Quotes on acting 2: Michael Caine


“As I get older, I’m also a lot more interested in the circumstances under which a film will be shot. Will it be a little shoestring picture that will have us sitting in mud huts in Tanzania? Or are we going to be put up in the George V in Paris? I never used to look at that side of making a film. I once spent 26 weeks in a Philippine jungle which, looking back, could just as well have been the tropical garden at Kew, for all the difference it made to the picture. We lived for 26 weeks in an unfinished brothel. The rooms were expected to be used for twenty minutes at a time and were furnished accordingly. 26 weeks in rooms like that. And there wasn’t a girl in any of them. After that experience, I did The Magus without ever reading the script because the weather in England is lousy in January and I’d get a few weeks in the South of France out of it. That choice was a bit of a mistake on some ground, but in terms of climate, I had a winner. I close a script quickly if it starts: ‘Alaska: our hero is stumbling through a blizzard…’ ”

— Michael Caine
Acting in Film: An Actor’s Take on Movie Making

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8 Responses to Quotes on acting 2: Michael Caine

  1. Doc Horton says:

    I’m also a Caineaholic.

  2. red says:

    Great book, very entertaining.

  3. Bruce Reid says:

    I think Donald Sutherland (who, if forced to make an impossible choice, might be my favorite living actor) has admitted this is his sole criterion for selecting movie roles these days.

  4. red says:

    Bruce – hahahahaha. I certainly don’t blame him.

    I ADORE him.

    What’s your favorites of his parts?

  5. Bruce Reid says:

    Favorite Sutherlands? His dry humor was so invaluable to Invasion of the Body Snatchers and Space Cowboys and MASH. I’ve never seen another actor capture how heartbreakingly a man hollowed out by regrets can walk through his measured paces as the dad in Ordinary People. He gives two excellent portraits of conscience awakening in A Dry White Season and Citizen X. And his grin and native intelligence do make for a great villain in 1900, Eye of the Needle (one of my favorite death scenes in movies), and the enjoyable TV soap Dirty Sexy Money.

    Special honors perhaps for completely selling two monologues I don’t care for in and of themselves: the pandering ode to childish innocence in Six Degrees of Separation, which Sutherland shakes free of sentiment and makes a cry from a blasted life; and laying out the silly conspiracy theory in JFK, one of the best uses of his impish knowingness.

    Still far, far from complete.

  6. JessicaR says:

    I still love the story that goes when he was asked if he’d seen Jaws 4: The Revenge he went “No, and I here it’s terrible, but I have seen the house the check paid for and it’s lovely.”

  7. red says:

    Jessica – hahahahaha

  8. red says:

    Bruce – That opening scene in Don’t Look Now, when he drags his young daughter out of the pond –

    It’s one of those moments in acting that is so awful, so personal, that it becomes nearly unwatchable. I can’t bear it. It’s like slowing down your car to stare at a horrific car accident with multiple fatalities. Like: you really should give people PRIVACY in such tragic moments. That’s how I feel watching a lot of his work, actually … He lets me in on something so private that I almost feel bad for watching it.

    And I’m glad you mentioned JFK. I remember seeing it with my friend Mitchell, and Mitchell commented, “Only he could make exposition so riveting.”

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