The actor announces that he is leaving acting after two Oscars and 150 films to dedicate himself to writing: “Nobody is making the films I want to do,” says this icon of British culture
When Michael Caine published “My Life and I” in 1992, perhaps the funniest memoir ever written by an actor, he was already planning to retire, cultivate his garden and dedicate himself to the family. Filled with memorable quotes – “when you are born ‘cockney’, you can only go up” – the work contained personal revelations that possibly only came to life in the head of its author, such as the existence of a confined brother for forty years in a mental institution. The veracity of its content took a back seat to the joy of its reading. Caine demonstrated as a writer the same innate elegance and irony and the unusual sense of humor that he brings to his characterizations as a cynical and carefree man.
John Wayne gave him one piece of advice on how to be successful in Hollywood that he followed head-on: “Remember to speak low, slow, and not say too much.” At 88 years old and after 150 films, the actor has announced that he is now retiring from acting. He has assured it on the BBC radio program ‘Kermode and Mayo’, arguing that one of the reasons for his withdrawal is disenchantment with the industry. “Nobody is making the movies I want to make,” he says. In addition, he has put forward health reasons and the need to delve into his new facet as a writer. “I am 88 years old, there are not exactly many scripts with an 88-year-old protagonist.”
The satire of the literary world ‘Best Sellers’, directed by Lina Roessler, would be his last film, although the period adventure film ‘Medieval’, by Petr Jákl, is also pending release. “It’s funny that ‘Best Sellers’ is my last movie, because I haven’t worked for two years and I have a spinal problem that affects my legs, so I can’t walk well. And I also wrote a book a couple of years ago that was successful, so now I’m not an actor, I’m a writer. It’s great, because you no longer have to get up at 6:30 in the morning and go to the studio. As a writer, you start writing without getting out of bed! ‘
Michael Caine, named Sir by Elizabeth II like Sean Connery, his partner in ‘The Man Who Could Reign, is, along with Jack Nicholson, Paul Newman and Laurence Olivier, the only actor to have been nominated for an Oscar in five decades – Holds six nominations and two secondary statuettes for ‘Hannah and her Sisters’ and ‘The Rules of the Cider House’. His first big break was enjoyed as a British Army officer in 1964’s ‘Zulu’. Shortly thereafter, ‘Alfie’ made the bespectacled blonde actor a symbol of Swinging London and introduced him to the United States. New generations know who he is from his role as Batman’s butler in the ‘The Dark Knight’ trilogy.
Caine has always justified his erratic filmography according to a purely chrematistic criterion, which has led him to alternate masterpieces such as ‘The footprint’ with disasters such as ‘Jaws, revenge’. “If you are Dustin Hoffman and you make millions of dollars with your profit percentage, you are not in a hurry to start making another movie. But I earn much less than him and I have the same standard of living, so I have to work a lot of movies, “he argued. His humble origin has a lot to do with this existential philosophy.
Maurice Joseph Micklewhite was born in 1933 in Elephant & Castle, a South London suburb. Suffering from a chronic eye disease that would give his eyelids that swelling that, in the end, would be one of his hallmarks and from acute rickets that forced him to wear orthopedic boots, Caine grew up in a family formed by a fish carrier and an indomitable cleaning lady. At 16 he dropped out of school to enlist in the Army. Upon his return from Germany and Korea, he began attending acting classes while doing all kinds of jobs during the day.
‘Alfie’ was the movie that changed her life. He arrived after kicking the stages in England, dressing up as an Indian in a television series and seeing generationmates like Albert Finney and Sean Connery triumph. That womanizing gulf shared the actor’s ‘cockney’ root. But his aristocratic and snobbish ‘Zulu’ officer proved his versatility. There was a time when he made twelve films in four years, but from the 1990s on he put the brakes on and set about exploiting on the screen that sardonic and softly sophisticated image of himself.
His second marriage to ex-Miss Guyana Shakira Baksh, with whom he has been married for almost fifty years, his two daughters and his two grandchildren have provided stability to the “sexiest man alive with glasses”, as he was once baptized. Active in favor of Brexit – “I prefer to be a poor master than a rich slave, it has nothing to do with immigration, or with the return of the pound sterling,” says the actor – Michael Caine is an icon of British culture who He has been in front of the cameras since 1946. In his second memoir, ‘La gran vida’, published a couple of years ago, the actor confirms that even surrounded by the tinsel of Hollywood he never ceased to be that elusive, sullen and mocking the smoky London of his childhood. “My first acting lesson was given to me by my mother when I was three years old,” he reveals in the book. “We were poor and sometimes Mom was late in paying the bills, so every time the landlord came to collect the rent, he would hide behind the door while I opened it and repeated, with great precision, my first sentence: ‘My Mom is not here. ‘