Quotes From Michael Caine
[in 1967] I've never been out with a married woman, never. I respect others' properties.
My name is Michael Caine
[on Jaws: The Revenge (1987)] I have never seen it, but by all accounts it is terrible. However, I have seen the house that it built, and it is terrific.
I am in so many movies that are on TV at 2:00 a.m. that people think I am dead.
I used to get the girl; now I get the part. In The Quiet American (2002) you may have noticed I got the part and the girl. It's a milestone for me, because it's the last time I'm going to get the girl. I'm sure of it, now I'm nearly seventy.
Movie acting is about covering the machinery. Stage acting is about exposing the machinery. In cinema, you should think the actor is playing himself, if he's that good. It looks very easy. It should. But it's not, I assure you. To disappear your complete self into a character is quite difficult. I've tried it 85 times, and I've succeeded two or three times.
The best research [for playing a drunk] is being a British actor for 20 years.
First of all, I choose the great roles, and if none of these come, I choose the mediocre ones, and if they don't come, I choose the ones that pay the rent.
The difference between a movie star and a movie actor is this--a movie star will say, "How can I change the script to suit me?" and a movie actor will say. "How can I change me to suit the script?"
Be like a duck, my mother used to tell me. Remain calm on the surface and paddle like hell underneath.
[on doing the Texan accent for Secondhand Lions (2003)] I had a great dialect coach and he told me there's always one moment when you get something. He said, "Do your Texan accent for me," when I had learned it from a tape. He said, "It's too English!". I said, "Why?". He said, "Each word stands up like soldiers standing to attention next to each other. The way they talk in Texas, they're so lazy they sort of lean on each word". And I could just picture all these words leaning over each other, and that's when I got it.
[In reference to the Oscar Family Album Tribute sequence at The 70th Annual Academy Awards (1998) (TV) and speaking live on British television following the Oscar ceremony in 1998] I was sat up there with the likes of Claire Trevor and Luise Rainer. It means a lot to me, it was amazing, they are living legends!
My view is that you should always do remakes of failures. Then you've got nowhere to go but up, you know? They can't say, "Well, it's not as good as the original, you made a piece of crap". They'd just say, "What a piece of crap that was," anyway.
It's terrible. Every six weeks it's Christmas. In Catch-22 (1970), the hero says, "Time is going by so fast, I have to make my life more boring." That's what I've got to do, because my life is so interesting and I enjoy myself so much, I've got to make it more tedious, because I'll be 100 in a minute. My mother died when she was 90, so I've got just under 20 years left. The terrible thing is that in obituaries, you read, "He died at 74, he had a good life." You think, "Bloody hell, I've only got 18 months to go". And another strange thing about aging - as you get older, it gets faster, and you see people you haven't seen in what you think is five years, but it turns out to be 25 years. You say, "I made that film ten years ago," and they correct me: "Thirty, Michael. Thirty".
My most useful acting tip came from my pal John Wayne. Talk low, talk slow, and don't say too much.
I did Harold Pinter's first play, "The Room". Harold was an actor named David Baron. He said, "I'm going to write". I said, "Oh yeah, it'll be nice". He said, "But I don't want to get mixed up with being an actor. I'm going to write with my real name". I said, "What's your real name, David?" He said, "Harold Pinter".
Whenever anyone asks me to do something about my life's work, I keep saying, "Please, I haven't finished yet. Can you give me another year?" . . . In a lifetime achievement award, you just have to watch yourself grow old in 45 minutes.
[on Alfie (1966)] To be a movie star, you have to carry a movie. And to carry a movie where you play the title role is the supreme example. The third thing, for a British actor, is to do it in America. The fourth is to get nominated for an award. That picture did all four things for me.
[on Richard Gere] He's got a pin-up image, which he hates. The only trouble is this: whenever they ask him to take his trousers off, he does.
Such is an actor's life. We must ride the waves of every film, barfing occasionally, yet maintain our dignity, even as the bulk of our Herculean efforts are keel-hauled before our very eyes.
You get paid the same for a bad film as you do for a good one.
I'll always be around because I'm a skilled professional actor. Whether or not I've any talent is beside the point.
In England I was a Cockney actor. In America, I was an actor.
I'm the original bourgeois nightmare - a Cockney with intelligence and a million dollars.
Don't remake a successful picture, because you're liable to be the flop. Steve Martin and I made a much better picture of Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (1988) than Marlon Brando and David Niven did. What I wouldn't do anymore is play any guest shots. I've given that up. I did it as some fun and it backfired in Get Carter (2000) so I'm not doing it again. Now I hear that they're going to remake The Italian Job (1969) with me in the Noel Coward part. I'd consider it, yes.
I'm a sort of boy next door. If that boy has a good scriptwriter.
[about remakes of his classic films such as Get Carter (1971) and The Italian Job (1969)] I wish they would remake the BAD ones!
I've made an awful lot of films. In fact, I've made a lot of awful films.
[on Heath Ledger's performance as The Joker] The worry going in was The Joker. Jack Nicholson was the greatest Joker so, you know, how do you top that? Well, Heath Ledger's done it and he's extraordinary. He's gone in a completely different direction to Jack. Jack was like a clown figure, benign but wicked, maybe a killer old uncle. He could be funny and make you laugh. Heath is like a really scary psychopath. I did one scene with him and he was ready to go and had to come up in a lift and raid our place. I didn't see him for rehearsal and when he came out of the lift he was so incredible I forgot my lines. He frightened the life out of me. I'd never met him before. He's a lovely guy and his Joker is going to be a hell of a revelation in this picture.
[on Julie Walters] "Educating Rita" was wonderful, I did it with Julie Walters, the original girl. She is sensational, really fantastic, and she is a very nice person as well which is always a bonus.
[on Otto Preminger] O.P. is only happy if everybody else is miserable. Still, if you can keep his paranoia from beating you down, you can learn a lot from the guy.
[on Ray Milland] A nice old bloke.