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Sir Michael Caine sits down with Quint to talk about his career and upcoming flicks IS ANYBODY THERE? and HARRY BROWN!

Ahoy, squirts! Quint here. I’ve found there’s maybe one interview a year that has me genuinely nervous going in. Now, I usually get a little serious before each interview I do, concerned that I go in with an idea of where to steer the conversation, thinking about what I have to say and in what order, but that’s different than a real case of nerves. While I was sitting in the Paris Hotel in Las Vegas, outside of the suite where I was to have a thirty minute one on one chat with Michael Caine, I was full on nervous. It wasn’t just a star-struck thing. I was able to meet Caine a few hours previous in a little meet and greet put on by the people behind his new film IS ANYBODY THERE? The event was small, intimate, but filled mostly with theater owners… perhaps two dozen people total. I introduced myself to the man, who towered above me (and I’m just a hair under 6’1”) and we talked a little about the notoriously eccentric cinematographer Christopher Doyle who shot THE QUIET AMERICAN. I also brought up my love of a film he did, a heist flick called GAMBIT, in the mid-60s, which lit him up. It was his first American studio film in which he co-starred with Shirley MacLaine and Herbert Lom. He brought up the talk that there was a remake in the works. A while back The Coen Brothers were attached to redo the film. I don’t know if that’s still a possibility, but Caine said he’d love to help, saying he'd be keen to play the old man now (the part originated by Herbert Lom). It was a fine little chat, but the environment was completely different. Everybody there was pulling for Caine’s attention and time, so I grabbed a little bite to eat and ended up recognizing Caine’s wife, Shakira, from her appearance in THE MAN WHO WOULD BE KING and I ended up talking more with her than her husband. We talked about John Huston and Sean Connery before I left the two to rub shoulders with the heavy hitters of film exhibition. I suppose the nerves I felt before the interview were more out of my sheer respect for the man and my sincere hope that I didn’t waste his time. As it turned out, I didn’t have anything to worry about. Caine came in with all the publicists, studio people and personal friends, but in under a minute’s time the door closed and it was just me sitting across from Michael Caine. Sorry, Sir Michael Caine. We cover a lot of ground here, talking about everything from the film he’s promoting to his appearance at ShoWest to accept a lifetime achievement award (and what that means for him and his career) to Christopher Nolan’s next film, INCEPTION, to his past work, his future work and everything in between. My favorite part is probably discussing his falling out with Alfred Hitchcock. In short, I could have spent 3 hours talking with this guy and only skimmed the surface of his vast and impressive career. I hope you guys enjoy the chat as much as I did. We do cover some spoiler territory regarding his character in IS ANYBODY THERE? but I don't believe we talk about anything that will actually ruin the experience for anybody. Enjoy the chat!

Quint: Thanks so much for taking the time to talk with me.

Michael Caine: I know what it is, I get this on my computer.

Quint: Oh yeah? The site? Ain’t It Cool?

Michael Caine: Yeah.

Quint: I hope we haven’t offended you or anything.

Michael Caine: No, you haven’t.

Quint: Not yet?

Michael Caine: Not quite yet.

Quint: We will figure out a way.

Michael Caine: This may be the moment.

Quint: It might start right now. At the cocktail party I got to meet your wife and for one, she’s a lovely person and I kind of cornered her, because I was wanting to grill her on THE MAN WHO WOULD BE KING. I thought she was so good in that.

Michael Caine: Yeah, she was.

Quint: So we were talking about John Huston it just struck me that you are accepting an award tonight, to look back at your films. You have worked with such an amazing amount of quality directors, not even looking at your co-stars…

Michael Caine: Sure yeah. I’ve been very lucky every now and then (to work with directors) like Joe Losey and Lewis Gilbert twice. It’s been a fantastic career for me with directors and what’s interesting to me now is at my age whenever I do one of these little British movies, they use a young director, like they did with John Crowley. He is very young. He’s only done two pictures before IS ANYBODY THERE? And then on the picture I have just finished (HARRY BROWN), there’s a young English guy called Daniel Barber and he’s only done one movie, THE TONTO WOMAN, which was a short movie and he got an Academy Award nomination for it. So it’s interesting with me that the roles are very, very intricate and experimental now, because that’s what I chose to do, nothing easy and then I make it even more difficult by choosing a new young director and hope. You get a tremendous dynamic from a young director, because they are there all day and ready to go, you know? It’s not like some old guy who just wants to buy a new house or something.

Quint: Yeah, who is just doing his job…

Michael Caine: Yeah, who is just doing his job and he gets some money and then goes to the race track. (laughs) I’ve had those too, I’m afraid. It’s very exciting for me to do these little pictures.

Quint: Is that then a big part of your decision process, you get a script and then you look at who is doing it?

Michael Caine: Well sure, but then again I also do BATMAN, which is one of the biggest films in the world, but even there, you see, when I first did BATMAN, (Chris Nolan) was a young director with a couple of small films. It’s the same thing, you see.

Quint: That’s right.

Michael Caine: When they said that Christopher was going to direct this whatever it is, hundred million dollar BATMAN BEGINS and I knew who he was, I thought “Boy, that’s a tremendous challenge for him and a tremendous chance for the studio to take” and it worked out superbly. I’ve done three pictures, BATMAN BEGINS, THE PRESTIGE, and THE DARK KNIGHT, all of which are wonderful movies, didn’t matter the amount of money spent.

Quint: I think it’s actually a really fascinating time. Hollywood seems to be splitting, where you have some studios that are really just staying the course playing it very safe, putting out very homogenous stuff, but you look at Warners and the chances that they have been taking in the last few years, looking at WATCHMEN now, but before then…

Michael Caine: How is WATCHMEN? I haven’t seen it.

Quint: WATCHMEN is really good. I think it’s faithful to a fault.

Michael Caine: Meaning it could have been a little bit more something or other?

Quint: I think that Zack Snyder, in his attempt to adapt the material, I think he might have been a lot more faithful to what the comic book was than what the movie should have been, but I can’t fault it as a fan of the comic. I can’t believe there’s a movie that huge that’s rated R that is full of these very serious issues.

Michael Caine: It’s got a good audience. It’s done well at the box office?

Quint: It’s done okay.

Michael Caine: Not fantastic?

