Michael Caine – “Hot day, hard work.”

Excerpt from Michael Caine’s awesome book Michael Caine – Acting in Film: An Actor’s Take on Movie Making .

Learn to produce your voice correctly. Breathe from your diaphragm. If you breathe properly, your voice will be comfortable to listen to because you will not have to strain to get your voice out … Breathe from your diaphragm and your nerves won’t have a chance to strangle your performance.

On Zulu I was incredibly nervous from the start, as you can imagine — my first big movie, my first big chance. The memory of the first day on location still makes me shudder. The uniform was uncomfortable in the boiling hot South African sun. I had to speak in this clipped upper-class accent — an effort, to say the least. Then, to cap it all, my horse threw me into the river three times and I kept having to change my clothes. Finally the damned horse behaved well enough for me to get out my line: “Hot day, hard work.” The director, Cy Endfield, shouted:

“CUT! Why is your voice so high?”

I said, “It’s the character.”

“No!” he said. “I heard you in rehearsal and it was different. It’s higher now.”

He had the sound technician play my line back. I was so nervous that my throat had tightened, my shoulders became tense, and my voice was about an octave higher than usual. I had to ride that bloody horse across the river again; but this time I forced myself to relax, and I got it right.

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2 Responses to Michael Caine – “Hot day, hard work.”

  1. peteb says:

    Who got that horse?!

  2. Dan says:

    Yay! Thanks for posting about Caine and Zulu, one of my favorite movies.

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