At an age when most guys are enjoying retirement, Michael Caine is working harder than ever. The 77-year-old has four films lined up and is writing a second set of memoirs, The Elephant to Hollywood, a sequel to his 1991 tome What's It All About.
The website IMDB.com lists 148 film and TV acting credits for the dual Oscar winner (best supporting actor for The Cider House Rules and Hannah and Her Sisters), so at this rate he's on course to zoom past 150.
The veteran actor born as Maurice Micklewhite (he took his last name from the Bogart classic The Caine Mutiny), who was knighted in 2000, insists he has no plans to retire. “In the end it will be the movie business that retires me because you don't retire from the movie business,” he told the Daily Express in May. “It's like Sean Connery: the movie business retired him because he didn't want to play small parts about old men and they weren't offering him any young parts in romantic leads. So he was gone.”
After starring as a vigilante pensioner in Harry Brown, he will next be seen in Christopher Nolan's Inception, an ambitious sci-fi actioner which delves into the world of dreams, featuring Leonardo DiCaprio as a thief who steals valuable secrets from deep within the subconscious. Caine plays a kind of teacher who recruits people to join DiCaprio's team.
Following that, he's among the voice cast of the animated film Gnomeo and Juliet, a version of Shakespeare's play set in a world of warring gnomes, with James McAvoy, Emily Blunt, Jason Statham and Maggie Smith.
He'll don his butler uniform again as Alfred in the untitled Batman project to be directed by Nolan, the follow-up to The Dark Knight, which is due to start filming in early 2011.
In Brilliant, a thriller about a jewel thief who joins forces with a conman to attempt the biggest heist in history, being developed by Relativity Media, he'll co-star alongside Matthew McConaughey and Scarlett Johansson.
His upcoming autobiography will chronicle his rise from humble beginnings in a poor section of London (Elephant and Castle, hence the book's title) to Hollywood star in movies as diverse as Jaws: The Revenge, The Muppet Christmas Carol, Sleuth, Miss Congeniality and Children of Men. It's due to be published in November.
Caine seems philosophical about how many offers he can expect in the twilight of his career. “Someone may give me a script possibly and I will work again. If someone doesn't give me a script I want to do, I'm retired, but there won't be some great announcement or fanfare or trumpets,” he told Collider.com last year. “I just won't do anything. I'll stay at home and do what I do there which is cooking, gardening and writing and travelling.”