Movies

No, Michael Caine Has Not Retired From Acting, Despite What He Told A BBC Reporter

Sometimes a legend’s “retirement” doesn’t last long. (See: Jay-Z, Steven Soderbergh.) Other times the report has been greatly exaggerated. Such seems to be the case with Michael Caine. On Friday, the world was stunned to hear when the screen legend and famous non-blinker, who went from poverty to becoming one of movies’ biggest and most beloved stars, appeared to say that at 88 he was done with dragging his old bones to movie sets. But on Sunday, he appeared to reverse course.

“I haven’t retired and not a lot of people know that,” Caine wrote cheekily on Twitter following widespread social media mourning. That’s all he wrote, but it suggests that in the offending interview, which he gave to the BBC, he may have simply misspoke and the media and the internet ran with what they assumed was a bombshell.

In the interview, it sure sounded like Caine, who first rose to prominence in the mid-’60s with British films like Zulu, The Ipcress File, and Alfie, was throwing in the towel. He said that Best Sellers, his new film with Aubrey Plaza, “turned out to be what is my last part really.” He also said he hadn’t “worked for two years” — in the middle of an industry-shuttering pandemic, mind you — and said that he has a “spine problem which affects my legs so I can’t walk very well, so…”

But it’s not as though he was done working. “And I also wrote a book, a couple of books, which were published and were successful, so I’m now not an actor, I’m a writer,” Caine said, seemingly alluding to his memoirs. “Which is lovely, because as an actor you have to get up at half-past six in the morning and go to the studio. As a writer, you can start writing without leaving the bed.”

When asked if Best Sellers would wind up being his last film, he replied, “I think it would be, yeah.” He admitted that for the last two years there hadn’t been any offers for “movies I’d wanna do,” adding, “Also, you know I’m 88. There’s not exactly scripts pouring out with a leading man that’s 88, you know?”

It certainly sounds like Caine was retiring. Well, anyway, he’s not, at least according to him. So if you’re Christopher Nolan, or even if you aren’t, please reach out to the guy so Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon can continue having new impersonation material.

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