Book excerpt: Michael Caine's 'Blowing the Bloody Doors Off: And Other Lessons in Life'
And in life, and you might have guessed it. The new book is called blowing the bloody doors off, Michael. Join Tom power from studio in London today. Right into it. Sir. Michael caine? Welcome to Q. Thank you very much. I'm so blowing the doors off is a book full of advice. And some of it is from you directly. Some of it is advice you've received over the years. Can you tell me about the advice? You got from John Wayne when you ran into him at the Beverly Hills hotel. Yeah. Yeah. He I just by Alfie, and I was in in in in Hollywood with nothing to do. I was going to a movie we Shirley, MacLaine it. She was late coming there. And I didn't know anybody so used to sit in the lobby looking for movie saws spotted John Wayne, and he was registered in a hotel Luca be said to be what's your name? K I said Michael Caine he said in that movie Alfie, and he said you got to be a star kid. So should thank you. Thanks very much. They said let me give you some advice. I should. Okay. Yeah. Fine months. He said, we talk talk low talk slow and does say too much. And he looked down at my shoes knows worry suede shoes. And he said a never wear suede shoes. He said never wear suede shoes. I said why not? He said because I just told you you're going to be famous you're going to be a stock it. He said you're going to be taken a p in the jets toilet demand. Next year is going to recognize your turn it. So Michael Cain is gonna pay all over your shoes. So don't wait. What a thing. It must be to have John Wayne tell you you're going to be a star. Hey was stunned in Hollywood. When I went there because I'd been a film fan on my life. But to actually go there and made them, you know, it was amazing. John Wayne is very kind to you. He gives you advice, even near death. Right. Oh, yeah. Yeah. I mean, my wife had pen to scientists and she was in hospital visitor. John Wayne was dying in the next room. And we used to walk up and down the corridor. You were pajamas and addressing gown in a cowboy hat in a hospital. He was dying. You know, and he said never worry about dying cages get on with your life. Just do what you wanna do because we're all gonna die. You know that I said, yes. Yes. John. And we say good bye. And I never saw him again. That's beautiful. That's an amazing story. There's a piece of acting advice that I really loved that you come to a few times in the book. So you're playing a drunk on stage the very beginning of your career. Oh, yeah. I would imagine playing a drunken stage like you would hiccuping and stumbling around, but you get a piece of advice and a piece of direction that you really think shaped your work forever. Right. Oh, I did it. I was in first little theatre version is a stage actor I was playing a drunk. We were rehearsing and came on and started in and said, wait a minute. My what are you doing? I said we'll drunkenness and he said, no, he said, you know, proper drunk a drunk is a man who is trying to speak, clearly and walk straight. You are an actor who's trying to mumble a book crooked and the other one he said to me a little later I seen in a play where I had to cry. And so I was crying. And then again, he stopped me said, what are you doing? I said we're not crying in. He said you're supposed to be a man crying. When a man cries. He will do anything not to cry. You are an actor who's doing anything to try cry. You said you got to run you go to run. And so he told me movie acting in two sentences. It feels like it's it's a much harder. What is required then what you originally doing? And it's almost like you have to act mostly inside of you. Oh, yeah. You you do I mean one of the things you gotta remember when you're rehearsing some some when I was in the theater is to look in the mirror Beethoven rehearsed. You know, an experienced tech said to me said never look at the mirror said never let anyone read the lines your lines back at you to rehearse. He said because you've got to remember when you hear the lines is conversation in a movie, that's the first time you ever heard that man say that. But you just got to know the answer to what he say. That's that's so fascinating. You talk about how you use real incidents from your life as an actor. For example, you use it dark memory from your childhood during World War Two when you want to conjure up h I should be clear. You you grew up in London. During World War Two. Tell me a little bit more about that. Oh, yeah. I was I'm a Londoner six when the war started and twelve when it ended, but I was evacuated a lot of the time. So. I was very lucky because the blitz wasn't continuous. There was always gaps because he they used to change the weapons, you know, to be it'd be incendiary for a while. A. Hi, explosives doodle bugs. And then the last one which will be the most worst one with the rockets. Well, it's an interesting point because you talk about using your experience as a soldier in Korea. When you want to feel fear as an actor. But is that a strange feeling being aware that you need to keep in touch with some of the most traumatic moments in your life in order to do your craft. Oh, yeah. I have an incident. I've never