Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Why Will Smith turned down django unchained

Why Will Smith turned down 'Django'

By Adam Markovitz, EW.com
March 25, 2013 -- Updated 2014 GMT (0414 HKT)
Will Smith turned down the part of Django in
Will Smith turned down the part of Django in "Django Unchained" because it wasn't the lead.
  • Will Smith turned down 'Django Unchained' because the role was secondary
  • Smith says he asked director/writer Quentin Tarantino to change the role
  • In the end, he thought 'Django' was brilliant, just not for him
(EW.com) -- When Quentin Tarantino's western revenge-fantasy "Django Unchained" was first announced, casting rumors pegged Will Smith as the titular slave-turned-vigilante.
But Smith, who teams with his son Jaden in this summer's sci-fi epic "After Earth," tells EW that he turned down the part because his character would've been second fiddle to the bounty hunter (played by Christoph Waltz) who teaches Django his trade.
"Django wasn't the lead, so it was like, I need to be the lead. The other character was the lead!" says the "Men in Black" star, whose departure opened the door for Jamie Foxx to play the role.
Smith says that before he left the project, he even pleaded with Tarantino to let Django have a more central role in the story.
"I was like, 'No, Quentin, please, I need to kill the bad guy!'" (Ironically, Waltz was considered a supporting actor during his Oscar-winning award season, while Jamie Foxx was promoted as the movie's lead.)
But no hard feelings: Smith was a big fan of the final product. "I thought it was brilliant," he says. "Just not for me."

Monday, March 25, 2013

What Extremely Successful People Were Doing At Age 25

Some people know what they want to do from an early age and focus on it relentlessly.

Others reinvent themselves, changing careers and industries until they find something that works.

Billionaire Mark Cuban struggled when he first started, writing in "How To Win At The Sport Of Business" that "when I got to Dallas, I was struggling — sleeping on the floor with six guys in a three-bedroom apartment."

As a reminder that the path to success is not always linear, we've highlighted what Richard Branson, Martha Stewart, and other fascinating and successful people were doing at age 25.

Martha Stewart was a stockbroker for the firm of Monness, Williams, and Sidel, the original Oppenheimer & Co.

Courtesy of Martha StewartBefore her name was known by every American household, Martha Stewart actually worked on Wall Street for five years as a stockbroker. Before that, she was a model, booking clients from Unilever to Chanel.

"There were very few women at the time on Wall Street … and people talked about this glass ceiling, which I never even thought about," Stewart said in an interview with PBS' MAKERS series. "I never considered myself an unequal and I think I got a very good education being a stockbroker."

In 1972, Stewart left Wall Street to be a stay-at-home mom. A year later, she started a catering business.

Mark Cuban was a bartender in Dallas.

Harry How/Getty ImagesAt age 25, Cuban had graduated from Indiana University and had moved to Dallas. He started out as a bartender, then a salesperson for a PC software retailer. He actually got fired because he wanted to go close a deal rather than open a store in the morning. That helped inspire him to open his first business, MicroSolutions.

“When I got to Dallas, I was struggling — sleeping on the floor with six guys in a three-bedroom apartment,” Cuban writes in his book “How to Win at the Sport of Business.” “I used to drive around, look at the big houses, and imagine what it would be like to live there and use that as motivation.”

Lloyd Blankfein was an unhappy lawyer.

Mark Wilson/Getty ImagesBlankfein didn't take the typical route to finance. He actually started out as a lawyer. He got his law degree from Harvard at age 24, then took a job as an associate at law firm Donovan Leisure.

"I was as provincial as you could be, albeit from Brooklyn, the province of Brooklyn," Blankfein told William Cohen at Fortune Magazine.

At the time, he was a heavy smoker and occasional gambler. Despite the fact that he was on the partner track at the firm, he decided to switch to investment banking, joining J. Aron at the age of 27.

Ralph Lauren was a sales assistant at Brooks Brothers.

