The Great Escaper 'revived Michael Caine in some ways', says director
The veteran actor takes on the lead role in what could be his final film appearance.
The director of The Great Escaper has revealed how the experience of working on the film "revived" Michael Caine "in some ways".
The British acting legend – who recently revealed that he was now "sort of" retired from acting – takes on the lead role of Bernard Jordan, a real-life World War II veteran who secretly left his care home to attend the 70th-anniversary commemoration of the D-Day Landings.
And speaking exclusively to RadioTimes.com, director Ol Parker said that no other actor would have been as good a fit for the role.
“He didn't really [need convincing]," he said. "I mean I think he might have needed convincing to keep at acting, but the role was irresistible. So, it's almost impossible to imagine a better bit of casting for that character and a better opportunity for a guy who's nearly 90."
He added that Caine had been "very elegantly reducing the scale of his performances" in recent years – foregoing leading roles to play "some lovely cameos" – but that this particular character was too good for him to turn down.
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"Early on when we were talking, he said: 'What I want is I want to make them laugh and I want to make him cry. And I think this script could do that. Can we do that?' And it was this absolute simplicity that you could see he found it very hard to resist."
He added that there was a potential "problem" regarding Caine's physical condition but that he had actually improved his fitness levels since he played the part.
"He's got fitter since," he said. "I would say actually making the film kind of revived him in some ways. A lot of older actors through COVID times weren't sure if they'd get back on the stage or on the set. And so, I think that there was an amazing resurgence of energy."
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