told anybody, including my wife, you've been married forty seven years what I do to make me cry. I think of something in my life, and I burst into tears it. It was so. And it wasn't even horrible or terrible. It was just very very sensitive. That's all I thought you were about to tell me just then now never told us. So. If I wanna be able to do it. But you know, what I mean, it's it's it's a funny thing in order to access this part of your craft. You actually do have to relive most most people would like to bury those away forever. Wait, I'm Stanislavsky method actor you you have to live on what happened in your life. What do you think growing up during the war did for you as an actor? It taught me every experience did you can feel right through a great joy and terrible agony an extreme fear. You know, it was it was terrible agony when the war. Started extreme fear all the way through an incredible joy when it finished. And so everything was in the extreme. I remember someone has a reporter said what what was it about? Oh, you guys in the sixties. But it was is people like me. I was the oldest of the sixties was born in the depression in the thirties. Six to twelve hours in a war. When I was eighteen I sent me defy in Korea. You know, when I got home the fifties in London rationing was still on the place was like a morgue vizo roads. And we were burning coal for heating. So smug every day every single day. There was smoke and disgusting place to be and then when we got to the sixties Khrushchev said, we have an atom bomb. You've got four minutes to live. So I suppose we also got formulas to live. We might as well have a good times. I always say that's how the sixties happened. We all had a fabulous time. Let's funny Roger Daltry from the who. And he said the same thing. He said he grew up with rations. He grew up. He said it made him grow up very short. So when time came that he could live life. He wanted to do as much as he could. But we've all exactly the same and the sixties wasn't mastered by anybody nobody thought of it while it was going on. Nobody wrote about. About it was only written about it was just thousands and thousands of working class. People said I've had enough we went we went out. And did what we wanted to do. The thing about the sixties. Everybody I met who is completely unknown became famous. I remember I was sharing. A fact we my friend Terence stamp, and he had a brother, and I was sitting with him. And I said, what do you want to do with your life? He said I'm going to be a music manager. I said, oh, really, you know, tell hoopla is going to be, you know, twenty year old company boy, ill educated and everything. Would never wait. You went to grammar school. Yeah. Yeah. So I said, oh, yeah. Well, good luck. Forgot about it. He said. My mate, we're going to be we've found an act last night. I said, oh, really what was it cold? He said to who. And I found in a pub I finished because he died recently, Chris Christine. But he died very successful and wealthy, man. Do you feel like the whole class thing, isn't as isn't as heavy as it was. When you first started. Oh my God. No, no, no, no. It's still there. But it has no power. I mean, nobody takes any notice of any judge because there are so or something even you know, take. Anyway, I didn't know whether to call you, sir. Now, everybody goes re Michael doug- used the title. So the book is called blowing the doors off Michael Caines Serb, sir. Michael Caine with. No alright. This book is about the lessons you learned throughout your career. So we've talked a little bit about the sixties, and and you coming up and breaking through and becoming this huge success. What I also find interesting is the later stages so in the nineties, you were looking at retiring from films altogether and your credit Jack Nicholson for bringing back from retirement, right? Yeah. Yeah. That's right. I when when is about sixty sixty one or something like that, I got a script producer send it back. So I don't want to do it. The part was too small, and he send it back saying I did want you to read the lover of what did you read the father? And so I suddenly realized up of a lover anymore. If you're going to be a movie star, you gotta get the girl. You know? Now, I'm going to be the father to go to hell with it. So every tired, and I went to Miami department and spend the Miami in the winter in Miami are stayed in London as well. But I had had a restaurant in London restaurant in in in Miami. And that was a success. And I wrote my autobiography at the end of my career, which was called the elephant to Hollywood because I come from a place in London, cool the elephant and castle. So I thought that was a good elephant to Hollywood. And so they're right in my book, and Jack meatless Lewisham is living the way man paint, we became friends and. Suddenly one day kind of got a script. He says it good good partner for you. You say. I live with blood and wine, and it was a very it wasn't a starring pie. Obviously Jack was the star. So I thought well, I'll do this is very good. I'm what I'd done is. I'd I'd made a mistake every tiring too soon. You know, because I went on to begin the second Academy Award for decide to house rules.