Quint: It had a huge weekend and a big drop, because they sold it as an action movie and there’s very little action in the movie. People think it’s another DARK KNIGHT.

Michael Caine: I thought that.

Quint: There are a few action scenes, but most of the money shots that you see in the trailer are big parts of the action, it’s more of a deconstruction of superheroes.

Michael Caine: Is that what it is?

Quint: It’s a very smart movie and it’s a very brave movie, and I think it’s fascinating…

Michael Caine: It should stand the test of time then.

Quint: It’s like BLADE RUNNER…

Michael Caine: Look at BLADE RUNNER. When it came out, it was like “What the hell is this about?”

Quint: Nobody understood it. I wouldn’t say WATCHMEN is as good as BLADE RUNNER. BLADE RUNNER, I think…

Michael Caine: It’s a classic, isn’t it?

Quint: Yeah, and it has survived the test of time, but yeah once again talking Chris Nolan, I think he’s probably one of the best visual film makers.

Michael Caine: I have read about a movie he’s doing called INCEPTION and I haven’t spoken to Chris about this movie. I’m not in it, obviously, but I happened to see it on the internet. I was doing an interview and the interviewer said to me “Are you in INCEPTION?” I said “What is INCEPTION? I have never heard of it.” They said it was a Chris Nolan film. Obviously I wasn’t in it, because I didn’t know of it, but I looked at it and it said “The film is set in the architecture of the mind” and I went “I wonder what that means!” (laughs) But knowing Chris, he will pull it off. It’s original by him. What was interesting from my point of view, because people are always saying “When’s the next BATMAN?” It ain’t next year, that’s for sure!

Quint: I like that. I like that between BEGINS and DARK KNIGHT he did THE PRESTIGE and that was a fantastic movie. I love that movie and I think that that kind of paved they way, because I think DARK KNIGHT is an even bigger step forward in terms of film quality and just direction, his confidence level as it appears on the screen… I think THE PRESTIGE was a big part of that and I think he had to cleanse the pallet a little bit. I’m looking forward to the next Batman movie like anybody, but anything from him…

Micahel Caine: Or anything from Chris Nolan, because at least it will be interesting. He is fantastic.

Quint: Visually he is one of the most fascinating film makers working. He gets it. Anyway, let’s go back to your movie a little bit…

Michael Caine: Yeah, lets talk about my movie! Stuff Chris, he made all of that money! I haven’t made it yet!

Quint: Yeah, you’re not on the payroll for another Nolan movie. He missed his chance! So with this movie, I think that it’s actually a very brave role. I was talking to (the publicist) and just saying to him that your image is toughness and charm somewhat mixing together, but you play this character very vulnerable.

Michael Caine: That’s why I went for it. I choose difficult now. I really choose to push myself. It’s no good sitting around making cyphers of movies I keep doing over and over again. A lot of old actors do, because it’s easy. I like to push myself and have some fun with it, so it was fascinating for me to do this. I consider it the best performance I have ever given. It’s a performance that could have been done better by other people, but it couldn’t have been done better by me. That’s what I’m saying by that, not that it’s the best performance, just that it’s the best that I could do. Sometimes you have done movies where it isn’t necessary and you didn’t have to knock yourself out. I had to knock myself out every day on this movie.

Quint: I think it shows. Not in terms that it feels like you are trying for something, but in that I felt emotionally raw at the end of the movie.

Michael Caine: That was the idea. The thing was I said “If there is one moment in the picture where I make you roar with laughter and another I make you cry your eyes out, I’ve done my job.”

Quint: I have got to say… the magic show scene killed the audience! And this was a bunch of theater owners who…

Michael Caine: Did they laugh?

Quint: Oh yeah. They gasped first. I don’t think people saw it coming, but you guys were toying with the senility thing and the moment you flipped the switch, I was like “Oh no… This isn’t going to end well for some body!”

Michael Caine: (laughs) What I liked about it was, just a little personal thing, as I went over, I was still blowing the raspberry. (laughs)

Quint: What I love by having the raspberry scene is that you are almost involving all of the kids and being a part of…

Michael Caine: It’s involving the kids and the old people and I was becoming as old as them, because I was doing the raspberry as well, so it winds up that we are all doing it, the children are doing it, these old people are like children and now me. I didn’t say “Let’s do the raspberry” and then show them and stop, I did it with them!

Quint: Let’s talk a little bit about Bill Milner, because I really loved him in SON OF RAMBOW.

Click here to read along with Sir Caine in amazing Sound-O-Text!

Michael Caine: What a wonderful little actor he is and what’s incredible about him, from a grown up point of view, it’s like working with another grown up actor, not that he is precocious or anything like that. He’s not precocious, he’s a little boy, but his attitude and the amount of skill that he has and it’s not to much skill, because he hasn’t learned it, it’s an absolute talent for doing this. He does behavior, which is fabulous in movies. That’s what you are supposed to do. You are not supposed to do acting, you are supposed to do behavior and reaction and he behaves and reacts perfectly. He’s a perfect little movie actor and he’s wonderful. We had a great friendship he and I. I get to see him in New York. He’s showing up there and John Crowley is coming. They are doing this thing there for the NEW YORK TIMES. He is so good in it and the thing about it was… David Heyman, when we started he said he was looking for a little boy, I said “He better be good, because if he tanks, the picture tanks.”

Quint: He’s your point of view, yeah.

Click here to read along with Sir Caine in amazing Sound-O-Text!

Michael Caine: That’s the whole thing, the picture is gone with him and fortunately we found Bill and he’s wonderful. The great thing about him too, is he doesn’t have a stage mother who is trying to work out (his) life. She’s a very lovely nice woman and it reflects in him. He’s a nice little boy and I don’t remember him… I think possibly, I don’t know if his mother told him who I was, but I always got the feeling he never really knew who I was, you know what I mean? And he never mentioned “So, I liked THE ITALIAN JOB…” or something… these films that young boys like. We just had conversations and we got on with it and he was so bloody good.

Quint: In order to build that chemistry, it obviously sounds like it was stemming from your real life interaction.

Michael Caine: Sure. We became friends instantly and then we had to sort of turn it about because we weren’t friends when we met, but then being friends in real life, you saw his reaction when I said things in which he knew I would never say, so it worked like a charm.

