Q: How you doing, Mr. Freeman? Doing much sailing lately?
Morgan Freeman: Uhhh—well, what do you mean by lately?
Q: Lately, I don't know: last week?
MF: No. No. Uh, I had six weeks in March and April, and I had a wonderful time—
Q: Your company was trying to do Rendezvous With Rama—
MF: (Chuckles.) We're still trying to do Rendezvous With Rama.
Q: A buddy of mine—Grant Boucher—
Q: He was one of the consultants—
MF: Yeah. He was helping us. He was a great help. We had a lot of design stuff, through Grant. (Sighs.) We're struggling with that now. We on the—hopefully, we on the last drafts of the script. Then we'll see.
Q: By the way, great job—both you guys. Really. It was phenomenal.
Gary Oldman: Thank you.
MF: In—the movie?
Q: In the movie.
GO: Thank you.
MF: We're both pleased to hear that. We're both pleased to feel that ourselves, that the picture is really—
Q: Have you seen it?
MF: Yes, I saw it night before last. I was really knocked out.
Q: Can each of you talk about working with Bale? What is he like?
MF: Kind of a slimy character.
MF: Full of himself, you know. Just—I don't know why!
GO: Oh, you caught him on a good day, then.
MF: Ohhh dear. 'Cause you had to work actually with him—well, I guess we had the same amount of time—
GO: About the same amount of time. Only he's in the mask, of course, when I worked with him.
MF: Oh. Oh. Well he must have been totally insufferable then.
GO: Oh, complete—at least you got him—at least he—he didn't smell too good when I worked with him. In that suit—
MF: Been in that suit awhile. I understand that when he was in that suit, sweat would just drip off him wherever it had holes, in the glove or something—
GO: He would stand, and there was like—
MF: A puddle.
GO: A puddle of—where it was just coming through his shoes.Yeah.
MF: Yeah. He worked hard.
GO: He did work hard.
Q: Were you guys fans of the franchise before getting involved in this project?
MF: Uhhhhh. (Pause.) Gary was. Yes.
GO: You can quote me on that.
(More laughter, as Freeman and Oldman crack up.)
Q: Did you have an accident of some kind? Why the cane?
MF: It's an affectation.
MF: You know. No, he told me—that's what he said to me.
Q: Oh okay.
MF: It's just an affectation.
GO: I've become—I want to become very actorish.
(Laughter.) [Ed.: in fact, Oldman had recently undergone foot surgery to correct a five-year-old Hawaiian surfing injury.]
Q: You do a great job in this, and actually, it's a quieter role than you've done. Did you get notes from Chris Nolan on that or did you come to him—
GO: Well, kinda—
Q: Saying, "This is how I want to play this role?"?
GO: I turned up like that. You know, put it together in my kitchen.
Q: Did you do a back-story?
GO: No. On the plane kind of thing—learned the lines on the plane. And got there and did the first scene, and he said—
MF: "That's good."
GO: "That's okay, I like that. Do it like that." And any—like we said earlier: sometimes directors feel that they have to justify that hat that they're wearing—you know, they've got on "The Director." And they come in, and they tweak and interfere.
GO: You know what I mean? Sometimes directors—they're gaolers of your talent. They close you up. And being a good director is knowing sometimes when not to say something.
MF: Knowing a lot when not to say something.
GO: Knowing a lot, yeah. And Chris was—just to let you kind of—you know? And he had such a vision—such an overview of what he wanted, that if you were kind of going off a bit, you know—just kind of nudge you.
GO: But he doesn't need to be busy.
MF: Yes. More like herding you, rather than—but very quietly. And of course you, the actors—I understand—we've already had our sit-down, you explained your concept, your view. So I've said, "Okay, I'm in your hands." That means that if you've got to nudge me a little bit to the right, I'll move to the right—just from the pressure. Wave—you don't have to touch me at all. When you come and go, okay, you want me to wait a little bit more, there's no pressure on that at all. That's not—that's easy to do. (To waiter, approaching with water.) Go ahead, you can stick it in there and go ahead.
Groucho: Can each of you take us through the personal process you used to shape your character, and how helpful, if at all, were the comics?
MF: Were the comics?
MF: Mmm. Me first.
GO: Go on, then.
MF: I don't have to do anything. The character is shaped on the page. All you have to do is lift it off. You don't have to do anything at all except decide whether you're going to shave or not shave, comb your hair one way or another way. Someone's gonna put the clothes on you. Part of being an actor is wearing costumes. Costumes tell you an awful lot about who you are. So you just—it's nothing. I think, basically, it's get out of the way if you can. Right? That's my answer.
GO: Well, I went to—I lived in Chicago for a year, and I studied with the police academy—.
GO: No, ditto. I read—the script is your map of the world.
MF: Yeah, yeah.
