in mid-March amid the coronavirus crisis, Serkis reveals his approach to the role following the big screen interpretations of Michael Gough, Jeremy Irons, and Caine:
"[Caine] was fantastic. His Alfred was legendary, I couldn't even begin to go there, really," Serkis said. "You find it for yourself. It's like playing these iconic roles in Shakespeare, you go back, you revisit them and you have to make it your own, and see what it is about he character that connects with you and your personal venn diagram."
While Pattinson's caped crusader finds himself unraveling a mystery involving rogues Riddler (Paul Dano), Penguin (Colin Farrell), and Catwoman (Zoe Kravitz), The Batman is "very much about the emotional connection between Alfred and Bruce," Serkis added. "That's really at the centre of it. And it is a really exquisite script that Matt has written."
Serkis, who also served as director on the Tom Hardy-starring Venom: Let There Be Carnage, was "half way" through shooting his role as Alfred when production was shut down. "So it will be interesting to see when that resurfaces how it has been affected by it [lockdown]," he said. "But it is, it's going to be a beautiful film."
Reeves previously revealed The Batman will borrow from the character's more than 80-year history but is not inspired by any one comic book or graphic novel. In a recent interview with Nerdist, Reeves explained his humanistic and personal approach to this re-imagined Batman:
"It's not even like that's an approach that I take, like it's some kind of idea of, 'Wouldn't it be great?'" Reeves said. "It's sort of the only thing that allows me to understand how to do it. I can only understand where the camera goes and how to talk about the story, how to write the story, how to talk to the actors, if I understand emotionally what it is I have to do. Otherwise I'd be lost."
The Batman opens October 1, 2021.