Michael Caine caused a stir in 2021 when he said that his role in director Lina Roessler’s comedy “Best Sellers” might be the last of his career. Reps for the two-time Oscar winner were swift to clarify that Caine’s announcement was premature and that he was already considering two new films to star in at the time. Flash forward two years later, and it seems Caine is more or less retired now.
“I am bloody 90 now, and I can’t walk properly and all that,” he told The Telegraph in a new profile. “I sort of am retired now.”
If Caine actually is retired, then his final film will be the upcoming “The Great Escaper.” The film, co-starring Glenda Jackson, is based on the true story of Bernard “Bernie” Jordan, a Royal Navy veteran who disappeared from his old age home at 89 to travel to France so he could attend the the 70th anniversary of D-Day.
“I was so happy to do it,” Caine said. “I just loved the character of Bernie. I thought he was incredible, and it’s so beautifully written. With Covid and all that, I hadn’t done a picture for three years, and I thought I was finished. And I suddenly did it – and had such a wonderful time.”
Taking on a role at his age proved arduous for Caine, who explained, “They gave me a very good walking stick, and I was able to do scenes that needed that. I’d just do them once, and then fall over. But just one take, and that’s it. Forget it.”
“We were careful to ensure that Michael wasn’t working too hard,” Caine’s director, Oliver Parker, clarified, “and having to negotiate him moving around at the pace he did. But for him to have returned to acting after not having made a film in a while, and in the way he did, was quite a thing.”
“I’ve rarely seen him playing a character that has such frailty,” Parker added. “He’s always been Michael Caine – carefree, confident and cool. Here he’s playing a man who is struggling to keep control. And for the audience to invest in that he really has to share his vulnerabilities, and I really was thrilled at Michael’s ability to do that.”
Asked about what it’s like to be 90 years old, Caine said, “The worst thing about it is that so much disappears from your life. You can’t run around, you can’t play football, and you gradually realize you’re approaching death.”
“[Death] could be just around the corner at 90,” he said. “But I’m quite happy. I’m sitting here writing, doing my thing. I like it. I have two children, three grandchildren and a wife…Everyone’s going to join me eventually. No one’s going to say. ‘I’m so sorry you’re going to die – I wish you were like me and not going to die.’ Everybody’s going to die. At least I’ve lived to fucking 90; I didn’t die at nine, or 19, or 29. I’m 90, and I’ve had the best possible life I could have thought of. The best possible wife, and the best possible family. They may not be a family that other people would say is the best possible family – but the best possible family for me.”
“The Great Escaper” is opening in U.K. theaters on Oct. 6.