Quint: That was great and I love how his character is very much kind of dark kid, but because he is so innocent about it… it’s almost like Bud Cort in HAROLD AND MAUDE, where he has this fascination with death and all of this macabre stuff, but he plays it so innocently that it somehow works.

Michael Caine: What I like is I turned him into a little boy at the end when he played football. What it was is that I helped him out. I helped him to live and he helped me to die.

Quint: Exactly.

Michael Caine: Because once I found the missus I was okay and I could die.

Quint: That’s very cool and it also seems to be a bit of a track record of you kicking it in your movies.

Click here to read along with Sir Caine in amazing Sound-O-Text!

Michael Caine: I kick it in every movie. And I never get a sequel.

[Both Laugh]

Quint: I guess that’s why you have got to keep friendly with Chris Nolan!

Michael Caine: To me, the most touching thing was for me personally, the fact that while I’m playing this man dying of Alzheimer’s, my best friend was dying of Alzheimer’s. And he was only 72 and as I was making this film he was dying and when I was doing it, I knew exactly where I was coming from, you know what I mean? It was quite extraordinary. I’m going to dedicate the film to Doug, Doug Hayward his name was. He made this suit! He was my tailor as well, but he was secondly my tailor and firstly my friend. To watch someone die of Alzheimer’s is an extraordinary experience. It took five years and then to be making this movie at the end of the five years, I thought it was extraordinary, because when I read the script I thought “Oh, he’s dying of Alzheimer’s like Doug,” but I didn’t realize how much of it there was. It didn’t seem like there was much of it, but when you get to it, then it becomes so important and I kept having to refer to him to get it right, because I knew how it was when it was right, so I had to keep referring back to Doug.

Quint: It must have put an extra load of pressure on you to make sure…

Michael Caine: That’s why when you see me do it, it’s very, very… not only in the movie, it’s very upsetting in a way. A lot of people got upset. My wife got upset by it.

Quint: Yeah, I had heard somebody was talking about that.

Michael Caine: And she wouldn’t let my pregnant daughter see it. She said “It will upset Natasha,” but…

Quint: It can’t be easy on your family, you know… watching…

Michael Caine: Watching Dad die?

Quint: It’s not like GET CARTER or something where…

Michael Caine: Where you get shot and you’re a gangster… They know you’re not a gangster, but what I was, I was an old man and I am an old man and this is what happened to him. And he was an entertainer.

Quint: The way that they lovingly… You see glimpses of the character’s life leading up to it, which is why I think you taking the role is such an amazing idea and probably a coup for them, because you bring a lot of baggage as an actor and when you see images of you from your 30’s and 40’s, we know that’s you. It’s like “OK, that’s ALFIE era and that’s…”

Michael Caine: Yeah, “There’s Jack Carter”

Quint: I really like that aspect of the movie and I think it adds another level to the film. Now you are accepting a lifetime achievement award at this thing, so what do you think about that?

Click here to read along with Sir Caine in amazing Sound-O-Text!

Michael Caine: I have a double reaction to it. One, it’s a great honor, especially from a load of tough guys like this. Exhibitors… they’re not Mother Superiors! (laughs) And the other one is that you feel like “Should I retire? Because they keep giving me these lifetime achievement awards,” so I’ve come to the conclusion that I’ve either got to stop working or I’ve got to stop accepting lifetime achievement awards, because I can’t do both…

Quint: They are going to be outdated when you start looking at them.

Michael Caine: Exactly, because I’m getting the lifetime achievement award and I’m here publicizing a movie I have just made, made last year, and I’ve just finished one I have made this year.

Quint: You have so many movies that you have made, it seems like you have a real passion for doing films.

Michael Caine: I love doing films. I took a year off after this and then another script came up called HARRY BROWN, which is about a vigilante… an old man who turns vigilante in a very dangerous project area where he lives. It’s one where old people can’t go out. They kill his best friend and he goes… and that was again a very old guy… not like this one, he’s very, very tough, but I mean I have just finished that. That’s called HARRY BROWN.

Quint: I think people are going to be really looking forward to that, because people love the GET CARTER stuff and it feels like “what if he didn’t get the bullet between the eyes?”

Michael Caine: “If Jack Carter got old and they picked on the wrong guy…”

[Both Laugh]

Michael Caine: He’s very innocent looking, old and harmless, you know and they picked on him and then suddenly Godzilla comes out. (laughs)

Quint: That’s great. I think people will love that. That’s why I think people responded to GRAN TORINO so much as they did.

Michael Caine: Yeah, I haven’t seen that yet. That got wonderful reviews. It was a big hit for Clint wasn’t it?

Quint: Yeah.

Michael Caine: I noticed in his, the miscreants shall we call them, were Koreans. There’s no racial… All of our villains are white English boys. We didn’t bring race into it at all, because once you do, you’re into a whole different thing.

Quint: That’s the trouble with GRAN TORINO, I think. I think it’s unintentionally funny in a lot of ways, like “Look at that racist old guy” and he’s not racist, but he still kind of is.

Michael Caine: We didn’t bring race into it at all, but ours is… well I tell you, a lot of it is truly scary. Really scary. It’s very violent, but what it is and I’m expecting to be doing an interview and you say to me “You have made this terribly violent film” and I’ve already got me answer and that’s “The film is not a violent film. It’s a film about violence that ordinary people do for reasons. The youngsters do it, because society let them down with education and parents. We let them down, otherwise they wouldn’t be like that.” I shot that movie in a place that I came from. The projects where I grew up, there’s even a mural on the wall of me there, but they are pulling it all down, but not the mural. I know what the difference is, between them and then in my young days and the tough guys who we were, is that now you have got drugs. We didn’t have drugs, we just had a couple of drinks, get pissed and go to sleep, you know? (laughs) Or have a fight, but drugs… I know it’s bad in America. It’s very bad in England, too. Very bad.

Quint: I can tell you, as you were just talking about retirement, that nobody that’s a fan of yours wants to see that happening, but we also don’t want you to wear yourself out.

Michael Caine: That’s great, thank you. That’s the thing, I take long times off. I’m not going to go rushing into anything. But what happens to me is… you know, I started off with SLEUTH, which is a remake that I thought was going to be wonderful. It didn’t turn out that way, but I thought…

Quint: I didn’t see the remake.

