CATEGORIES Interviews
"When I was a young man, we were running around with girls all over the place and nobody knew anything about anything. "

Michael Caine is what acting is all about. Over the course of his storied 50-plus-year career, he's made more than 100 films, won two Oscars (for 'Hannah and Her Sisters' and 'The Cider House Rules'), appeared in the second highest-grossing movie of all time ('The Dark Knight'), been knighted AND maintained his rep as a great guy throughout it all.

With his latest film, the indie drama 'Is Anybody There?,' Caine delivers a quietly heartbreaking turn as a widowed magician plagued by a lifetime of regret (and the onset of senility) who finds redemption in his unlikely friendship with an introverted boy (Bill Milner).

In an exclusive interview, the eternally cheerful, shockingly humble and unquestionably content movie legend reveals why his latest role left his wife of 36 years sobbing uncontrollably, dishes on what to expect -- and what not to expect -- from the next Batman movie and sets the record straight on pal Christian Bale's much-ballyhooed rant (and what a "scumbag" had to do with it).



Michael Caine is what acting is all about. Over the course of his storied 50-plus-year career, he's made more than 100 films, won two Oscars (for 'Hannah and Her Sisters' and 'The Cider House Rules'), appeared in the second highest-grossing movie of all time ('The Dark Knight'), been knighted AND maintained his rep as a great guy throughout it all.

With his latest film, the indie drama 'Is Anybody There?,' Caine delivers a quietly heartbreaking turn as a widowed magician plagued by a lifetime of regret (and the onset of senility) who finds redemption in his unlikely friendship with an introverted boy (Bill Milner).

In an exclusive interview, the eternally cheerful, shockingly humble and unquestionably content movie legend reveals why his latest role left his wife of 36 years sobbing uncontrollably, dishes on what to expect -- and what not to expect -- from the next Batman movie and sets the record straight on pal Christian Bale's much-ballyhooed rant (and what a "scumbag" had to do with it). -- By Tom DiChiara

Michael Caine Interview

    Michael Caine is what acting is all about. Over the course of his storied 50-plus-year career, he's made more than 100 films, won two Oscars (for 'Hannah and Her Sisters' and 'The Cider House Rules'), appeared in the second highest-grossing movie of all time ('The Dark Knight'), been knighted AND maintained his rep as a great guy throughout it all.

    With his latest film, the indie drama 'Is Anybody There?,' Caine delivers a quietly heartbreaking turn as a widowed magician plagued by a lifetime of regret (and the onset of senility) who finds redemption in his unlikely friendship with an introverted boy (Bill Milner).

    In an exclusive interview, the eternally cheerful, shockingly humble and unquestionably content movie legend reveals why his latest role left his wife of 36 years sobbing uncontrollably, dishes on what to expect -- and what not to expect -- from the next Batman movie and sets the record straight on pal Christian Bale's much-ballyhooed rant (and what a "scumbag" had to do with it). -- By Tom DiChiara

    Getty Images

    1. Which was more challenging: preparing to play a magician or a man spiraling into senility?

    Oh, spiraling into senility, you know, because I don't have any CGI to help me out there. [Laughs] I'm on my own. You're on your own as an actor. When you do those card tricks, if you get them wrong they can CGI them. They don't care. I got most of them right, but one of them they had to redo. There was a flick on the finger, and you see that finger [holds up his hand to display a bump in one finger] is sort of deformed, and I couldn't do that trick. I don't know [how I got the injury]. It's just something I did, and I don't remember doing it -- probably a fight in a movie. You get a lot of injuries -- well, I used to. Not anymore.

  • 'Is Anybody There?' showtimes & tickets
  • 'Is Anybody There?' trailer
  • Big Beach Films

    2. How was it working with your 10-year-old co-star Bill Milner?

    I think he's an extraordinary, extraordinary little boy. He was no problem. He knew all his lines. He came on the set and just did it. I thought he'd made about 10 or 12 pictures. He's only made one! He's a very nice boy. And we became like friends, you know, like equal friends -- not like the old man or the big actor. We just became friends. We know each other very well.

