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.
"Its the most incredible thing," he explained.
"Theres 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, wasnt 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. Ive never had a bad moment in a work situation.
I just enjoy it so much and I enjoy the whole process. I enjoy
The thought of retirement, therefore, remains a distant one,
while the propsect of turning 70 was not something that bothered
"You dont 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 its 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. Its 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. Youre getting up there,
but its 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
"Its not that disappointing, as Ive already
got two Oscars, both for supporting actor," he revealed.
"But, first of all, the movie wasnt 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 wasnt going to be shown at all, I got nominated
for an Oscar.
"Now, I knew that I wasnt 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
"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 years Oscars, the war was coming and we
didnt 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 couldnt make it, but the rest of us could.
Adrian didnt have a speech, and I told him he stood a good
chance of needing one, so we all got bombed together and wrote
"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, thats
why its such an accolade. Its actors and others in
the industry saying you deserve the award."