A Minute With: Michael Caine on being "Harry Brown"

Thu Apr 29, 2010 10:23am EDT
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By Iain Blair

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - At age 77, when most of his peers have either long since retired or seen their careers simply fade away, Michael Caine is busier than ever.

In his latest film, "Harry Brown," in theaters this Friday, the actor portrays a mild-mannered senior citizen who turns into a gun-toting vigilante after a gang murders his friend in the drug-infested London housing project where they live.

The two-time Oscar winner, for "Hannah and her Sisters" and "The Cider House Rules," talked to Reuters about making the film, why he'll never retire and the secret to a long, happy marriage.

Q: There's nothing nice and safe about this film. Was that the appeal for you?

A: "Absolutely. I want to keep challenging myself as an actor, and this immediately grabbed my attention. Harry Brown is a victim for most of the film, unable to help himself, but then he takes action. And there's a fair amount of me in the character. I come from the exact same place, the same block of flats. Charlie Chaplin came from there too, and I once saw him walking around, checking out all the rebuilding, so I had a chat with him. He didn't have a clue who I was. I was just an annoying fan (laughs). No one else recognized him."

Q: And like Harry Brown, you're also an ex-soldier.

A: "Right, but that and the similar background is where the resemblance ends. I was in a gang, but we never hurt anyone. The drug was alcohol and the weapons were fists. The problem now is all the drugs and guns and violence that go with it."

Q: Was it easy getting in touch with your inner Charles Bronson? (The tough-guy actor in movies like "Death Wish")   Continued...

<p>British actor Michael Caine poses for photographers as he arrives for the European premiere of the movie "Harry Brown" in London, November 10, 2009. REUTERS/Kevin Coombs</p>