Some people say that Batman would be nothing without his gadgets, vehicles or several decades spent honing his mind, body and soul to an almost post-human level. Also, the power of near limitless wealth can come in handy. But to me, Batman without a Pennyworth in the cave (not that website from that guy) would result in a diminished dark knight.
Over the years, we’ve seen Alfred portrayed by a number of actors, from Michael Gough’s kindly caretaker through to Michael Caine’s cockney hired help. This year saw the role passed on to another veteran of stage and screen: Jeremy Irons. Even though he didn’t have a lot of screentime, Iron was still effective in the role, a dry and weary voice of reason to Ben Affleck’s revenge-thirsty vigilante madman. But in Justice League, expect to see a few more minutes of Pennyworth as the iconic butler has also found a renewed sense of purpose with the emergence of metahumans.
“I think he’s waiting with baited breath to see what is going to happen,” Irons said to IGN.
He’s in the employ of Bruce Wayne and he doesn’t always agree with him but I think he’ll help where he can. And I’m not sure in ‘Justice League’ we’ll see that much of him because we have five superheroes to deal with and Alfred is just the batman [a term for the soldier-servant of a commissioned officer in the British military] of one of them.
It’ll be very interesting to see where he gets to, when we get to Ben [Affleck]’s production of ‘Batman’ this spring. I haven’t read the script of it yet. I think all of us who are sort of normal human beings, which Alfred is, we watch the gods with amazement and some spite.
As for how Irons’ characterised his role? It’s all based on an old acquaintance of his, whose very own housekeeping staff helped inspire the more hands-on approach of this version of Alfred Pennyworth. “Yeah, Alfred is a very hands-on… what I based Alfred on really was a close neighbour of mine, used to be before he died, Paul Getty,” Irons said.
I remember the first time I went to dinner with him. I reached gates and a very kind gentleman took my car and parked it. I walked in and another very kind gentleman took my coat. And then Paul showed us through the hall and another very kind gentleman gave me a glass of champagne and then a very kind gentleman served us dinner. I learned during the evening that every kind gentleman who had been taking care of me was actually an ex-SAS member who was there to protect Paul. I thought, yeah, that’s Alfred really.
He’s there. He’ll do anything. That’s where he comes from. That’s his mindset. He’ll wash the dishes, but he’ll also be a tail gunner.
Justice League is out next year November, with a presumably far better director’s cut DVD version out in 2018.