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Sunday Herald Sun - Stellar - - Front Page - Blow­ing The Bloody Doors Off: And Other Lessons In Life Blow­ing The Bloody Doors Off: And Other Lessons In Life (Ha­chette Aus­tralia, $39.99) is in book­stores on Tues­day.

ven at the grand age of 85, Michael Caine has a dif­fi­cult time sit­ting still. When the leg­endary Bri­tish ac­tor talks to Stel­lar, he is en­joy­ing a brief respite at his flat in Lon­don’s Chelsea neigh­bour­hood. At other times, he can be found tot­ter­ing about his coun­try­side manor in Sur­rey or – more likely, given he has more than 125 films on his CV and con­tin­ues to work – on a film set in some far-flung lo­ca­tion.

“The last thing I am is lazy,” Caine says. “I’m al­ways do­ing some­thing.”

Soon af­ter this chat, he says he will head to the Czech Repub­lic to start on a film called Me­dieval, which co-stars Ben Fos­ter and Aus­tralian ac­tor So­phie Lowe. But first, a week’s hol­i­day. “I’ll be go­ing on my friend’s yacht in the Mediter­ranean,” he says mat­ter-of-factly, as if it’s the most com­mon of oc­cur­rences. “Then I’ll be work­ing on Me­dieval, which is about po­lit­i­cal cor­rup­tion and vi­o­lence in [the 1400s]. I have a large char­ac­ter part, as I do now; I no longer start the movie at the be­gin­ning and fin­ish it like the hero. I have two weeks. That’s enough for me at 85. You don’t want to be James Bond for six months!”

Caine may not have played James Bond dur­ing his es­teemed ca­reer, but it hardly mat­ters; a knight­hood, a BAFTA, two Os­cars and three Golden Globes on, his sta­tus as one of the act­ing world’s liv­ing le­gends is se­cure. Only when he was forced to lit­er­ally sit still did Caine have a chance to re­flect on all he’s done, and share some of the wis­dom gleaned from his 65 years in the busi­ness.

“I’m very fit, but I broke my an­kle in March,” he tells Stel­lar. “I had started to write a book be­fore that, but sud­denly I was sat down watch­ing tele­vi­sion all day. I thought, ‘Bloody hell, I’ll be sit­tin’ ’ere for 12 hours a day… I’ll fin­ish my book!’”

of me­moirs. This go-round is more a ram­bling col­lec­tion of anec­dotes from his life on and off the job, and it’s the lit­eral em­bod­i­ment of a per­sonal creed he has long en­dorsed.

“I like to ‘use the dif­fi­culty’,” Caine says. “You know, if there’s some­thing bad or neg­a­tive, look into it. See what you can get out of it. That’s how this book got fin­ished.” That said, Caine of­fers a cheeky foot­note to the ex­pe­ri­ence. “Don’t ever break your an­kle,” he says. “It mends, but the numb­ness and pain goes on for months and months. Break a leg.”

In the book, Caine owns up to some of his big­gest fail­ures. They in­clude drink­ing and smok­ing too much in his youth; los­ing his “ter­ri­ble tem­per” on set for the first and last time; agree­ing to star in schlock, such as 1971’s Kid­napped (“a dud and the only film I’ve never been paid for”), or 1987’s Jaws: The Re­venge, the shoot of which led to him miss­ing the chance to pick up his first Os­car in per­son but also earned him enough money to buy a house.

“I al­ways felt like ev­ery film was my last and I’d be broke,” ex­plains Caine, whose im­pov­er­ished and Dick­en­sian up­bring­ing dur­ing World War II only am­pli­fied those anx­i­eties – he suf­fered rick­ets and was sent to live with fam­i­lies who fed him one tin of pilchards on toast a day and locked him in cup­boards un­der the stairs. “And you have to re­mem­ber that ac­tors who wait around so long, only want­ing movies with great scripts and very fa­mous direc­tors, end up get­ting to a set, haven’t worked for two years and they usu­ally screw it all up!” Caine also em­braces his big wins, like over­com­ing that tough child­hood and main­tain­ing a 45-year mar­riage to Guyanese model and ac­tor Shakira Baksh. “I’m prej­u­diced, but she is the per­fect woman; I can’t help say­ing that,” Caine says. “We all have a neg­a­tive side, all of us, ex­cept for Roger Moore and Shakira. That’s why I loved Roger and it’s why I love her.”

He still looks with won­der­ment upon his place as both an es­teemed ac­tor and one of swing­ing Lon­don’s most beloved am­bas­sadors – the charm­ing rake in clas­sics such as 1966’s Al­fie, 1969’s The Ital­ian Job and 1971’s Get Carter. “I didn’t know I was cool un­til [pho­tog­ra­pher] David Bai­ley pub­lished a poster of me,” Caine says. “I had on glasses,i was star­ing at the cam­era and I had a cig­a­rette dan­gling straight outta my mouth to­wards the lens. The ti­tle of the pic­ture was ‘ The King of Cool’. So I am pretty cool in the way I dress and ev­ery­thing, but I wasn’t aware that I was cool un­til I was told that I was cool.” Still, one won­ders if even Caine,whose Zelig-like life has put him in the pres­ence of the past cen­tury’s tow­er­ing fig­ures across all man­ner of pro­fes­sions, has grown weak in the pres­ence of some­one he found ut­terly, inar­guably cool. “That hap­pened to me with [No­bel Prize-win­ning physi­cist] Kip Thorne and Stephen Hawk­ing,” he re­veals. “I was walk­ing along a cor­ri­dor and there they were and it was the most in­cred­i­ble, won­drous thing. “Kip was the tech­ni­cal ad­vi­sor on In­ter­stel­lar [2014], which I starred in. While we talked, he says, ‘Wait a minute, Stephen has a mes­sage for you.’ And I said, ‘What is it?’ And this man in a wheel­chair blinks out one thing. He said, ‘I want to meet your wife.’”

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