Michael Caine: The remake is good, but we got slaughtered critically, but that picture will come back again. I did that and I said, “Well, I’m not going to work.” Then they said, “THE DARK KNIGHT.” I said, “Oh, I got to do that!” I did THE DARK KNIGHT… no, I did THE DARK KNIGHT and then I did SLEUTH and then they said this one, so I did three and I was exhausted, but I don’t think that will happen again, because the parts for someone my age become less and less, obviously, and I’ve been asked many times if I am going to retire and I always give them the same answer, “Movies retire you.” So long as I like doing it… I like acting in movies. I like the whole thing… the camaraderie. I’m part gypsy, my father was part gypsy and I love the circus idea of it, traveling around and I have my own little (group) of people in England, hair, wardrobe, and makeup, chauffer, motor home guy… and we have all known each other for years. My wardrobe guy was on ZULU, so we know each other quite well.

Quint: That’s great. I was watching a bunch of your movies to get caught up leading to this and I watched almost all of the Harry Palmer movies and it was really interesting watching the three ‘60s in Harry Palmer movies and then going into THE MAN WHO WOULD BE KING… it’s so funny to me looking at where Harry Palmer is kind of like the real version of James Bond and then there you are with Connery and I had to wonder were you ever approached to be a part of any of the Bonds?

Michael Caine: No, not at all. I think that would have been because Broccoli and Saltzman… Saltzman did THE IPCRESS FILE lot and Broccoli never came in with it, so once I was in with Harry then I wasn’t going to back. The Bonds are all Broccoli, so I don’t think they would have ever of approached me and also, I’m not a big action man like that.

Quint: I could have figured they might have wanted to bring you in as a villain…

Michael Caine: I would have been a good villain, but they never thought about that.

Quint: That would have been really interesting to me as a movie fan.

Michael Caine: To have me and Connery? Yeah, well we had a great time on THE MAN WHO WOULD BE KING.

Quint: That movie is so amazing. I love Plummer at the beginning and…

Michael Caine: He was really great as Kipling. He’s a wonderful actor and we were all friends you see.

Quint: I love it and the only other thing I was thinking of as I was going through your movies is you were also hitting around the time that Hitchcock was hitting his stride and I was wondering if you ever talked to him.

Michael Caine: I knew Hitchcock very well, yeah and he wanted me to do a picture. Barry Foster played the part. It was made in London and it was a sadistic killer, who killed a lot of woman and I wouldn’t play a part like that.

Quint: Was that FRENZY?

Michael Caine: FRENZY. Yeah and he never spoke with me again when I turned it down.

Quint: Really? So you think he took offense?

Michael Caine: Yeah, well not too many people turn down Hitchcock, but I felt very strongly about the scenes where he slices up women and at that time there was a lot of it… We just had a killer called Heath in England who sliced up about twenty women very savagely and I got affected by that terribly and I just didn’t want to do it. Barry Foster, who played my brother in a couple of pictures, he played it.

Quint: Fantastic. Well, thanks so much for talking to me.

Michael Caine: Thanks a lot. Now I know when I look at Ain’t It Cool News who it is!

And that was that. The interview went off very well, I think, and Caine was as cool as I hoped he’d be. The fire’s still burning strong as ever and his enthusiasm is contagious. IS ANYBODY THERE? comes out this weekend in limited release. Give it a view if you want to see the performance that Caine thinks is his personal best. -Quint Follow Me On Twitter

Readers Talkback
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  • April 17, 2009, 7 p.m. CST

    Pure Class

    by fiester

    Thy name is Michael Caine.

  • April 17, 2009, 7:11 p.m. CST

    Caine is awesome

    by robotdevil

    Great interview. Man Who Would Be King has always been one of my favorites. Let's hope this guy keeps working forever.

  • April 17, 2009, 7:16 p.m. CST

    nice read

    by Aeghast

    more like an actual chat, not just a plain interview

  • April 17, 2009, 7:19 p.m. CST

    Thanks for the interview, Quint

    by palimpsest

    Caine's the man. And still doing good work, from CHILDREN OF MEN and THE PRESTIGE to this.

  • April 17, 2009, 7:21 p.m. CST


    by Human_Bean_Juice_

    Original Sleuth is a cracker!

  • April 17, 2009, 7:21 p.m. CST

    Michael Caine

    by Melvin_Pelvis

    It'd be fun to get stranded at an airport with him I think.<br> Hanging out, waiting for you flight at the airport bar, and just stat talking about this abt that.<p> But that just fantasy, and he'd probably just mace you ass and then go all Björk on your ass

  • April 17, 2009, 7:22 p.m. CST

    Thanks for that

    by kuryakin

    Really interesting <p> Cheers Quint <p> Fuck it must be hard trying to think what to talk to the big man about in 30 minutes, he has what, something like 80 plus movies under his belt?? <p> Legend

  • April 17, 2009, 7:30 p.m. CST

    Michael Caine

    by Melvin_Pelvis

    Could introduce you to The Baleverse,<p> He could, but he's too classy for that.<p> Becides, eacg person must find their own path there.

  • April 17, 2009, 7:36 p.m. CST

    Reading an interview like that...

    by OGoncho

    I can't help but grin stupidly throughout.What a wonderful man... and not bad on-screen either.<br>Really looking forward to his next two films, actually. Harry Brown looks so cool.

  • April 17, 2009, 7:38 p.m. CST

    Oh yeah, and good job Quint

    by OGoncho

    Thought you did very well, considering how badly you must have been bricking it.

  • April 17, 2009, 7:39 p.m. CST

    SIr Michael Caine - Star

    by Mr_X

    really enjoying a lot of his recent stuff as well as the classics. nice job quint.

  • April 17, 2009, 7:47 p.m. CST

    Fragment of Useless Information

    by Bad Week To Give Up Sniffing Glue

    On top of everything else, Sir Michael Caine is a real-deal war veteran. He fought with the British army in the Korean War. Based on a documentary I saw where he was interviewed, this man saw death close up & lived with it. Not surprising he did well in movies like Zulu & A Bridge Too Far. They're not making them like that any more.