  • 'Is Anybody There?' showtimes & tickets
  • 'Is Anybody There?' trailer
  • Big Beach Films

    3. A big question of the film is what happens after death -- if anything. What do you think happens?

    Well, I'm in a quite extraordinary position about that because my father was a Catholic, my mother was a Protestant, I was educated by Jews, and I'm married to a Muslim woman. [Laughs] So I know everything about -- I really know all these religions backwards, you know, I haven't made up my mind yet. I live more in hope than anything. I do hope there's something there, and I think there might be.

  • 'Is Anybody There?' showtimes & tickets
  • 'Is Anybody There?' trailer
  • Big Beach Films

    4. Not to say that you're getting old or anything, but is there anything you particularly dislike about the aging process?

    Well, I am 76, which is not young. I always look at it as if I'm going to live to be 100. I've got another 24 years, so I don't have to worry about it. [Laughs] That's a quarter of a century. That's a long time. ... The only thing I don't like [about aging] is that you never become old mentally. I sort of stopped growing old when I was 38, you know. And then you're in a movie and someone says, "Run over there." And you go, "Oh, shit!" [Laughs]

  • 'Is Anybody There?' showtimes & tickets
  • 'Is Anybody There?' trailer
  • Getty Images

    5. Speaking of which, your next movie, 'Harry Brown,' kind of sounds like it's an action flick along the same lines as 'Taken.'

    Oh no, I did do some running around. That is a very physical film. I play an ex-marine. I'm in a lot greater shape than I'm pretending. I walk five miles a day, and I'm sort of a gardener, so I do a lot of heavy lifting and digging and shit and stuff like that. I don't do any formal exercise. I have a treadmill that I go on if it's raining, but I walk a long way every day. ... [This movie] is very violent, but put another way it's not a violent movie; it's a movie about violence. It's about what people do to each other. It's not a movie that's saying, "yeah, we're going to slit your throat and you're going to see the blood hit the ceiling" and all that. It's nothing like that at all. It's just about what violence does to others.

    Lionsgate U.K.

    6. 'Dark Knight' director Christopher Nolan is working on 'Inception' now. Is there a role in there for you?

    I've done his last three. I think he might stick a little one in just for luck. [Laughs] I know there's not a major role in it for me, otherwise I would have got the script long ago. But Christopher and I are friends. If he said, "Look, come and do two days just for luck," I obviously would do it.

    Getty Images

    7. Has Christopher clued you in to his plans for the next 'Batman' movie -- when it might be released or whether the Riddler will in fact be the new villain?

    The next 'Batman' -- well, if he's just going to start shooting 'Inception,' it's going to be a way away. It was three years between the other two because we did 'Prestige' between the two ... I don't think [Riddler is the next villain]. I asked Alan Horne -- I was with him on Friday, and he's the president of Warner Bros. -- and he doesn't know because Christopher won't decide what it'll be. He's the writer [with his brother Jonah]. It's an extraordinary thing. One of the brothers is an Englishman, the other one is like a real American! It's quite strange. Those two will write the 'Batman' they want to write, but they haven't told the boss yet, so they certainly haven't told me.

    Warner Bros.

    8. Do you think Christian Bale caught a bum rap for his 'Terminator' rant?

    First of all, what kind of scumbag publishes that anyway, sells it to the press all over the world? That's a real scumbag thing to do. Also, it wasn't like Christian at all. I was quite amazed because I swear more in just ordinary language than he does. And he's not a bad-tempered person. I've never seen him lose it. I mean, I've done three pictures with him. I'm very close to him. And I was amazed that that happened. But I think he did 10 minutes. I could do 12. [Laughs] You ain't seen nothing yet. I'll outdo him, because if you upset me, you're in a lot of trouble. [Laughs] I never lose my temper on a movie set ever, but I could see the situation he was in. I think you're up to take 15 or 16 and you just get it right and then some silly sod does something. Obviously, there had been things leading up to it, otherwise it wouldn't have been so long. I did one like that on a movie once where I was pissed off for days on end. [The movie] never came out fortunately [laughs], otherwise they'd have published it.

    Warner Bros.

    9. Is it harder to be an actor now with the Internet and paparazzi and constant media scrutiny?

    Oh, blimey, yeah! When I was a young man, we were running around with girls all over the place and nobody knew anything about anything. Now, you just got to step outside your door and you're buggered with the paparazzi. Terrible! [But] I'm a respectable old married man. How more boring can you get for a photographer?

    Getty Images