Wikimedia CommonsHe was born Ralph Lifshitz in the Bronx, New York, but changed his name at the age of 15. He went on to study business at Baruch College and served in the Army until the age of 24 when he left to work for Brooks Brothers.

At 26, Lauren decided to design a wide European-styled tie, which eventually led to an opportunity with Neiman Marcus. The next year, he launched the label "Polo."

JK Rowling came up with the idea for the Harry Potter series on a train.

Associated PressIn 1990, Rowling was 25 years old when she came up with the idea for Harry Potter during a delayed four-hour train ride.

She started writing the first book that evening, but it took her years to actually finish it. While working as a secretary for the London office of Amnesty International, Rowling was fired for daydreaming too much about Harry Potter and her severance check would help her focus on writing for the next few years.

During these years, she got married, had a daughter, got divorced, and was diagnosed with clinical depression before finally finishing the book in 1995. It was published in 1997.

Jay-Z was already in the rap scene, but was 'relatively anonymous.'

Wikimedia CommonsBorn Shawn Carter, Jay Z grew up in a housing project in Brooklyn, New York and became known as "Jay Z" at the age of 20. For the next few years he appeared alongside various other rappers, but "remained relatively anonymous" until he founded the record label Roc-A-Fella Records at the age of 27 with two other friends. The same year, Jay Z released his first album, "Reasonable Doubt."

Warren Buffett was working as an investment salesman in Omaha.

Bloomberg TVIn his early 20s, Buffett worked as an investment salesman for Buffett-Falk & Co. in Omaha before moving to New York to be a securities analyst at age 26. During that year, he started Buffett Partnership, Ltd., an investment partnership in Omaha.

New York just wasn't for him, Buffett told NBC. "In some places it's easy to lose perspective. But I think it's very easy to keep perspective in a place like Omaha."

Ursula Burns started out as an intern, but worked her way up at Xerox throughout her 20s.

Jemal Countess/Getty Images for Time Inc.Burns overcame a tough upbringing in a New York City housing project to get a degree in Mechanical engineering from the Polytechnic Institute of NYU, then a masters from Columbia University.

Since then she's been a Xerox lifer. She started as an intern at age 22 in 1980, and joined full time a year later after getting her masters. She rose rapidly through the ranks, working in various product development roles and was named CEO in 2009.

"When I came to work at Xerox, I just chose to work. Somebody said 'how about this?' And I said OK, and I would go do that in the lab," Burns said in an interview for the PBS documentary, "Makers." "Then somebody said how about doing some business planning. Then I started leaning more towards larger global systems problems. And systems problems are the business."

Mark Zuckerberg's Facebook was cash positive for the first time and hit 300 million users.

Kim White/Getty ImagesMark Zuckerberg had been hard at work on Facebook for five years by the time he hit age 25. In that year — 2009 — the company turned cash positive for the first time and hit 300 million users. He was excited at the time, but said it was just the start, writing on Facebook that "the way we think about this is that we're just getting started on our goal of connecting everyone."

The next year, he was named "Person of the Year" by Time magazine.

Tina Fey was a child-care registrar at the Y.M.C.A before joining famed improv troupe Second City.

YouTubeAfter graduating from the University of Virginia, Fey moved to Chicago and hung around acting workshops and even worked as the child-care registrar at a Y.M.C.A before improv troupe Second City invited her to join.

Fey told The New Yorker that she joined Second City because she "knew it was where a lot of S.N.L. people started," and in 1997 she sent scripts to Saturday Night Live producer Lorne Michaels who then hired her as a writer.

Tim Allen was arrested and served the next two years in federal prison.

The Smoking GunWhile working as a stand up comedian, Allen was arrested at 25 in an airport for possessing more than 650 grams of cocaine. He pleaded guilty to drug trafficking charges and received two years instead of life in prison for providing the names of other dealers.