  • April 17, 2009, 7:47 p.m. CST

    Amazing Sound-O-Text!

    by Flummage

    The amazing thing about the Amazing Sound-O-Text!, in this particular amazing instance, was that I could hear the old darling's amazing voice before I had even clicked on it. <p> I really do kind of love that man. Bless his cockney socks.<p> Great interview.

  • April 17, 2009, 7:48 p.m. CST


    by Magnum Opus

    Good job making that one count, Quint!

  • April 17, 2009, 8:01 p.m. CST

    Best Interview I've Ever Read With Sir MC

    by tolomey

    Cheers Quint.

  • April 17, 2009, 8:28 p.m. CST

    No TBer has taken on the challenge to offend Caine yet?

    by axel fff

    Surprising, but just give it time.

  • April 17, 2009, 8:29 p.m. CST

    Qunit your one of the reasons I still come to this site

    by mr dark

    Very good interview with an excellent and interesting actor. First class all around..Cheers

  • April 17, 2009, 8:31 p.m. CST

    Er.. Sorry Quint I spelled your name wrong

    by mr dark

    But still a heluva interview

  • April 17, 2009, 8:33 p.m. CST

    Caine was amazing as Abberline in Jack the Ripper

    by Gorgomel

  • April 17, 2009, 8:51 p.m. CST

    Great Job Quint

    by Broseph

    I love Caine's body of work.i've really liked some of his later roles in the presteige,the dark knight,the weatherman and children of men as jasper the old stoner.i shit when a buddy of mine brought over some Strawberry Cough to blaze

  • April 17, 2009, 9:05 p.m. CST

    I would have asked Caine about

    by Jardinier

    working with Tim McCanlies. Mainly because I adore SECONDHAND LIONS and I'm wondering whether he pissed somebody off during the making of that movie. He seems to have been in hiding since, budget-wise; someone rich should give this guy some money to write and direct a presumably awesome genre film.

  • April 17, 2009, 9:08 p.m. CST


    by iambrucewillis

    Jeez, can't believe he spent so much time talking to Caine about Watchmen. There's all this merchandise gathering dust in shops, nobody even remembers Watchmen. Why should Caine give a fuck?

  • April 17, 2009, 9:08 p.m. CST

    And Quint, the new SLEUTH is actually

    by Jardinier

    pretty good. Not as entertaining as the original, more clinical, more sterile, more... modern. So, different, but not necessarily in a bad way. I've recommended both films to friends as a double-bill, with the original first to get the twist out of the way.

  • April 17, 2009, 9:15 p.m. CST

    actually i like that watchmen talk

    by supercowbell4therequestformorecowbell

    this is a real good interview.

  • April 17, 2009, 9:20 p.m. CST

    Quint does the best interviews on this site.

    by Sal_Bando

    Fact is Quint IS the best part of this site--when he's here. Quint-get back to doing (some more) Movie a Day thingies here-it makes for good readin'. Thanks for the interview.

  • April 17, 2009, 9:55 p.m. CST


    by El Mamerro

    Michael Caine is banging Shakira?

  • April 17, 2009, 9:58 p.m. CST

    I met Michael Caine a few months ago

    by seppukudkurosawa

    at a leukemia benefit. A more stalwart fella you couldn't meet. He happily signed my juggling balls (along with Steve Martin and a couple of other folks). Thanks for the interview, Q!

  • April 17, 2009, 10:18 p.m. CST

    Outstanding interview

    by Darth Thoth

    Michael Caine- class act all the way. Inspiring. Good work Quint.

  • April 17, 2009, 10:25 p.m. CST

    3 hours of talkback without 1 negative comment?

    by robotdevil

    Wow... that's amazing. Michael Caine commands some serious, serious respect to pull that off on this website.

  • April 17, 2009, 10:30 p.m. CST

    I don't know...

    by wampa 1

    ...but it sure smells good!

  • April 17, 2009, 10:56 p.m. CST


    by evil dead 3d

    if you want to sound like michael caine you must speak in very short sentences. what an awsome gift this interview was thanks!

  • April 17, 2009, 11:01 p.m. CST

    What a wanker

    by OGoncho

    Thinks he's so great. Oh, I'm Michael Caine, I am.<br>Smug bastard.<br><br>There, the positive comments have been c-c-c-combo broken.<br><br>P.S. If you're reading this Sir Michael: You're awesome, and I loved you in On Deadly Ground :)

  • April 17, 2009, 11:43 p.m. CST


    by VALENTINEproductions

    Mr. Caine is so down to earth, i can only pray im as cool as that when i hit his age.

  • April 17, 2009, 11:44 p.m. CST

    JAWS: THE REVENGE was his masterpiece

    by BobParr

    I guess when you're in 10,000 movies a few will be duds.

  • April 17, 2009, 11:53 p.m. CST

    I would pay $5 to hear Michael Caine say "tangerines"

    by YackBacker

    I don't know why I love hearing him say that word, but when he says it in TDK, I become all happy and shit. And there you were, Quint, talking about BLADE RUNNER and you couldn't have asked him "Who did the score to that movie?" CAINE: "You see, the score was done by Tangerine Dream!" (sigh) Great interview, nonetheless.

  • April 18, 2009, 12:03 a.m. CST

    Sorry to pick nits, Yackbacker...

    by r_number6

    Vangelis did the Blade Runner Score, not TD. Anyway, interesting that Sir Michael turned down the part of the killer in Frenzy but then played another very twisted woman-killer in DePalma's Dressed To Kill. I'd be interested to know what changed his outlook between those films.

  • April 18, 2009, 12:33 a.m. CST

    A legend with a staggering career.

    by MaxTheSilent

    Please, Mr Caine... write another volume of your autobiography. You are one of the greatest actors of all time. Please share more of your stories with us.

  • April 18, 2009, 1:47 a.m. CST

    love it when he talks about the english class system

    by HaterofCrap

    when he talks about how the english class system impacted his self image, and how when he realized nobody in America gave a shit about class or his cockney accent it is fascinating...

  • April 18, 2009, 2:09 a.m. CST

    Awesome read.

    by gnarwhal_evan

    Caine is the man.

  • April 18, 2009, 2:44 a.m. CST

    harry palmer

    by Prossor

    iron curtain cold warry feel

  • April 18, 2009, 3:50 a.m. CST

    Great Interview Quint!

    by bb6634

    Class all the way!

