I’m afraid that I can’t really tell you all that much about ‘Is Anybody There?’. I haven’t seen any of the previous work of the writer or director, haven’t even watched the trailer yet. I know from the synopsis from the Mayfair schedule and from IMDb that it’s an odd-couple genre of a story, revolving around a retired magician who befriends a ten year old boy.
Despite my minimal level of knowledge on the project, I’ll be there to catch it this week when we show it at the Mayfair. Reason being, is that Michael Caine is my favorite actor ever. I’m not quite sure the exact point that he became so. I know that when I was a lil’ kid, I managed to catch a lot of his classic stuff on (I think) PBS and TVO. I remember watching ‘Zulu’ on a tiny TV, and just being enthralled. Viewings of ‘Alfie’, ‘Italian Job’ and ‘Get Carter’ followed.
I won’t bother to continue to list his movies, ’cause the man’s done somewhere in the neighbourhood of 120 of ’em. And in doing so has pretty much covered every genre, playing hero’s and villains, comedy and drama, lil’ indie films and big Hollywood mainstream productions. He’s played Scrooge (with the Muppets!), Jekyll & Hyde, Sherlock Holmes and the latest generation of film fans now know him as Nigel Powers or Alfred Pennyworth. It’s hard for me to point out a favorite…but I really love director Sidney Lumet’s Hitchcockian ‘Deathtrap’, which he starred alongside Christopher Reeve.
Of course, his busy productivity does lead to some strange choices popping up on his filmography (‘Beyond the Poseidon Adventure’…‘Jaws 4: the Revenge’). Without throwing too much fan worship his way though, I think that even those oddity’s on his resume are impressive to me. That old fashioned British commitment to the craft. I’ve read interviews where he’s commented that he’s not going to pass up a gig if he has a couple weeks open in his calendar. He brings his A game to any project, and works with the mindset of a carpenter, not a thespian diva.
Oh, and I don’t put much stock in awards, but the man has been won or been nominated for Oscars in five consecutive decades. Add seven nominations and an award from the BAFTA’s, and nine nominations and three awards from the Golden Globes.
Much like Peter O’Toole, who was hesitant to accept a life-time achievement award ’cause he didn’t think his career was over yet, Michael Caine isn’t slowing down. In his seventies he keeps a more productive schedule then successful actors half his age.
Evidently Michael Caine did this movie for pretty much nothing in the way of payment: “It’s an extraordinary film. It’s the only script I’ve ever read that made me cry. And I don’t cry easily. So I said I’d do it.” So take Mr. Caine’s word for it, and come on out to see ‘Is Anyone There?’.