The experience was so bad that he was forced to turn himself around. He told Esquire, "When I went to jail, reality hit so hard that it took my breath away, took my stance away, took my strength away. I was there buck naked, humiliated ... this is a metaphor. My ego had run off. Your ego is the biggest coward."
Allen became known to the public for his role on the sitcom "Home Improvement," which premiered in 1991.

Richard Branson had already started the Virgin Records record label.

Jeff Foust via FlickrAt age 20, Branson opened his first record shop, then a studio at 22 and launched the label at 23. By 30, his company was international.

Those early years were tough, he told Entrepreneur: "I remember them vividly. It's far more difficult being a small-business owner starting a business than it is for me with thousands of people working for us and 400 companies. Building a business from scratch is 24 hours, 7 days a week, divorces, it's difficult to hold your family life together, it's bloody hard work and only one word really matters — and that's surviving."

To see the full list of What Extremely Successful People Were Doing At Age 25, click here.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Juan Manuel Fangio’s Grand Prix-winning Mercedes heads to auction

uan Manuel Fangio’s Grand Prix-winning Mercedes heads to auction

By | Motoramic – Tue, Mar 19, 2013 2:04 PM EDT
The most important racing car to hit the auction block in years will roll in front of bidders this July 12: Juan Manuel Fangio’s Grand Prix winning Mercedes-Benz W196 — after being "forgotten about" in a warehouse for 30 years.
The 2 1/2-litre straight-8, bearing chassis number "00006," won both the 1954 German and Swiss Formula One Grand Prix races at the hands of five-time World Champion Fangio, and stands to make an immaculate hallway decoration for the wealthy collector when the machine goes to auction at Bonhams' sale during the Goodwood Festival of Speed. And despite being nearly abandoned, it should fetch at least $7.5 million.
The W196 brought innovative technologies to Formula One such as a fuel-injected engine, fully independent suspension, all-round inboard-mounted brakes, and an inline (or lay-down) engine with the goal of creating a lower center of gravity. However, the original W196 Stromlinienwagen was produced with enclosed wheels, and despite finishing first and second in its first race, it was deemed too difficult to place at the more technical racetracks. Mercedes, taking Fangio’s critique to heart, created the open-wheel W196, numbered "00005" and "00006." Fangio took the "00006" to victory in its first attempt at the German Grand Prix.
This victory was then repeated at the following Grand Prix in Switzerland, where Fangio thrashed Ferrari driver Jose Frolian Gonzalez by 58.7 seconds. That win was Fangio’s third in four races, ensuring him his second of five Formula One World titles.
But somewhere along the way, the car fell off the map. According to Bonhams, about 30 years ago the owners tested the engine one last time, then stuck it in a warehouse, where it has sat until now, having never been restored since it raced. That only makes it more valuable; as racing historian Doug Nye told The Age: "Every car that's restored has lost a part of its history because it's been obliterated by repainting or by rebuilding. Nothing's been obliterated on this, it's just a beautiful survivor."
Bonhams Chairman Robert Brooks, calls the "00006" W196 perhaps the “pinnacle” of his five-decade span auctioning off racecars. It is also the only W196 that doesn't still belong to Mercedes-Benz, which rarely sells bits of its racing history.
I’ll be intrigued to see who buys this amazing machine, and even more intrigued to hear what they plan to do with it; Bonhams hopes the buyer restores it enough to run next year on the 60th anniversary of Fangio's win — but not make it too perfect.
Photos: Bonhams/the Spitzley-Monkhouse Collection