  • April 18, 2009, 4:08 a.m. CST

    You talked to Michael Caine??

    by buffywrestling talked Michael CAINE!!! <p> Jealous hate you jealous blah :P

  • April 18, 2009, 4:42 a.m. CST

    Excellent Interview. A+

    by Brian

    this is the kind of shit i like to see on AICN. as much as Michael Caine kept cutting you off... you slipped in the right words in to get him talking about the stuff we want to hear. Kudos!

  • April 18, 2009, 5:13 a.m. CST

    Very nice interview

    by wampa_one

    thanks for posting.

  • April 18, 2009, 5:20 a.m. CST

    He's the man

    by Giant Ape Balls

    Can't really say much more than that. A legend and a gentleman to boot.

  • April 18, 2009, 5:31 a.m. CST

    I didn't know Quint was a little boy.

    by tonagan

    No wonder he towered over you - look at that first picture of you two... what?

  • April 18, 2009, 5:36 a.m. CST


    by IAmMrMonkey!

    Thank you so very much for that interview, Quint.

  • April 18, 2009, 6:34 a.m. CST

    Definitely someone I'd love to have a pint with.

    by Mr Nicholas

  • April 18, 2009, 6:42 a.m. CST

    Enjoyed that. Thanks.

    by Dingbatty

    I was nervous for you, reading that! I will have to remember to see the Harry Palmer films. I tried to see them back in 2003 when my girl and I were watching all of his movies that were available, but could only find The Ipcress file on VHS. I totally forgot to check if they were on DVD, now.

  • April 18, 2009, 7:08 a.m. CST

    Sir Michael, not Sir Caine

    by simhedges

    Good interview - v. interesting. btw, it's never ever "Sir Caine", but always "Sir Michael" or "Sir Michael Caine". Same with Dames (the female equivalent of knights): It's always "Dame Judi Dench" or "Dame Judi" but never "Dame Dench".

  • April 18, 2009, 7:20 a.m. CST

    Little Voice - an AMAZING performance in it

    by Col. Tigh-Fighter

    He does a singing number at the end of the film that is just devastating with the emotion he brngs to it. <p>If youve not seen LV, get it now!

  • April 18, 2009, 8:02 a.m. CST

    Has Sir Michael Caine ever worked with Sir Anthony Hopkins?

    by Leafar the Lost

    I'm not being an asshole, I really want to know.

  • April 18, 2009, 8:33 a.m. CST


    by seppukudkurosawa

    I can't remember if they had any scenes together, but Anthony Hopkins and Michael Caine were both in A Bridge Too Far (along with practically every other actor in the history of movies).

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    Probably the coolest guy on the planet.

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  • April 18, 2009, 9:12 a.m. CST


    by palimpsest

    that's all i need to say

  • April 18, 2009, 9:12 a.m. CST

    Back to Mr Caine, people

    by palimpsest

  • April 18, 2009, 9:21 a.m. CST

    Caine's taken a few jobs for the money:

    by palimpsest

    WATER, BLAME IT ON RIO, THE HOLCROFT COVENANT, JAWS: THE REVENGE as examples, and almost lost the entire 80s in one dud after another. That being said he's one guy who can be both a movie star and a actor. Check out LAST ORDERS, THE QUIET AMERICAN, QUILLS, LITTLE VOICE, HANNAH AND HER SISTERS, THE HONORARY CONSUL and so on, before ya even go back to his defining work of the 60s and very early 70s. That he's still working, and can be both iconic and convincing as a character stands testament to the fella.

  • April 18, 2009, 9:46 a.m. CST

    Caine called you on the Watchmen is great bullshit!!

    by Yoda's Ball Sack

    "Meaning it could have been a little bit more something or other?" Best part of the interview. Don't waste your time Sir Caine, its a shit film.

  • April 18, 2009, 9:53 a.m. CST

    The Eagle has Landed - classic film, classy actor.

    by Yoda's Ball Sack

    Great film, great cast. Thats what films should be like. And yes there is a ton of Watchmen merchandise sitting on shelves at half price gathering dust.

  • April 18, 2009, 10:03 a.m. CST

    once more, great interview, quint

    by T 1000 xp professional

    The legend of Michael Caine still stands strong. In the present day he is most assuredly the seal of quality of any film he's in... Thanks Quint.. did you pull his finger btw?... sorry :/ lol

  • April 18, 2009, 11:06 a.m. CST


    by The_Skook

    The man is a real star! Thanks Quint. I remember seeing a great little Brit sci-fi movie called The Day the Earth Caught Fire with Edward Judd. At one point he drives down a cordoned off street and the policeman who approaches him, although you don't see his face clearly, is unmistakenly an uncredited Michael Caine. You just know it's him staright away. What a voice!

  • April 18, 2009, 11:53 a.m. CST

    Make ROUNDTABLE!!!

    by DarqueGuy

    Caine as himself fighting dragons. It's like a license to print money...okay, at least a license to print MY money!

  • April 18, 2009, 12:09 p.m. CST


    by ufoclub1977

    Damn I wanna make a movie and meet a shakira (future miss Caine) type. That lucky English dog! Oh and this is quite a masterfully scored interview for this site. Thanks! Great work.

  • April 18, 2009, 12:26 p.m. CST

    Going through AMAD withdrawals

    by crazybubba

    anyone got any methadone?

  • April 18, 2009, 12:41 p.m. CST

    I love the Harry Palmer movies

    by Tacom

    Caine was great in the Ipcress File, Funeral in Berlin etc. But Caine is pretty cool in anything, even the crappy ones.

  • April 18, 2009, 2:32 p.m. CST

    Were you standing in a hole?

    by mooli_mooli

    6'2" is surely not "towering over" 6'1"... :)<br><br> Great interview though, as always.

  • April 18, 2009, 2:41 p.m. CST

    I would never say Nolan is "Visually interesting."


    Visually....I think he is kind of boring. I like Dark Knight, but I would never say Nolan's strength is in the visuals. That goes to someone like Michel Gondry.

  • April 18, 2009, 2:41 p.m. CST

    And I agree with the others. Fantastic interview.


