The thing about Jeremy Irons is that he does not waste words. Famously, when asked questions by the press, the actor can be relied upon to provide succinct, pointed answers with no ‘fluff’ or spin. This makes his involvement in the DC Extended Universe – as Bruce Wayne’s butler, Alfred – all the more interesting, since ‘fluff,’ spin and obfuscation are synonymous with the marketing of giant superhero movies. So, when Variety recently asked him about The Batman and the DCEU, his responses were predictably interesting.
When asked whether he found giant superhero movies more fulfilling than smaller films, Jeremy Irons painted a very clear picture of what it is like to act in a film like Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice.
“…they’re so slow. There’s a lot of waiting around and then a huge amount of publicity. One spends 70% of the time doing publicity, 10% of the time filming, and 20% of the time waiting.
“I love working with Ben [Affleck] and Zack Snyder. They’ve been fun.”
Comparing his level of involvement in Justice League and The Batman, Irons is quick to put his role as Alfred in the perspective of the pictures as a whole.
“[They’re] similar, but then, of course, Ben’s going to make a Batman film next summer. He promises me there’s going to be a bit more of Alfred in that. In the Justice League we have seven major lead characters and I’m the butler to one of them. It’s clear I will not be dominating that film.”
The interesting thing here is his reference to “seven major lead characters.” Clearly, there is Wonder Woman, Batman, Superman, Aquaman, The Flash and Cyborg – but which other role will prove large enough to constitute being included as a “major lead character”? Lois Lane? Mera? Lex Luthor? There’s also Commissioner Gordon, and Nuidis Vulko set to appear, of course. Whichever one of those characters is revealed to have the seventh “major” role could be a significant indicator of the direction of the plot.
Perhaps most notable is Jeremy Irons’ description of his take on Alfred – something that was very specific to his portrayal of this well known character, and was clearly evident in each of his scenes in Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice. Hopefully, this is something that will be explored further in both Justice League and The Batman.
“I remember an evening with Paul Getty, who was a neighbor of mine, now sadly dead. We drove up to his lovely house. A very nice gentleman opened up the car door. Then another very nice gentleman took the car and parked it somewhere. Another nice gentleman took my coat. And then another nice gentleman gave me a glass of champagne. And all those nice gentleman were SAS. I thought, that’s Alfred. He’s a man who will take care of his boss, whether he’s making coffee or pouring champagne or flying his airplane.”
With just over 12 months to go until the November 17th release date of Justice League, and a 2017 shoot confirmed for The Batman, we can expect to hear many more concise comments from Jeremy Irons, as he fulfils his 70% publicity obligations for the DC Extended Universe.