Stuntman leaps over speeding lamborghini

Stunt man jumps over speeding Lamborghini

Various video angles seem to indicate the stunt was the real deal

Dad busted through facebook pic

Facebook Money Pics Bust Dad for Allegedly Dodging Child Support

Facebook helped the Milwaukee County District Attorney's office charge a wayward father for failing to pay child support.
Christopher Robinson, 23, is facing three felony counts of failure to support his 3-year-old child, according to a complaint filed with the criminal division of the Wisconsin Circuit Court.
The complaint indicates that for three years, Robinson never made any of the required $150 monthly child support payments.
But pictures that Robinson posted to Facebook that show him posing with cash and bottles of liquor helped the district attorney's office build a case against him.
"What we do in these types of cases is we try to find out from other family members whether there is other information we may not be able to know about," Milwaukee County Chief Deputy District Attorney Kent Lovern told ABCNews.com.
Although Lovern said he could not talk specifically about Robinson's ongoing case, he said, "Facebook has become a repository for information that we may not … know about."
Investigations into Facebook profiles must be initiated by a complaint, Lovern said. When there's enough evidence to suggest a sufficient level of probable cause, the DA can then ask the court to order Facebook to grant access to a Facebook profile.
Investigators can then look for details on whether a person has been misleading about his or her lifestyle, Lovern said. For example, said Lovern, "Someone who claims to not have resources to make their payments, actually does have resources."
While it's not known exactly whose money Robinson had displayed in his Facebook photos, or how he might have come to acquire such sums, the images allowed the district attorney's office to obtain a search warrant to investigate further.
"It is an investigative tool," Lovern said of Facebook. "It can be effective in assisting in the investigation and prosecution of certain criminal targets."
A representative for Facebook told ABCNews.com, "We work with law enforcement to the extent required by law, and as needed to keep the site and those who use it safe. Facebook devotes significant resources to evaluating requests for user information, and adheres to the letter of these laws when responding to requests for information."
Robinson was served with an arrest warrant in February and failed to appear in court. The arrest warrant is still active, but the DA's office would not comment on whether it was actively looking for him, or if he had a lawyer.
Several attempts by ABCNews.com to reach Robinson were not successful.
If found guilty on all three counts, Robinson could be sentenced to a maximum of almost 11 years in prison.
Also Read

Best twits in history

The Best Tweets in History

In seven short years, Twitter has evolved from a place where people simply share random thoughts to the first place people go for breaking news and events.

In honor of Twitter's seventh birthday, we decided to pull together this list of epic tweets. We pulled a few of the tweets from post over at Quora with a ton of user-submitted epic tweets.

1. The first tweet ever.

2. When Oprah first joined Twitter back in 2009, she was excited, to say the least. Former NBA star Shaquille O'Neil pointed this out to her.

3. This photo posted via Twitter shows the famous US Airways flight that landed in New York City's Hudson river. Incredible.

4. Kanye West's tweet apologizing for embarrassing Taylor Swift at the MTV music awards in 2010 has since been deleted, but it's epic nonetheless.

5. Sohaib Athar live tweeted the raid that resulted in Osama Bin Laden's death, by accident.

6. Rapper Drake tweeted about how difficult it was earning his first $1 million. Billionaire T. Boone Pickens responded that the first billion is even more difficult.

7. This is Michael Dell's inspiring tweet on how he started his computer company with only $1,000.

8. Old Spice criticized Taco Bell because its famous Fire Sauce isn't actually made with fire. Taco Bell accused Old Spice of not actually using "old spices" in its deodorant. It seems like Old Spice won this round with its last word.

9. NASA's Mars Curiosity rover sent this epic tweet when it landed last summer.

10. This hilarious exchange between Tom Anderson, the founder of MySpace, and a random tweeter proves that Tom had the last laugh.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Bieber back to work after rant

Justin Bieber Gets Back to Work Following ‘Rehab’ Rant

By | omg! – 12 minutes ago
Justin Bieber was all smiles outside his hotel in Madrid on March 14. (Splash News)After getting some things off his chest in his now infamous "rehab rant," Justin Bieber performed – apparently without incident – in Madrid on Thursday night.
[Related: Justin Bieber Goes on 'Rehab' Rant, Makes Comparison to Lindsay Lohan … Then Amends It!]
The 19-year-old drama magnet spent the hours leading up to the show with family – including his father, Jeremy Bieber, half-brother, Jaxon, and mother Pattie Mallette, who flew in to join him after the disastrous London leg of his tour. He also made a point to connect with fans outside his hotel.

