Michael Caine has won two Oscars and a raft of Golden Globes and BAFTAs, but he’s far from jaded when it comes to awards.
“I think any recognition of your work is great, and a Lifetime Achievement Award from ShoWest means you must have done something right,” he laughs. “The only problem is, it implies your life and career are pretty much over, and I have no intention of retiring.”
Indeed, the star, who’s lost count of the number of films he’s made, recently finished two projects: “Is There Anybody There?” and “Harry Brown.”
“When I look back on my career, I think it’s been a miracle for me to come from where I did and to have the life I’ve led,” he says.
Born Maurice Micklewhite, the son of a fish-market porter and a cleaning woman, he was “always besotted” with movies, taking his stage name from “The Caine Mutiny.” Starting out onstage after a stint in the British Army, he got his big break in “Zulu” and parlayed that into a career that has spanned five decades and such favorite films of his as “The Ipcress File” (“my first starring part”), “Alfie” (“which brought me into America, which is so important for a British actor”), “Educating Rita,” “Hannah and her Sisters,” “The Cider House Rules” and “The Quiet American.”
“There are others I wish I hadn’t made,” he allows, “but in anything you do, there’s stuff that doesn’t work.”
Caine, who turns 76 this month, also admits that “acting is more fun for me now, because I’ve got to an age where I don’t get the girl anymore, I get the part, so the pressure’s off. I do exactly what I want, when I want, where I want and with whom I want, because I’m not acting for a living anymore. I’m acting for my own amusement, in the sense that I’m still pushing myself to see how good I can become.”
Knighted in 2000, Caine has been happily married to Shakira Caine for 36 years — “the secret is two bathrooms” — and says he still loves to garden at his English estate.
“I’ll never stop gardening or acting,” he insists. “I’ll just fade away, like an old soldier.”