The big picture
- 90-year-old Michael Caine considers himself “retired” after his last role. The great refugeea film he thought he would never make.
- Caine enjoyed the role of Bernie in the film and appreciated being able to take part despite his physical limitations.
- The director praises Caine for portraying a vulnerable character and expresses admiration for his ability to return to acting after a long break.
Michael Cainethe icon of British cinema, has confirmed that he now considers himself retired after filming what he believes will be his final role The great refugee. Caine caused a stir after filming Lina Rössler‘S bestseller in 2021 when he said the film could be his last. Representatives for the esteemed two-time Oscar winner were quick to clarify that Caine’s announcement was premature, revealing that he was already considering involvement in two upcoming film projects at the time. Two years later, it appears Caine has largely embraced retirement.
“I’m fucking 90 now and I can’t walk properly and all that,” he says said The Telegraph in a new profile. “I’m sort of retired now.” If Caine did retire, this would be his last appearance on the big screen The great refugee with co-star Glenda Jackson. This film is inspired by the remarkable true story of Bernard “Bernie” Jordan, a Royal Navy veteran who disappeared from retirement at the age of 89 with the intention of traveling to France to attend the 70th anniversary D-Day anniversary celebration. Caine expressed his joy at being able to take part in the film as he thought his days as a filmmaker were over.
“I was so happy to do it. I just loved the character of Bernie. I thought it was incredible and it was so beautifully written. With Covid and all that, I hadn’t done a film in three years and I thought I was done. And suddenly I did – and had such a wonderful time. They gave me a very good walking stick and I was able to do scenes that needed that. I only did it once and then fell over. But just one take and that’s it. Forget it.”
The director of the film, Oliver Parkerexplained the care with which Caine was treated given his age and difficulties, as well as the long period of time between filming his latest film and returning to work on the project.
“We made sure that Michael didn’t work too hard,” Parker said, “and didn’t have to move him at his own pace. But for him to come back to acting after not doing a film for a while, and in the way he did, was quite a deal. I’ve rarely seen him play a character so fragile. He has always been Michael Caine – carefree, confident and cool. Here he plays a man who has difficulty maintaining control. And in order for the audience to buy into that, he really has to share his vulnerabilities, and I was really excited by Michael’s ability to do that.”
The best possible life
Caine was in a positive and reflective mood as he looked back not only on his career but also his life. While he admitted that he missed being able to do so many of the things that had made him happy in his earlier days, he had found joy in the world through his family, especially his grandchildren.
“The worst part is that so much of your life disappears. You can’t walk around, you can’t play football, and gradually you realize that you are close to death. [Death] 90 could be right around the corner,” he said.
“But I’m quite happy. I sit here and write, do my thing. I like that. I have two children, three grandchildren and a wife… At some point everyone will join me. No one will say, “I’m so sorry you’re going to die – I wish you were like me and didn’t die.” Everyone will die. At least I’ve reached my damn 90th year; I didn’t die at 9, 19 or 29 years old. I’m 90 and have had the best possible life I could imagine.”
The great refugee hits UK cinemas on October 6th.