"This is what it's all about !!! L.O.V.3.," the 19-year-old tweeted, posting of a photo of himself with a young Belieber.
When his show was over late Thursday – and no major drama occurred – the “Beauty and a Beat” singer was feeling good.
"MADRID!! Gracias! Thank u!! great show! now on to Barcelona! #BelieveTour," he tweeted.
Bieber's father, Jeremy, and mother, Pattie were with him in Madrid (SplashNews)
By Friday morning, he was already in Barcelona, where his next show is scheduled to take place on Saturday. He posted a photo of himself rocking some mile-high hair, followed by a second snapshot of the gorgeous and colorful view from his hotel.
Bieber posted this hair-raising photo on Friday... (Instagram) ...followed by this show of his Barcelona view. (Instagram)
And while his dad headed back to Canada, Bieber was accompanied by Mallette, who was enjoying the scenery.
"Barcelona is so beautiful! I always love coming here," she tweeted.
The whole tone of Team Bieber was a shift from a day earlier when J.B. posted a lengthy rant about the negative press he’s been getting lately. In between blasting reports that he needs to go to rehab – and tooting his own horn about his musical success ("I'm 19 with 5 number one albums") – he also took a jab at Lindsay Lohan, poking fun at her disastrous tax situation.
While he later removed the Lohan mention and reposted his rant (he also apologized to Lohan), the damage was already done as far as LiLo was concerned. According to a report on TMZ, Lohan was "appalled" to be included in Bieber's missive. A source said she called the comments "senseless and mean" and she hopes "karma" comes back to get him for dragging her name into his drama.
As for Bieber, he will take the stage Saturday in Barcelona, then head off to Paris for a show on March 19. We're sure he'll make many headlines in between.
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Aventador limo?? Yeah right

Would you rent a Lamborghini Aventador limo?

Cadillac Escalade or the Lincoln MKT for the hottest ride to your wedding or senior prom—a British firm is looking to make a Lamborghini Aventador stretch limousine.

The firm is called Cars for Stars, and it released both some renderings and a CGI video of its stretch Aventador concept this morning. The car’s exterior is essentially typical Lamborghini Aventador fare, surprisingly: it has four scissor doors instead of the typical two, but the front and rear fascias are almost completely untouched. The engine is even in the same place—behind the passenger cabin—although in this case, it’s moved a few more feet behind the driver. Behind the front row of seats, where most Lamborghini owners would find a firewall, there’s a partition with a sliding window, behind which is another cabin. There’s plenty of seating inside (in typical Lamborghini fashion, the seats are a lovely shade of orange), as well as a bar, surround sound system, and some plasma televisions.

The reason why the release only shows renderings and a CGI video, however, is because no such car actually exists yet. While the idea of a stretch Aventador is an interesting one, the technical challenges to making one are huge. The first is the frame: while most limousines stretch body-on-frame cars or trucks (this is why the Town Car ruled for such a long time), the Aventador uses a full carbon fiber tub for the passenger compartment. To stretch the Aventador, Cars for Stars would have to figure out a way to create a new tub from scratch…at great expense, of course. There’s also the challenge of making a mid-engined car work, despite the fact that the engine is some 10 feet behind the driver.

Cars for Stars says that it’s looking for a benefactor to make this program happen, and is offering a unique sponsorship opportunity for the man or woman who writes the check: he or she (or the company) will receive a full-year of free advertising on the car, as well as the chance to name the new creation. If reading this article piqued your curiosity and you’re feeling generous, feel free to get in touch with them.

