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BATMAN BEGINS

The World of Bruce Wayne
In casting Batman Begins, as with all other aspects of the production, director Christopher Nolan strived to create an epic feel that underscores the film's realism. "We looked back to the incredible cast of Richard Donner's 1978 film Superman,” Nolan says. "He had Marlon Brando, Gene Hackman, Ned Beatty and so many other great actors in supporting roles. We cast our film in a similar fashion, with an ensemble of wonderful actors who bring a depth and complexity to the characters that make Bruce Wayne's world all the more real.” The most important figure in Bruce Wayne's life is Alfred Pennyworth, butler to the Wayne family, who assumes guardianship of young Bruce following the deaths of his parents. Despite Bruce's rage and self-destructive behavior, Alfred remains loyal to him, helping Bruce facilitate his quest to acquire and develop the tools he needs to transform himself into a living weapon against injustice. 

"Alfred is a man given the responsibility to raise the most incredible child of a generation,” says Nolan. "He helps him do incredibly important and frightening things that no parent would want their child to do.” "We needed an actor who could bring humor and heart to the role, as well as a measure of gravitas,” producer Emma Thomas says. "There was only one man for the job.”

"Alfred is the one constant in Bruce's life, the one person who never gives up on him,” says renowned actor Michael Caine, who earned Academy Awards for his performances in The Cider House Rules and Hannah and Her Sisters, and another Oscar nomination in 2003 for his eponymous role in The Quiet American. "He's also Bruce Wayne's moral compass. Batman walks a very fine line between himself and the criminals he pursues, so he must maintain a higher moral code. Alfred isn't afraid to give his opinion, especially when he thinks Bruce may have taken things too far. You cannot make it personal; otherwise you're just a vigilante.”

"I find their relationship very funny, as well as touching,” Bale says. "They have such trust in each other; they have the ability of people who are close to argue and be painfully honest, knowing that they are still going be there for each other.”

"Christian is wonderful and he makes a great Batman,” says Caine, who was drawn to the project by Nolan and co-screenwriter David Goyer's screenplay and its emphasis on the humanity of the characters. "I liked their vision of showing Batman coming from a natural man. If he's bulletproof, where's the suspense? If you have a real man, you have jeopardy and you have suspense. That's what interested me.”

When Bruce Wayne vanishes from Gotham, searching the world for the means to become a force powerful enough to rid Gotham City of crime, he immerses himself in the criminal underworld, a risky and brutal experiment that toughens him – but ultimately lands him in a Bhutanese jail. 

It is there, at the end of the world, that Bruce finds a path to his destiny. He is approached by a man called Ducard, an ally and envoy of Ra's al Ghul, the enigmatic leader of a powerful vigilante group called The League of Shadows. 

"Ra's al Ghul is a very mysterious, complicated character,” says Ken Watanabe, nominated for an Academy Award in 2004 for his performance in the acclaimed drama The Last Samurai. "He's very calm and quiet, but he's also extremely powerful. I think of him as a silent volcano.”

Like Ra's al Ghul, Ducard is committed to an ideal of natural justice, in which "justice is balance” – and The League of Shadows will go to any means to strike what it sees as a necessary balance. The harsh disciplinarian becomes Bruce's mentor, training him in an array of physical and mental disciplines, as well as the importance of theatricality and deception. 

"Ducard has committed himself to an ideal of how he would love to see the world and he sees B

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