I have always liked Michael Cain and have never come across anyone who doesn't appreciate him as an actor, although I have heard that he is a bugger to work with, not necessarily on set but more in terms of business.
So when my friend offered me a ticket to attend the MICHAEL CAIN IN CONVERSATION event at the British Film Institute tonight, I immediately headed down to the South Bank.
Don't you just love the South Bank by the way... last week, as I crossed Waterloo Bridge after attending the London Fashion Weekend event at Somerset House, I managed to catch a glimpse of a midnight tango show that was taking place on the terrace overlooking the river , in which the tango dancers were dancing in between mini fire torches - it was pure sex.
Anyway, back to Caine - Michael is very entertaining and engaging and nearly everything he said was met with raucous laughter from the packed auditorium. Sometimes the audience was just too keen to laugh, if you know what I mean.
His lovable, no-nonsense cockney accent (although he comes from South London) sounds exactly the same as it does on film, and he looks exactly the same too -- although he is surprisingly tall. Journalist and presenter Francine Stock did the honours in terms of navigating the hour-long conversation. Apparently, Francine is one of the most sought after film star interviewers because of her knack for asking intelligent questions about their work.
- Michael has worked with Elizabeth Taylor and said that she was very nice, although she would hate you forever if you called her Liz.Her nickname for him is Mickey.
- He once had Hitchcock knock on his trailer door to ask him if he wanted to play the psycho in Frenzy, but declined the role because he didn't want to play a woman killer (he has a wife and two daughters).
- He noted that Hitchcock eats steak everyday for lunch and never spoke to him again after he declined the part
- Chis Nolan (director of Batman Begins) is super secretive about his scripts and has code names for his movie projects, on of which was Oliver's Girlfriend.
- Caine will be playing the butler again in Batman and will start shooting in May 2011.
After the talk was finished, my friend and I bought his new biography The Elephant To Hollywood, and queued up to get it signed, which gave me the opportunity to observe the book publicist at work. As a publicist myself, I always like watching others at work.
When it came to him signing the introduction of the book, he was quite unceremonious about the whole thing, and only managed to raise his eyes briefly to meet mine to say hi, although it was nice hi. I got him to dedicate it to my dad.
In between the book signing and the screening, my friend managed to spot Caine getting ambushed by eager fans whilst he entered the gents. Ah, the life of a movie star.
After the whole book signing thing wrapped up, we took our seats to watch a screening of 1975 classic The Man Who Would Be King - starring Caine and Sean Connery as two lovable rogues in John Huston’s late career masterpiece.Again, Caine took to the mic to introduce the film.
Kipling's story was a favourite of Huston's from childhood, and he dreamed of adapting it for most of his career, originally imagining Clark Gable and Humphrey Bogart as the two ex-soldiers on a quest for glory and riches somewhere beyond civilisation. Finally made in 1975 with Caine and Connery perfectly cast as the ambitious rogue imperialists, the long-nurtured project proved worth the wait, the grandly entertaining tale becoming a late career masterpiece.
The film features some of the best exotic market scenes I have ever seen - really delightfully captured, as well as some really authentic looking tribal scenes. The Freemason references are really interesting and subtle. The plot goes something like this:
Danny Dravot (Sean Connery) and Peachy Carnehan (Michael Caine) travel to a very remote region in Afghanistan and slowly build an army from successively defeated natives. After Danny miraculously survives an arrow to the chest, the people decide that he is a God and treat him accordingly. Both of the British men are keen to get back home but not without the vast horde of gold and treasure that the locals have. Unfortunately for Danny, his mortality is revealed, and the natives turn on them