THE DARK KNIGHT STRIKES BACK (XBOX)
Actors Christian Bale and Sir Michael Caine discuss their roles in the Batman Begins movie and video game.
Though he’s successfully taken on such über-criminals as The Joker, Mr. Freeze, and Two Face, Batman hasn’t so lucky when it comes to movies and video games. But that all changes with Batman Begins, the impressive new movie and EA video game that shows how a young Bruce Wayne became the Caped Crusader, kicking ass along the way. We sat down with The Dark Knight and his faithful butler Alfred – also known as actors Christian Bale and Sir Michael Caine – to talk about the game and the movie that inspired it.
GameSpy: This was the first game you’ve done, right?
Sir Michael Caine: Yeah, I’ve never done a game. [to Christian] You ever done a game?
Christian Bale: I’ve never done one.
Sir Michael Caine: I’ve never done a game. I’ve never seen a game. I didn’t know what it was. So it was quite weird for me. I went in and they said, “You’re doing the game.” And I said, “Where’s the screen?” “There is no screen.” It was like doing ADR [which is when actor rerecords the dialog of a movie because the original audio isn’t usable], only it was lines I hadn’t said before. And what they do is fit the character to what you say, so you don’t have to match it to what you said before. Which was great, I was in and out of there in no time.
Christian Bale: Yeah, it was a whole lot easier.
GameSpy: At what point did they ask you to be in the game? Was it when you were talking about being in the movie, after you’d signed on to the movie, while you were making the movie…?
Sir Michael Caine: No, I think it was all done before, in the contract.
Christian Bale: Yeah, they knew beforehand that they were going to do a game. They actually started working on it before we began principal photography. They had conversations with Wally Pfister [the movie’s cinematographer] and the production designer [Nathan Crowly] and everybody because it takes so long to make the game that they couldn’t wait to see the movie. So there’s actually some differences in the story. I was finding that when we were doing the voice-over. [to Michael] Did you find that?
Sir Michael Caine: Yeah, yeah.
Christian Bale: There were moments that I would look at the game’s producers and say, “This isn’t in the movie. What’s up with this?” And they would say, “Yeah, this storyline takes a slightly different direction.”
GameSpy: Well, a movie is only two hours long, while a game can be fifteen, twenty hours long.
Sir Michael Caine: Fifteen hours?
Christian Bale: [to Michael Caine] Oh yeah. I’ve had times where I’ve been playing Halo and I’ve stayed up five hours a night every day until I’ve finished it.
Sir Michael Caine: Wow, I’ve seen people playing them, but I’ve never known what they were doing.
GameSpy: So will you check out this game?
Sir Michael Caine: Well, I’ve never spent fifteen hours doing anything. But then, the first game I’ll be interested in is this one. It’ll be my introduction.
GameSpy: Christian, besides Halo, what other games do you play?
Christian Bale: I actually have a friend at Xbox who sends me things. But I like the old-school games as well. I still go down the arcade and play Galaga and Pac-Man.
Sir Michael Caine: [to Christian] Hey, you know all about this stuff?
Christian Bale: Yeah. But I had to put it all away because otherwise it consumes all my time.
Sir Michael Caine: Is it that addictive?
Christian Bale: Yeah. And they’re blinding us as well. After you play them for hours, you can’t see properly.
GameSpy: So Christian, as a fan of this stuff, was being in a game something you were interested in doing?
Christian Bale: No, acting in games isn’t something that really appeals to me. Though I think that with this movie it is appropriate.
GameSpy: Well, there was some talk of you doing the voice of your character in the Reign Of Fire game.
Christian Bale: That was never mentioned to me. And I don’t know if I would’ve done that. Though with that movie it would’ve been appropriate as well.
GameSpy: Do you think that acting in a game takes a different set of skills from acting in a movie?
Sir Michael Caine: No, it seemed like doing a movie to me. Most of what I did was just tell him what to do.
GameSpy: In terms of the writing, how did the script for the game compare to the script for the movie?
Sir Michael Caine: It was great. There were things in it that I wish they had in the movie. I don’t remember exactly what, but it definitely struck me. Though I did change some of the lines. But I always do that, that has nothing to do with games; that has to do with me. If it doesn’t ring true for the character, then I ask if I can change the line.
GameSpy: Did you do any of that, Christian?
Christian Bale: No, I pretty much stuck to the script. Though, as we said earlier, there were situations that I needed to have explained because they weren’t in the movie. I kept having to ask the game’s producers what was going on.
What’s funny is that some of the people who worked on the movie are characters in the game. [to Michael] Did you notice that Wally Pfister is a character in the game?
Sir Michael Caine: Yeah, yeah.
Christian Bale: …and Emma Thomas [the movie’s producer] is as well. They do their voices too. And I think their characters are actually named Wally Pfister and Emma Thomas.
Sir Michael Caine: I think it’s great that we have the game. I would’ve been disappointed if there hadn’t been a Batman game. I’ve never been in a movie that had a game before. I’ve never even seen myself animated. I’d like to see that.
GameSpy: Do you think any of your other movies could’ve been made into a game?
Sir Michael Caine: No, I’ve never made a movie that could be a game before, a big action movie.
Christian Bale: Get Carter would’ve been a good game.
Sir Michael Caine: Yeah, I played a gangster in Get Carter. I blow a few people away in that.
GameSpy: So were you guys big fans of Batman before you did this movie?
Christian Bale: I actually rented a couple of the earlier films, but I just fast-forwarded through them because we wanted to do something totally different. This isn’t Batman 5, and I didn’t want to play Batman like he’d been played before.
Sir Michael Caine: I’d also seen the movie, but I wasn’t a fan. I wasn’t hanging around the stage doors, waiting for him to come out.
GameSpy: Hey, I only did that once!
Sir Michael Caine: But I thought the movie was great. I saw Jack [Nicholson] as the Joker, and Jerry Hall and the car whizzing around, but I wasn’t scanning the newspapers everyday, waiting to see when the next one was coming. But with this one I will. I’m hoping to be in the next one.
By Paul Semel.