Video game features we would rather not have

5 video game features we could live without

By | Plugged In – Wed, Mar 13, 2013 3:29 PM EDT
Playing video games isn't supposed to be upsetting. You might feel some competitive pressure during a harrowing multiplayer match or a difficult level might drive you a little crazy, but "angering consumers" isn't exactly a top priority for game makers.
Unfortunately, business is business, and what’s apparently best for game companies isn’t always best for players. A number of questionable features in new video games (and upcoming consoles) have turned otherwise happy gamers into teeth-gnashing trolls.
Some of these features are meant to curb piracy. Some aim to boost revenues. Some attempt to promote technology. Others? Well, we're really not sure why anyone thought they were a good idea. Here are five new game features we desperately wish we could unplug.
‘Always-on’ Internet connections
If you tried to play SimCity earlier this month -- only to be denied -- you know the pain of mandatory Internet connections.
When you buy a game, you want to be able to play it immediately. That seems simple enough. But when a game requires you to log into the company's servers every time you want to play -- even if it’s a single-player experience -- it can be a serious headache. Internet’s out? You can’t play. Servers down? You can’t play. That might be common to massively-multiplayer games like World of Warcraft, but seeing this affect games designed and marketed for solo play is worrying.
It's not a new problem, either. Blizzard faced it in 2012, when millions of prospective Diablo III players faced the ‘Error 37’ message instead of the game’s opening cinematic. Similar issues marred the launches of World of Warcraft and Star Wars: The Old Republic.
Publisher promises of "being ready" ring hollow these days, and gamers are already fed up with buying games only to find them unplayable due to connection issues. Unfortunately, we're powerless to do anything about it. If we want to play these sorts of games -- and when the game is as good as SimCity, we absolutely do -- we're forced to deal with this sort of frustration.
Endless system updates
It's great that console makers are able to update their system dashboards to include new features. We just wish they'd do it a bit lot less frequently.
Large system updates are a nearly constant occurrence on the PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Vita, often with no discernible results. The Wii U needed one right out of the box when it launched. Even the Xbox 360 (which tends to require just one major update annually) still has smaller mandatory updates throughout the year.
Waiting for your system to update itself when you want to play a game is maddening. Rather than the console downloading these updates in the background as you play, you're forced to sit staring at a sluggish progress bar.
The PS4 won't demand a permanent Internet connection, but Sony's nudging players in that direction. And whether Microsoft will require one remains to be seen. But let's hope the companies are smart enough to push those upgrades out when systems are dormant, rather than right when they're turned on.
Touchpads everywhere
Remember how cool it was the first time you toyed with your smartphone’s touchpad?
Now remember how cool it was when you tried using it on your dedicated gaming device?
Yeah, we don't either.
There's certainly a place for the touchpad in gaming – specifically, your controller-less phone – but the success of the mobile/tablet market has driven game makers to cram it everywhere. Sony put TWO on the PlayStation Vita, but that still couldn't hook players. Nintendo dedicated a huge chunk of the hefty Wii U controller to the touchscreen. Sony's even sticking one on the PlayStation 4's DualShock controller, though we’re not sure what it actually does yet.
They seem innocuous enough, but all those touchscreens still feel like gimmicks. This is a problem that may resolve itself in a year or two, but for now, those screens are just getting in the way -- and running up the cost of hardware to boot.
Money-grubbing downloadable content
Some downloadable content is absolutely, positively worth the investment. When Rockstar extended Grand Theft Auto IV with a trio of episodes, for example, no one in their right mind complained about the quality or value proposition.
Other DLC? It's a pure cash grab. The most infamous example came in 2006 when The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion asked players to pay about $3 for a piece of virtual horse armor. (Bethesda has since learned its lesson, mostly.)
More recently, EA raised a stink by adding a ‘pay to win’ model to Dead Space 3, then stuck its foot in its mouth by saying it was interested in having microtransactions in all of its games. The company has backtracked from that statement, but microtransactions are still a huge part of the gaming landscape today – and it’s only getting bigger. They’re even cropping up in Call of Duty, the biggest video game in the world.
The problem isn’t in microtransactions themselves, but in how companies use them to squeeze money out of consumers. In free-to-play games, dropping a few extra bucks is no big deal since you never made an investment to begin with. But after shelling out $60 for a new game, being nickel and dimed for small items that could have been included initially is only going to frustrate players more in the years to come.
Unnecessary multiplayer elements
Perhaps because of the success of Call of Duty, whose multiplayer components make it a year-round hit, more and more games are adding multiplayer modes. And in some cases, that's a good thing.
But a growing number of single player games that have no need of multiplayer are jumping on the bandwagon in an effort to keep people playing after they’ve beaten the main game.
Tomb Raider, for example, is a fantastic reboot of the series -- and while there's nothing particularly wrong with the game's multiplayer, it's wholly unnecessary. We’ve seen it wedged somewhat awkwardly into games like Assassin's Creed III, Far Cry 3, and, most famously, BioShock 2. By and large, these games would have been just fine without multiplayer, and the creators could have spent that development time adding even more flair and polish to the single-player games.
It's bad enough that single-player experiences are become less and less common. To have them paired with sub-par multiplayer is just adding insult to injury.
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P.S My new book Without a Voice is out on lulu and smashwords. Go here to check it out.