  • April 18, 2009, 2:42 p.m. CST

    That IS ANYBODY THERE? poster = wannabee Wes Anderson.


  • April 18, 2009, 3:29 p.m. CST

    Caine nailed it

    by Eats_sandwich_gets_laid.

    when he said, "Now I know when I look at Ain’t It Cool News who it is!"<br> Quint seems to be the only one landing great interviews these days, and the only one that knows what to do with them. Fantastic.

  • April 18, 2009, 3:36 p.m. CST

    Good Stuff

    by Cinemanimetal

    Sir Michael Caine is a legend. This was a nice interview. Finding out that he was who Hitchcock wanted for Frenzy is really cool. I can easily picture him in the movie because the actor they did get essentially is his clone! It makes so much sense, but I never would have thought of it had he not mentioned it. Its cool that he passed on it though. Some actors would have just done it just to work with Hitchcock, but Sir Michael Caine is a better man than that. His new movie "Get Carter: Old Man Edition" could be very good if it isn't just as simple as it sounds.

  • April 18, 2009, 3:41 p.m. CST

    Harry Palmer

    by Cinemanimetal

    I thought Sir Michael Caine was BRILLIANT in The Ipcress File. That movie is one that should be more widely seen, but isn't. I watched Funeral in Berlin shortly after and it bored me to death (or at least to sleep). It just felt like a completely different character to me. I found it very dull. I heard the third movie is really wacky and different so maybe I'd like it more, but I am too afraid to try. The first one though is pure genius.

  • April 18, 2009, 4:18 p.m. CST

    Nolan visuals

    by Prossor

    Batman Begins was so ugly and brown like someone smeared shit on the negatives or something.

  • April 18, 2009, 5:04 p.m. CST


    by Quint

    I half-way agree with you on Funeral In Berlin. It's well done and I love the crazy Russian General dude, but it lacks the punch Ipcress had. The third Palmer movie, Billion Dollar Brain, is fascinating because it's like that series' Moonraker... where they just kind of go technology crazy and have a radically cartoonish villain.<BR><BR>When I say that Christopher Nolan is a brilliant visual filmmaker I don't mean in the Michel Gondry sense, I mean in the classic filmmaking sense. Look at both Prestige and Dark Knight, for instance, and how he plays with blackness and shadow, how long he holds his shots, how he chooses his angles, etc. It's very Kubrickian, kind of like Darabont at his best. He's not flashy, but he knows what to show and how long to show it for greatest storytelling impact. The Joker hospital scene, for instance.

  • April 18, 2009, 6:23 p.m. CST

    Really Quint? Hhhmmmm.......


    ....interesting. I didn't think he played with darkness and shadow nearly enough in TDK. There were lingering shots of Batman walking (lit far too much) and it looked goofy. An example would be the opening scene when he is stumbling toward the ledge in the parking structure. Goofy composition, we see too much of him. I thought the visual darkness was handled much better in Begins. <p>Thank Christ the acting saved it. <p>PRAISE BALE.

  • April 18, 2009, 6:28 p.m. CST

    Quint, great interview.

    by mrfan

  • April 18, 2009, 6:40 p.m. CST

    We need a MAN WHO WOULD BE KING DVD commentary!!!

    by Well-Armed Lamb

    For the love of God, *somebody* get Michael Caine and Sean Connery to sit down and do a DVD commentary on THE MAN WHO WOULD BE KING. I'd pay fifty dollars for that DVD. I'm not kidding.

  • April 18, 2009, 6:45 p.m. CST

    MAN WHO WOULD BE KING REMAKE -- starring Christian BALE


  • April 18, 2009, 6:55 p.m. CST

    Uhh... Last Valley Anyone?

    by endust

    Little-seen, but magnificent 1970 James Clavell film with him and Omar Shariff. Takes place during the Thirty Years' War... Caine is outstanding as a German mercenary captain who discovers a hidden valley untouched by one of Europe's worst wars. Incredible cinematography, crisp dialogue, and a great bunch of perfectly cast character actors.

  • April 18, 2009, 7 p.m. CST



  • April 18, 2009, 7 p.m. CST

    No 'Blame It On Rio' love?

    by Dr Gregory House

    Would love to have known what it was like to 'work' with Michelle Johnson, back in the day. And what days those were for Michelle. Damn!

  • April 18, 2009, 7:48 p.m. CST

    another thing about Begins

    by Prossor

    Virtually every shot of someone had to have the camera jammed into their face like paparazzi guys were doing camerawork. Pull that shit back it's suffocating, overload, unlike other directors who know how to work close ups well like Leone or Kershner. DeNiro is another when he directs like in the CIA movie, fucking everyone's nose almost touching the lense. fuck off with your ugly heads !!

  • April 18, 2009, 8:33 p.m. CST

    Prosser= dosen't have a clue

    by welsh_bullfrog_goon

    Prosser b begins is closely shot for it's intensity, if you don't intellectually understand that fair enough, but don't you dare knock batman begins.

  • April 19, 2009, 5:31 a.m. CST

    Gorgomel - kudos for the Jack the Ripper shout...

    by DiamondJoe

    ...that is a fucking great production. For anyone who doesn't know, it was a 4 hour miniseries from 1988 with Caine as Inspector Abberline (later played by Depp in From Hell) and it is THE definitive on-screen Ripper treatment. Caine is awesome in it. Also starring Armand Assante and Susan George (from Straw Dogs). You can pick it up on Amazon very cheaply. Get hold of it, you won't be disappointed:

  • April 19, 2009, 8:43 a.m. CST

    r_number6, thanks!

    by YackBacker

    Ridley Scott's 2 favorite composers and I picked the wrong one!

  • April 19, 2009, 11:20 a.m. CST

    nice interview

    by Gungan Slayer

    Thanks for posting quint, and as always, awesome job. Really looking forward to Harry Brown.

  • April 19, 2009, 12:54 p.m. CST

    I remember first seeing him on Arsenio Hall show

    by Tacom

    I don't know what he was promoting but he was started talking about having to kiss Christopher Reeve in the movie DEATHTRAP years before. He was alarmed because Reeve was taller which according to him meant: "I was the fluffy one! I'm the one looking up adoringly!" He's always funny in talk shows!