GO: And if someone knows—if it's well written...you get all the beats...it will tell you everything you need to know. And then Chris goes and hires Lindy Hemmings, who's a great costume designer, so you're not there for four days, turning, saying, "No, that doesn't work. That doesn't work." She's got a great sense of how you might dress, so she offers up three jackets or a suit, and you go—you know what? I think I went with the first shirt or tie or something that I put on, and I went—
MF: "This feels good."
GO: "We got it."
MF: (Laughs.) Right. Right. Let me ask a question, based on this. Did you ever ask an actor this question and get a lot of intellectual response?
MF: You do?
Groucho: Sometimes, yeah.
Q: Well, it depends on how—I mean, you folks have had a very long, successful career, so you've been able to do that.
MF: Do what?
Q: You know your response.
MF: (Quietly) uhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh—
GO: I mean, I think—
Q: What about taking it this way? David Goyer said the creative brief here was to make it real. You're playing a scientist. So you've got a mouthful of stuff about microwave evaporators and—. How do you make that real?
MF: You make that real by learning it so that you don't have to think about it when you say it. That's all that's about. I mean, the scientist sounds like a scientist because the things that come out of his mouth don't stumble. That's all. You know. If you say, "And the uh, microwave, uh, e—e—e—"
MF: You know, then it don't sound right. But if you can just get it out without stumbling, then you're gonna sound fine.
Q: Is working on a movie like this, that is naturally going to be a big sort of commercial juggernaut—is there any different kind of discipline to, you know, creating a different kind of—?
MF: No, your job is always the same. If it's a juggernaut or, you know, if it's just one of these little jewels of a film that's gonna wind up at the Laemmle or something, you know? So your job doesn't change whatsoever. You give it your best shot, always
GO: I think also it depends on...I mean, people talk about research and you—I, one time in my career, played a heroin addict. And I was not going to take heroin. But I met people who were taking it. And I hung out with people who had recovered from it. And I said to someone "What's it like being on heroin?" And this woman—ten people tried to explain it to me, and the woman said to me, "Imagine your spine wrapped in cotton wool"—
GO: And I went, "Got it. I've got it." Now I know how to act that. I know what that sensation—if acting isn't intellectual, it's a feeling. And it's a sensation....You could read twenty books on Denmark and Hamlet and Shakespeare and all the rest of you, but on the night when the curtain goes up, they're not going to help you stand there and say, "To be or not to be." So when you ask a question like that, you say, "But how do you make that work?" He's talented. It's not any more mysterious than that. (Laughs.)
MF: Interesting. 'Cause I played a heroin addict once too. And it's the same thing, you know, you don't—. People will say—you watch them, they're smoking marijuana. And get wrong. You know, it's like "Whoa, whoa. Smoke doesn't do that to you." Snorting cocaine—they get wrong. Coke doesn't do that to you. So you're using heroin. What does happen? I don't know. So you have to go to somebody who knows intimately the whole process: what it's like when you first shoot, what happens afterwards, what happens when you're coming down—you gotta learn all that. And somebody can tell you, just like the woman who finally got up and said, "Imagine your spine wrapped in cotton"—if you can do that, then you got it, you know. A guy told me, he said, "When you first shoot up, it's a complete sexual experience." So it's like—heh. Then it happened, you know?
Q: Now, have you guys—obviously, this was a franchise picture; they're looking at sequels. Are you guys looking forward to jump on board for the next sequels of Batman Begins, the next Batman films?
GO: Yes. I'm happy to come and be Commisioner Gordon. I have to become Commissioner Gordon. I'm only Lieutenant at the moment.
GO: I'd like it if they made it a bit closer to home. You know. I did—how many trips did I do, Doug? [ed.: Douglas Urbanski, Oldman's manager]
Douglas Urbanski: I think twelve.
GO: Was it twelve, both—
GO: Twelve round-trips.
DU: That's twenty-four flights.
GO: I did twenty-four flights. I would fly in, go to the set—one day I flew in, I got out of a car and walked into a building, and I went then back, and I came back to L.A.. Yeah, otherwise I'm just always away, and the boys, and you know what I mean?
MF: Yes. Of course, yes.
GO: I mean, if I could just come back for two days—I came back to do—yeah, I did 24 flights. That was that. Yeah.
Groucho: When you're back in your old stomping grounds of London, is there anything you're always sure to do?
GO: Uhm. (Pause.) Avoid the rain. Yes, sleep (laughs)—about all. Not really much—there wasn't really much to—I was in a sort of state of sort of odd jet lag. Maybe that's why my performance is so subdued.
MF: Mmmmm-mnn. You're not really just joking here.
GO: No. That I used it. And I went—do you remember I talked to you about that?
GO: Yeah, I talked about—I said, "I'm so sort of, you know, exhausted from this thing," and he [ed.: Nolan] wanted a weariness.
MF: Yesss. Perfect.
GO: Hey, you know?
MF: That's why you get the big bucks, Gary.
GO: But it's tough at the middle.
GO: Thank you, guys!
MF: Thank you.