A/V Room









Sir Michael Caine reflects on the trappings of success

Featureby: Katherine Kaminsky

HE MAY just have celebrated his 70th birthday, but actor, Sir Michael Caine, has lost none of his passion for the film industry, or the trappings of fame.

Speaking at a press conference held to mark the release of his latest film, The Actors, the jovial star, and former Oscar winner, said he would recommend the profession to anyone, describing it ‘as an extraordinary life to lead’.

"It’s the most incredible thing," he explained. "There’s nothing that I always wanted to do, apart from being an actor.

"I was one of the first generations who, the first time I ever saw an actor, wasn’t in the theatre, but in the cinema. It was the Lone Ranger.

"So I wanted to be in films and, for me, I thank God every day for my life. I’ve never had a bad moment in a work situation. I just enjoy it so much and I enjoy the whole process. I enjoy the travelling."

The thought of retirement, therefore, remains a distant one, while the propsect of turning 70 was not something that bothered him.

"You don’t retire from movies, scripts stop coming," he continued. "They retire you, and sometimes they retire you after three movies. It just so happened that in my case, the scripts got better and better, so it’s fine for me.

"The great thing about movies, or acting, is that they also need guys of 80 and women of 90. Jessica Tandy, in Driving Miss Daisy, won her Oscar at 82, for instance...

"But, as for getting to 70, you start giving up stuff. I gave up smoking four years ago. It’s like, ‘If I give this up, please let me last a little longer’, you know? And you take a lot of vitamins.

"I eat very healthily and try to look after myself and everyone around you tries to look after you. You’re getting up there, but it’s so great considering the alternative.

"I could continue doing this for quite a long time, another 30 years will do me."

In fact, far from trying to hide his age, Sir Michael opted to throw two parties to mark the occasion.

"I had one in England, for my English friends, and then I had a bigger one in LA. A lot bigger, because the other guy, who is my celestial twin (we were born at exactly the same time) is Quincy Jones.

"I booked the restaurant for 150 people, yet the first list I got from Quincy without mine was 200."We eventually went up to 450!"

In what is proving to be a marvellous period for the actor, he even talked candidly about missing out on the Best Actor Oscar this year, for The Quiet American - an accolade which could have brought the number of golden statuettes on his mantle-piece up to three.

"It’s not that disappointing, as I’ve already got two Oscars, both for supporting actor," he revealed.

"But, first of all, the movie wasn’t going to be released in time for the Oscars at all. So, I then got on to my mate, Harvey Weinstein, and lobbied him like mad and got it shown…

"And to cut a long story short, I got it shown and it got great reviews, and I got the reviews, and, eventually, from a movie that wasn’t going to be shown at all, I got nominated for an Oscar.

"Now, I knew that I wasn’t going to get the Oscar, but I had got to the stage where I was nominated for Best Actor. It made a difference, a tremendous difference, to my status in Hollywood.

"And the fact that it makes a difference at 70-years-old is quite amazing."

Gracious in defeat, the star even went on to relate a lovely anecdote about the evening before the awards ceremony.

"With this year’s Oscars, the war was coming and we didn’t know what we were going to say about it, so all the people nominated decided to meet the night before to discuss whether we were going to mention it in the acceptance speech.

"Daniel couldn’t make it, but the rest of us could. Adrian didn’t have a speech, and I told him he stood a good chance of needing one, so we all got bombed together and wrote Adrian’s speech.

"The next day, I had to call them up and say, ‘what did we decide we were going to do about the war?’.

"The Oscars is your own people voting for you, that’s why it’s such an accolade. It’s actors and others in the industry saying you deserve the award."

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