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Hey Kids, I’ve just learned What’s it all about from Alfie himself.  We were privileged to have Sir Michael Caine join us to discuss his latest project, Is Anybody There.  He chatted about what makes this film so personal to him, the value of a wonderful spouse, growing up in the London projects, and why we’ll never see Sean Connery onscreen again.

We also got a quick quote from the film’s producer, David Heyman about the controversial Harry Potter release shift.

Dig it.

 

Is Anybody There - Sir Michael Caine

 

The Lady Miz Diva:  Can you talk about working with director John Crowley, and the young actor at the centre of the film, 14-year old Bill Milner?

Michael Caine:  The script was brought to me by {producer} David Heyman, who makes the Harry Potter films and he already had John as the director, and he said, “If you wanna do the film, there’s two movies you can see by John Crowley {2003’s Intermission and 2008’s Boy A}, and I watched both of them, and I was extremely impressed with both of them, they were entirely different.  And then I met John, and I was extremely even more impressed with him, because I thought he could do wonders, and of course he did.  {Affects Irish brogue} He’s a very whimsical Irishman, just talks like this.  He is as tough as old nails, you know, not nasty, he’s the nicest man, but what he wants, he wants it and he gets it.  I love him dearly and I think he did a wonderful job on this movie.

But the other one, Bill, is the most self-possessed young man I’ve come across in years.  People say “Did you give him any advice?” I say, “No, he didn’t need any.”  He gave me a couple of bits of advice, but I didn’t take any notice.  But he is such a natural actor, and he’s never been trained to be a theatre actor, so there’ s nothing artificial about him.  And he has another advantage, one, he is highly intelligent, and he has a mother who is highly intelligent, too, and is not a stage mother.  All this, to her, is an accident.  He was in an amateur dramatic society in his school and the casting director came and saw a play, cos she was looking for a little boy.  And David, of course who cast Harry Potter, is no slouch, and when he said to me, “We’ve got this little boy,” and I said, “He better be good, cos if he’s not, we’re right in the toilet.”  But this boy was wonderful and I love him.  And Bill and I, we don’t have a grown-up/child relationship, we have a relationship which is almost equals, we just talk to each other.  Two actors with the same problem.  It’s a thing like, I remember when I made the first Sleuth with Laurence Olivier, everybody said, “Well, how are you gonna be working with Laurence Olivier?” I said “When they say ‘action,’ he’s got the same problems as I have.  So, he won’t be worrying about me.”  And that’s exactly what happened with Bill.

 

LMD: Has the criteria for you changed as to how you choose your roles?  In your previous film, Flawless, your director Michael Radford told me you were aware that your character could have been you in another life.  Could that also be the case with Clarence in Is Anybody There?

MC:  Well, yeah, it could have been because he is a performer, a failed performer, which I’m not and he is dying.  I hope I’m not.  It’s a very different character from me; there’s nothing of me there, which is one of the things I like about it, there’s nothing.  But I suppose I have to get used now to playing older people.  In the film I’ve just finished, called Harry Brown, I play an old Marine who lives in a terrible project, they kill his friend and he becomes a vigilante. Which is, again an old man, but an extremely different old man.

I saw a trailer of Gran Torino, and I noticed that the young men were Korean, so there was a racial element – not racist, racial element.  In my film, all the villains and scumbags, they’re all white English kids, there’s no black in it; we didn’t want to get mixed up with race.  I can see me doing interviews and someone saying it’s a violent film, I say, ‘No, it’s film about violence.  It’s not a violent film.’  You’re not sitting there seeing close-ups of people’s throats being slit and blood hitting the ceiling.  But it’s a film about violence that we’ve brought upon ourselves and our own children through family, education, and government, and of course, the worst one of all, drugs.  I came from the same projects where I’ve just shot; there’s even a mural on the wall to me.  But the difference in them and me was drugs, we didn’t have drugs.  We all got bombed out of our minds on alcohol, you know.  All you had was a headache the next day.

 

LMD:  Coming from that background, how have you managed to stay level-headed with all your success?

MC:  I wasn’t a success until I was 29, so I was a fully-grown properly formed man when I was 29 – that was Zulu.  So, if you think you’re a 17-year-old and you make a record and you’ve got five million dollars you can go berserk – none of that happened.  And then eventually, I was very fortunate to marry an incredible woman, really incredible woman, my wife, and I had a very firm and steady family background.  If my wife said to me, ‘I’m fed up with you working. You give it up,’ I’d give it up.

 

LMD:  Yet there’ve been so many of your famous close friends who’ve gone through big divorces, like Roger Moore, who you were very close to.

MC:  Yes, we were.  Well, it’s like the same with Sean, Sean Connery and I, we were like the Three Musketeers, but one of ‘em lives in Switzerland {Moore}, I live in England and Sean lives in the Bahamas.  So, we never see each other, and I don’t think you’ll see much of Sean anywhere.  You certainly won’t see him on screen again, that’s for sure, but I doubt whether I’ll see him cos he doesn’t wanna travel.  He lives on a golf course in the sunshine, what the hell does he need?  He’s got all the money he’s ever gonna want.

 

LMD:  What’s your take, do you think there’s an afterlife?  Is anybody there? 

MC:  No, I don’t.  I’d like to think there was, but at the moment my jury is out.  My wife has a suspicion there is, but I don’t discuss it with her, otherwise, there’d be a row.

 

 

~ The Lady Miz Diva

April 6th, 2009 

 

Extras: We got a moment with producer David Heyman, the man behind the Harry Potter films and asked about the controversial delayed release of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.

The Lady Miz Diva:  How did you feel about Warner Brothers’ decision to push the release of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince from last November to May 2009?

David Heyman:  You know what?  I would have liked to have the film come out because once you finish with it, you’d like to get it done, but that being said, the studio has been very supportive and it was the right thing for them and I don’t think it hurts.  And there was always going to be a two-year gap, either between 5 and 6, or between 6 and 7/8.  There was always going to be a gap somewhere in there, so it just happened that the gap was between 5 and 6.

 

 

 

 

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Photos

Exclusive photo by LMD

Film stills courtesy of Heyday Films/Big Beach Films

 

 

 

 

 

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