Monday, November 30, 2015


  He may be one of the world's biggest movie stars but Leo DiCaprio still tries to follow his dad's advice. 
    "My dad has a saying that there are two things you must do," he tells me when we talk at the Four Seasons in Beverly Hills. "Try and lead an interesting life, and no matter what you do professionally or what your life is like, try to find a way to wake up every morning and just be happy you can put your pants on."
 "I can't say I'm one hundred per cent there but those are my ambitions."
  Leo has been nominated five times for Oscars and has never won---but this year it could finally be his turn.
 He is getting rave reviews for his gritty performance as fur trapper Hugh Glass in Alejandro Inarritu's brutal but brilliant frontier epic The Revenant. And if effort counts for anything he should definitely win.

  "It is the hardest film I have ever had to do," he tells me."It was a test of all our endurance. Going into it we all knew we were embarking on an adventure that would test everything about us---and it absolutely did."

    Inarritu filmed The Revenant chronologically over seven months in the snows and bitter cold of Canada, in weather which often sunk to minus 40 degrees, using only natural light, which sometimes meant filming for only two hours a day. 
   "It was so excruciatingly cold they had to invent machines for the actors not to get hypothermia after every take we did---it was that extreme," says Leo.

Friday, November 20, 2015


The last time I chatted with Michael Caine was back in 2006 when he had just finished work on the movie The Prestige and he told me he considered himself semi-retired.

   Since then he has made 19 more movies, has four awaiting release and, at the age of 82, he still considers himself semi-retired.

  "I only come out of retirement if it's a very small part and a lot of money or a great part and no money," he tells me when we meet again the other day at the Four Seasons in Beverly Hills.

  "This was a great part with no money." Then he qualifies his statement. "Well, not very much money." 

    "This" is his role in Youth, a movie written and directed by the Italian filmmaker Paolo Sorrentino about two old friends, played by Caine and Harvey Keitel,  approaching their 80s who are on  holiday at a hotel in the foothills of the Alps.

   Caine plays Fred, a retired composer and conductor who has no intention of returning to his music career while Keitel is Mick, a director who is still working.

   While their ages and the passing of time is on the minds of the two old men, Caine, who began his career in repertory in Horsham, Sussex, at the age of 20, is totally unaffected by it. "I feel young all the time," he says. "I stopped aging at the age of 38 when I got married. But I'm 82 and about six weeks ago I was 35. But I don't think about that. I just think of myself as 38."
   Unlike some stars, he seems to actual enjoy his promotional and publicity duties and even after a 62-year-career, 130 movies, six Oscar nominations, two wins and a knighthood he still seems slightly bewildered by his success.

  "Fame is a big surprise to me," he says. "I became an actor not to become rich and famous because I was a little Cockney guy from a slum area;  I became an actor just to be the best actor I could become and that is still my mentality. But I became famous along the way and it was quite extraordinary; it was like a miracle. A reporter said to me the other day, 'Do you believe in God?' And I said, 'If you had my life you'd have to.'" 


Monday, November 16, 2015


Julia Roberts at the Miramar
Looked in on a Julia Roberts press conference at the Miramar in Santa Monica the other day---something of a rare occasion because she doesn't work much nowadays. 
 Her new movie--her first since August: Osage County in 2012, is The Secrets in Their Eyes, a thriller which marks the seventh time she has worked with her husband of 15 years, cameraman Danny Moder.
  The 48-year-old actress shared her recipe for a long lasting marriage:

  "A girlfriend of mine who has been married for a long time says if you want an interesting relationship, stay in one," she said. "And I think that is so true because after 15 years I find the continuous excavation of our relationship and our family fascinating. So the real key is to stay invested and interested in your partner."
  It seems to have worked for the Oscar winner, who has three children, twins aged 11 and an eight year old with Moder.

  "We have the same values and we have great jobs," she said. "We work in a great business but it's separate from our home life and we have a real compatibility in that regard. We want the same things, so I think that's important."


  It's always a pleasure seeing Nicole Kidman, whom I first met 21 years ago on Batman Forever. A lot of water under the bridge si...