In his latest movie, Michael Caine plays a cantankerous magician coping with life in a family-run retirement home. At 76, it’s the perfect role for the legendary actor — not that he’s considering retired life anytime soon.
“A role like this just makes me look forward,” said Caine during a recent interview to promote Is Anybody There? “I’m such a forward-looking person and I’m an optimist to the point of being an idiot — I think everything’s going to be alright.”
It’s just that refreshing, disarming attitude that has made Michael Caine one of cinema’s most beloved actors on and off-screen for over 50 years. It’s also ensured the Oscar-winner a flood of decent new scripts of late. Why, he wouldn’t be able to retire if he wanted to.
It seems to be paying off with Is Anybody There? — in theatres next Friday — that has already garnered a ton of praise. But while some critics are calling it, “Caine’s best performance in years,” the septuagenarian is quick to shirk the attention — instead praising his young co-star Bill Milner (Son of Rambow).
“We had to have a great little boy — otherwise the picture would go in the tube,” said Caine of the story’s reclusive 11-year old boy whom his character mentors. “When we rehearsed, I realized we’d done well because Bill is a natural movie actor.”
According to Caine, much of the credit also belongs to the semi-autobiographical script by Peter Harness.
And Caine should know good scripts. Having starred in 100-plus films — including such Oscar-winners as The Cider House Rules and blockbusters like The Dark Knight — Is Anybody There? lays claim as the only script to have ever caused Caine to shed tears.
“I’m not one of nature’s criers, believe me. That’s what made me realize it was so special. I thought, ‘Bloody hell, I’m sitting in an office, on my own, and I’m crying.’ That’s astonishing.”
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