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When you read about a global superstar like Michael Caine you have a picture in your mind of a handsome, svelte man at the peak of his abilities.
Then you come across a startling figure. He is now 88. Walks with a stick, has a gammy leg and a dodgy spine.
And the only time he leaves the house is when his wife has the time to take him out for a drive.
But what I most admire about the Caine who emerges from a fine Guardian interview by Xan Brooks is a man who knows his days of the red carpet are over but that doesn’t define him or restrict his ambitions in other areas.
He is doing the interview because he has a film, Best Sellers, out on October 18. Not sure it has a theatrical release but can be seen digitally.
The other week, he reveals, he was sent a screenplay that had his character running away from a bunch of crooks. This made him laugh.
‘’I can’t walk, let alone run’’, he says. ‘’And I’m more or less done with movies now.’
‘’I’ve done 150 movies. I think that’s enough.’’
And so rather than sitting around in the Covid lockdown he decided to write a thriller, his first attempt at fiction. He says he’s still rewriting and tidying, making it look more professional. ‘’Paragraphs, punctuations, all that,’’ he says with a chuckle.
The title is You Don’t Want To Die and is about two rubbish collectors in the East End of London who find uranium in the rubbish.
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Reflecting on life he says; ‘’My generation is going. My friends are dying off. Roger Moore, Sean Connery - those are two of my closest friends. Then, a couple of days ago Johnny Gold, who owned Tramp. And I have another very close friend who is very ill.
‘’If he survives until next weekend I’ll be very surprised. And I won’t mention his name, but you will read about in the papers.’’
He talks about politics. He says he is either a Right-wing Socialist or a Left wing Tory. Voted for Thatcher and Brexit.
He says of the young; ’’If you’re growing up today you’re in for a tough time.’’
Not in favour of Boris going to Marbella for a week in the middle of petrol crisis (don’t agree with him there) but says any supply chain problems are temporary (agree with him there).
Interestingly he moving from his huge house near Box Hill in Surrey to Wimbledon where daughter Natasha lives as the grandchildren have all grown up and no longer visit as often leaving him and his wife Shakira rattling around the mansion.
He was born Maurice Micklewhite but a decade ago he changed it to Michael Caine.
He did so because all his immediate family members are dead and there was nobody who knew him as a Maurice.
I loved that interview and if you want to read it in full go on to the Guardian website. It’s free. I wonder for how much longer.
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PS: So just to mention again but if you plan to buy either car or home insurance I wonder if you might look at my small price comparison site A Spokesman Said as we earn a little commission from each sale which helps fund the research and editorial costs of running the site. It has the same offer as the big ones like Go Compare. Thank you.