  • April 19, 2009, 1:58 p.m. CST

    I remember that also, Tacom.

    by mrfan

    MC is an interviewers delight. Always great. Class act all the way.

  • April 19, 2009, 4:50 p.m. CST

    Sir Michael Caine's a cool bloke....

    by TheWaqman

    also his talk show interviews are some of the most entertaining interviews ever. He tends to just go off and tell some random stories which are always great.

  • April 19, 2009, 6:03 p.m. CST

    Great interview

    by Lornsorrow

    Caine is awesome. Wish some one would some day talk to him about Too Late The Hero. Awesome film of his.

  • April 19, 2009, 6:50 p.m. CST

    Not only the hospital scene.

    by Die_Hardest

    But every conversation in that movie is shot beautifully. It all culminates in the final conversation between Batman and the Joker where he's hung upside down and the camera rotates. Just a very original and striking way to shoot that scene. And it fits very neatly thematically as well.

  • April 19, 2009, 6:51 p.m. CST

    That being said

    by Die_Hardest

    I think his effects shots are done well, but his fight scenes are generally hard to follow and at times dizzying. He makes up for it with his other visual strengths.

  • April 20, 2009, 12:08 a.m. CST

    Third batman

    by DrSurvey

    I saw an interview with Caine where he confirmed there would be a third Batman.

  • April 20, 2009, 2:21 a.m. CST

    Thoroughly engaging interview

    by thegreatwhatzit

    Rave reviews notwithstanding, Caine is still an extremely underrated actor; everything from JACK THE RIPPER (1988) to HANNAH AND HER SISTERS to THE WRONG BOX (another gem that requires further exploration; and John Barry's score is [disputably] his best). Many thanks for your fraternity, Mr. Caine. And, hey, loved your book...

  • April 20, 2009, 8:35 a.m. CST

    Great interview Quint BUT...........

    by Stuntcock Mike

    You could've got him to say cunt at least once.

  • April 20, 2009, 9:39 a.m. CST

    Nolan? Really?

    by König Lear

    Quint, if I had to pick a recent established director who approaches 'Kubrickian' in terms of visual style, I'd go with Paul Thomas Anderson's/Robert Elswitt's work on There Will Be Blood. Nolan is clinical and generally straightforward--although I will agree that The Prestige is as creative as he's gotten--and I was struck by how similar, visually, TDK is to Heat. It's well-framed, for the most part, but since it's concerned more with the human action relative to its surroundings than buying into the sort of absurd comic noir and proportions Tim Burton embraced (and has continued to since), Nolan forgoes the stylistic choices that would identify his vision of that universe with anything connected to those previous iterations. This isn't bad, necessarily--actually, it's a pretty shrewd decision--but there are certainly more interesting directors. Anyway, this is an excellent interview with one of my favorite actors in film. Thanks for that.

  • April 20, 2009, 11:07 a.m. CST

    Thank you for a fascinating interview

    by Schnorbitz

    And Is Anybody There seems to have a great cast, too. I recognised Peter Vaughan and Elizabeth Spriggs (who dies last year, so this must be her last film) in the trailer. But to have a retirement home with Leslie Phillips and Sylvia Syms as residents! And David Morrissey and Anne-Marie Duff are two of my favourites too.

  • April 20, 2009, 11:21 a.m. CST

    I think Chan-wook Park is kind of Kubrickian in style

    by Tacom

    I see it in Oldboy and Sympathy for Lady Vengeance. Just lets the camera tell the story like Kubrick. Tells the audience everything it needs to know about the story visually.

  • April 20, 2009, 10:44 p.m. CST

    Sir Maurice Micklewhite actually

    by catlettuce4

    he never changed his name

  • April 20, 2009, 11:39 p.m. CST

    Sir M. Caine is a verified Legend

    by Requiem4aJerk09

    This man single-handedly changed the perception of the English language.

  • April 21, 2009, 2:03 a.m. CST

    Christopher Nolan

    by yodalovesyou

    Imagination and Invention are two words he is unfamiliar with. But Sir Michael Caine always gives good interviews, especially because you can actually hear his very familiar voice when you read them.

  • April 21, 2009, 3:05 a.m. CST

    Caine was a badguy in On Deadly Ground

    by Prossor

    going toe to toe with the ponytailed one.

  • April 21, 2009, 3:07 a.m. CST

    wouldve been great in Frenzy

    by Prossor


  • April 21, 2009, 9:05 a.m. CST

    yodalovesyou that's bullshit..

    by DiamondJoe can you say Nolan is unimaginative and uninventive? Memento has both of those qualities in spades. So does The Prestige. I think thats almost unarguable.

  • April 21, 2009, 8:54 p.m. CST

    Well, I guess Caine won't be working for Zack Snyder.

    by cookylamoo

    Thank's for badmouthing him, Quint!

  • April 22, 2009, 7:17 a.m. CST


    by moneymouth77

    Michael Caine is such a legend. A truly inspiring man, a great actor... Great interview!

  • April 22, 2009, 3:08 p.m. CST

    i'll see both films

    by antonphd

    and maybe i'll go ahead and pickup Sleuth for rental after all.

  • April 22, 2009, 4:14 p.m. CST

    Michael Caine in Jack the Ripper

    by Klaatu2012

    Whoever it was that mentioned Caine in Jack the Ripper was right on. He was mesmerizing in that part. Caine would make a good Quint if someone is stupid enough to remake Jaws. Now that Paul Newman is dead, Caine seems to be the only one for that part. (or Edward James Olmos)

  • April 23, 2009, 4:26 a.m. CST

    Michael Caine is on my list

    by peopleintrees

    of actors i want to fight. Next to Screech, Zach Morris, AC Slater, Luke Perry, Fred Savage, the kid who played Paul from the Wonder Years, Paul Walker, and Ryan Renyolds

  • April 24, 2009, 6:39 a.m. CST

    The Man who would be Sir

    by drunkenmonkey73

    Michael Caine, I'm not a big fan of these titles but if anyone deserves to be Sir its Michael Caine. Great interview.

  • April 27, 2009, 9:46 p.m. CST

    Totally Cool

    by kufirst

    Micheal Caine is totally cool! He's always been an actor I admired. He's an actor that is in that special group of actors who are alive today and just exude coolness. Great interview!