Michael Caine is retiring from acting, citing the difficult-to-argue-against fact that he is, in fact, an 88-year-old man, and has probably acted in enough things, damn it. This is per a recent interview that Sir Michael gave to the BBC, in which he discusses his new film Best Seller—also, probably not coincidentally, about an older man who would like to be left alone and not constantly asked to go out into the world and do things.
In the film, Caine’s character, a retired author, is lured out onto a book tour by the plucky charms of Aubrey Plaza. But, as Caine notes, the character’s attitude comes from a very real place, noting that he now suffers from a spine issue that makes walking difficult.
Plus, it’s not like Hollywood is banging on his doors of late, for all that Christopher Nolan might have a plum role waiting for him in Oppenheimer. “There’s not exactly scripts pouring out with a leading man at 88,” he notes, pointing out that, between his own age, and the ongoing pandemic, he’s worked infrequently (by Michael Caine standards, leastways) in recent years. (He previously appeared in an Oliver Twist adaptation, Twist, opposite Lena Headey earlier this year, and appeared in a small part in Nolan’s 2020 film Tenet.)
Not that Caine’s actually retiring, mind you—he’s just not acting anymore. Noting that he’s now written a few books of moderate success, including three memoirs, in 1992, 2010, and 2018, Caine apparently feels like he’s established himself as enough of an author that, between that, and his 150+ film and TV credits, he might be able to get by. Plus, he notes, being a writer is “lovely” because “you can start writing without leaving the bed,” instead of having to get yourself to a movie studio at 6:30 in the morning.
Alas, Caine didn’t comment on whether he’d still have more energy to act if he hadn’t spent 8 years of his life devoting every moment to not blinking.
Update, 11:26 a.m., 10/16/21: Variety is now reporting that representatives for Caine have said that he is not, in fact, retiring. It’s not clear yet how that lines up with him responding “I think it would be, yeah” to the fairly clear question, “So, you’re saying this is your last picture?”