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.'" 


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