Batman's butler

Michael Caine Didn't Want to Play Batman's Butler

By | Movie Talk – 19 hours ago
Michael Caine as Alfred in 'The Dark Knight Rises' Michael Caine as Alfred in 'The Dark Knight Rises' (Photo: Warner Bros. Pictures)Michael Caine, who turns 80 on Thursday, has been in more than 150 films over the span of more than 60 years, has won two Oscars, and has been nominated for at least one Academy Award in nearly every decade he has worked.
Caine has played everything from a womanizer in the original "Alfie" in 1966 to a charming British con artist in "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels" (1988). But the role he is most famous for these days is one in which he plays a butler.
Not terribly distinguished upon first blush.
"I thought, well, I'll read it and turn it down," Caine told the Los Angeles Times last year about his role as Alfred Pennyworth in Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy.
In fact, Caine didn't know at first what role Nolan was pitching when the director visited his English countryside estate well before "Batman Begins" was released in 2005. "I thought to myself, I'm a bit old for Batman. … So, I said, 'Who am I going to play?' He said, 'The butler.' I immediately thought I'll be spending the entire series saying, 'Dinner is served' and 'Would you like a coffee?'"
Michael CaineCaine invented Alfred as a formerly wounded WWII soldier (Photo: Dave Hogan/Getty Images)That didn't appeal to the lauded and prolific Mr. Caine -- until he read the script. "I thought it was wonderful. … He was the foster father of young Bruce Wayne, whose parents got killed, and started to bring him up."
Throughout the series, Alfred has aided and supported Bruce, played by Christian Bale, in his darkest hours. His service of food and coffee takes a back seat to his role as Bruce's surrogate dad, mentor, and emotional backbone. It's Alfred who rescues Batman from being poisoned by Scarecrow in "Batman Begins." He spares Bruce the heartbreak of discovering that Rachel Dawes is engaged to Harvey Dent by burning her letter to him in "The Dark Knight" (2008). Alfred was perhaps most needed in "The Dark Knight Rises" (2012) as he urged a reclusive Bruce to fall in love with a woman or something that would distract him from his obsession with protecting Gotham. Batman is not Batman without Alfred.
Once Caine was sold on the part, he approached it with the same level of dedication as he would any gig, including his Oscar-winning roles in "The Cider House Rules" (1999) and "Hannah and Her Sisters" (1986). He even invented a clever backstory for Alfred, imagining him as a former Special Air Service officer in the British Army who was severely wounded in the war (presumably WWII). He can't go back into combat so he eventually takes over dining duties for the sergeants -- one of whom is Bruce's father. "You have this very tough ex-SAS guy who knows all about drinks and service and getting sandwiches and coffee, because he had to learn it from the sergeant's mess," Caine explained last year during a press interview. "I told Chris [Nolan] that story, and he said, 'I should have written it,'" Caine recalled with a laugh.
Coincidentally, the unofficial term for a soldier-servant in the British Army is a "batman."
Watch Michael Caine in 'The Dark Knight' Clip:

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A friendly reminder that my book Without a Voice is out on smashwords and lulu. Go here to check it out.

