LOS ANGELES - Michael Caine and Morgan Freeman shared only fleeting screen time in the Batman trilogy now concluded. In a recent interview, the two Oscar-winning actors had such warm, relaxed camaraderie that it's a shame they didn't get to show more of it in those films.
Caine and Freeman do appear in the upcoming crime thriller "Now You See Me," in which they collaborate on what they promise will be a "really good scene."
Still, the 79-year-old Caine and 75-year-old Freeman are two of the most personable older actors in Hollywood and deserve a full-blown buddy movie of their own, a rare thing for actors their age. So we asked them to pitch a story - and with no advance thought, they hit on a premise with as much potential as most other movies coming out of Hollywood.
"Just off the top of my head, two retired detectives," Freeman said.
"Yeah," Caine added. "Two retired detectives. That would be great, wouldn't it? And a case came up, and everybody let it go by, and these two old guys said, wait a minute ..."
Freeman: "Wait a minute ..."
Caine: "Remember when we were 35 ... ?"
Freeman: "We wouldn't ever let up on that case ..."
Caine: "And then they would get back into it, and then you could have a great deal of comedy with us trying to work out computers and how to get information ..."
Freeman: "Checking people on Facebook ..."
Caine: "Trying to find Google ..."
Freeman: "Saying, `wait, let me call my great-granddaughter and ask her.'"
Caine and Freeman embody how to have a meaningful movie career when almost everyone else your age is playing crazy old coots or has given up and gone home.
In Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy, Caine and Freeman both play paternal figures to wealthy orphan Bruce Wayne. They're smart, well-crafted roles with a lot more warmth and depth than the usual supporting parts in an action movie.
"I'm amazed at the stuff I get to do now," Freeman said. "I just did a romantic part with Virginia Madsen ("The Magic of Belle Isle"). I mean, I didn't know it was romantic, but it was. It did turn out that way. And I'm just like, hey, life isn't over yet."
Caine and Freeman think back to such geezer pairings as Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau or George Burns, Art Carney and Lee Strasberg in the crime romp "Going in Style."
Shot on reasonable budgets, such movies still can find older audiences and earn their money back, they said.
"There was a thing that I read in an American newspaper, and it said there's an extraordinary thing going on," Caine said. "Older people are going back to the movies. They're fed up with sitting watching TV. They go out, and they go and see a movie, and they have some dinner and go home.
"And that is true, because these pictures we're doing now, 10 years ago they might go to DVD or television, but they get to theaters now and get an audience."
Still to come, Freeman co-stars with Robert De Niro and Michael Douglas in the geriatric bachelor party comedy "Last Vegas." Caine has the title role in "Mr. Morgan's Last Love," a drama he recently shot with Gillian Anderson and Clemence Poesy.
And Freeman and Caine like the sound of that retired buddy cop idea they pitched.
"Actually," Caine said, "we would be very funny together."
For any studio executives interested, Caine and Freeman's agents are standing by.