TALKING ABOUT HIS GENERATION
GIVENTHEGENERATIONAL divide during the Brit-infused youthquake of the 1960s, Oscar winner Michael Caine, already in his 30s by then, fancied himself a grandfather figure of sorts to his own peers. Still, he embraced the era’s rebellious spirit and now, at 85, takes a nostalgic look back at his cohort’s coming of age in the new documentary My Generation. Caine recently spoke with Zoomer’s Mike Crisolago.
ZOOMER In the film you note that, as a child, you’d ask your parents what was so good about “the good ol’ days.” So now I’ll ask you, what was so good about the 1960s?
MICHAEL CAINE The freedom to do the things we wanted to do, and how it changed everything for everybody. If you were working class there were things you couldn’t do. And then we got to the ’60s and Khrushchev said, “We have the atomic bomb.” And although no one ever said it, to our minds that idea went, “We’ve got four minutes to live.” We’ve had nothing but trouble, poverty, war, why the hell don’t we have a good time? And we did.
ZOOMER And your generation effected change. Now that that cohort is in their senior years, do you see them effecting change when it comes to aging?
MC Oh my God, yes. They’ve all gone so much further. Look at what communications they have. Everybody has a computer in their hands. I have an iPad and I’m forever looking at stuff I want to know. Even in conversations with my wife, you say “What date was Charles Boyer born?” and you can look it up.
ZOOMER You have a great quote in the film that says “Youth is not a time of life. It’s a state of mind.” What advice can you offer for maintaining that attitude as we age?
MC As an actor, talking physically, you get to a stage where you’re so old you don’t get the girl anymore … But then you go on and you become like me, a character actor, because I wanted to do it. And I think the trick is to find another area of what you do that you can do when you get old. If you’re a mad dancer, when you get old you can take up the waltz and still be the best person in the world at the waltz. My Generation is available now on Video On Demand.