Samsung Galaxy S 4

Samsung Galaxy S4 announced: An Android phone you can control with a wave or tilt

Forget the touchscreen. Okay, maybe not entirely, but with the Galaxy S 4, Samsung is rethinking the way we interact with our phones. It has features that allow you to control the phone with waving and tilting motions.
"We focused on fun, relationships, convenience and health with the Galaxy S 4," David Park, marketing manager of Samsung Electronics, told ABC News.
Unveiled at a large event at Radio City Music Hall in New York City, the phone includes a number of upgrades from the Galaxy S 3, which has surged to become the bestselling Android phone on the market and the leading competitor to Apple's iPhone.
WATCH: Samsung Galaxy S 4 First Look Video
Improved Hardware
The software and gestures you use to control the phone may be the biggest story about the Galaxy S4, but Samsung has also freshened up the hardware.
The 7.9mm Galaxy S 4 looks a lot like the Galaxy S 3, albeit with a slightly thinner body and a larger 5-inch screen. The screen is also much crisper, with a 1080p, Super AMOLED panel. Internally, the phone has a quad-core processor and 2GB of RAM. It has built-in temperature and humidity sensors, and a removable battery.
The Samsung Galaxy S 4 in Pictures
Unlike the aluminum iPhone 5 and the HTC One, the entire phone is still made of tough polycarbonate, even though the edges look metallic. The phone will come in two colors: white frost and a black mist.
Focus on Camera
The standout hardware feature is the 13-megapixel camera (the S 3 had an 8-megapixel camera). The camera will take crisper and better low-light shots, Samsung says.
"We have brought the interface from the Galaxy Camera to the phone," Drew Blackard, director of product planning, told ABC News. "We have wanted to make it easier for people to know how the modes work with images."
In addition to the new interface, there are new features like dual shot and recording mode, which lets you combine photos and video from both the front-facing 2-megapixel camera and the rear camera into one shot or video.
RELATED: Samsung Galaxy Camera Review
Waving and Looking at the Phone
After you take those photos you don't just have the option to swipe your finger on the screen to look through them. Using Samsung's new Air Wave feature you can actually wave your hand over the screen to cycle through the photos. The software, which uses a sensor on the front of the phone, also works in the Web browser; wave to the left to go backward in the browser and wave right to go forward. You can also wave across the screen to accept a call.
And if waving isn't your thing, there's always tilting. While it had been rumored that the phone would use eye-tracking software, Samsung's Smart Scroll works a bit differently. Using a sensor and the camera on the front of the phone, the phone recognizes that someone is looking at the screen with facial recognition software. Then you can tilt it to scroll up or down. ABC News got to test both the tilting and waving features. Both worked as promised when we got the hang of it, but it really is an odd way of working with a small device.
S Health, S Translate and More S
Samsung has added a host of new features that might add to people's daily lives. S Health takes advantage of the accelerometer in the phone to track your steps and other fitness activity. Like the FitBit or Jawbone Up, Samsung is also getting into the fitness band or tracker market; its products will integrate with the app.
Other apps include S Translate, which can translate voice to text, and Samsung's remote app, which uses the IR blaster in the phone to become a remote control for your TV.
The Galaxy S 4 will be out in the second quarter of this year at all of the major U.S. cellular carriers, including Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, and Sprint. Samsung is not announcing pricing at the moment, but said it would be in line with what you would expect from a premium Samsung smartphone. The Galaxy S 3 costs $199 with a two-year contract.
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