After six decades in the business, Michael Caine has earned his retirement. Appearing on BBC Radio’s Kermode and Mayo’s Film Review program, the actor said that his current film Best Sellers is likely his last.
The mid-budget comedy-drama, in which he stars as a cranky, reclusive author butting heads with a modern publisher played by Aubrey Plaza, has “turned out to be what is my last part really,” he said. The two-time winner of the Best Supporting Actor Oscar (for Hannah and Her Sisters and The Cider House Rules) remarked “I haven’t worked for two years, and I have a spine problem which affects my legs so I can’t walk very well.”
Though he has other work that was shot prior to Best Sellers that has yet to see release, including the Czech historical action picture Medieval, he reiterated to interviewer Simon Mayo that he “think[s Best Sellers] would be” his last film. He added, “there haven’t been any offers honestly for two years, because nobody’s been making any movies I’d wanna do.”
The actor, who has entertained film audiences from Alfie to Zulu, added “you know I’m 88. There’s not exactly scripts pouring out with a leading man that’s 88, you know?”
Caine, who has published a number of successful books about Hollywood and the acting craft, recently turned his quill toward fiction. During the pandemic he wrote a thriller called If You Don’t Want To Die, that is being readied for publication. “My professional—my life has been with 150 people all day long every day. So I now sit down to do something on my own. And I think that’s what it is all about,” he told NPR about the writer’s life, while also slyly quoting a phrase forever associated with him as a young man.
But then comes the twist! A short while after this story hit, Caine’s representatives told The Wrap that retirement may be too strong a word. The trade paper wrote that they had confirmed that Caine “is not fully retiring.”
One suspects that, with Christopher Nolan readying a biopic on J. Robert Oppenheimer, there might be room for at least a quick Caine cameo. The two have worked together on nine previous projects. (Who else but Michael Caine could sell a line like Interstellar’s “I will have solved the problem of gravity”?)
Anyhow, since we’ve got Caine on the brain, let’s take this opportunity to celebrate the man—truly one of the greatest who ever stood before a camera. Here are just three under-the-radar clips.
In 1987, Caine released a book and VHS tape called Acting In Film, which is absolutely mesmerizing. This bit in particular is fascinating and may change the way you watch close-ups in movies forever.
This video has a bit of salty language, but features some terrific moments from the bizarre 1990 comedy A Shock To The System.
And if you ever thought someone’s Michael Caine impression was too over-the-top, you’ve clearly never seen John Huston’s classic The Man Who Would Be King.