Iconic British everyman Michael Caine gave a rambling sort of higgledy-piggledy interview to Rolling Stone magazine about his incredibly long-lasting career and the myriad of famous friends he’s made over the decades. My three takeaways, below.
First up, his gay kiss with yummy young Christopher Reeve (one of the silver screen’s first gay lip locks!) in 1982’s Deathtrap:
ROLLING STONE: You were one of the first major actors to play gay roles, in movies like California Suite and Deathtrap. Today no one bats an eye when actors play characters of a different sexuality, but what did you hear at the time?
MICHAEL CAINE: It was a bit dicey to do — people said it could be a career killer and what are the girls going to think of you? A couple of people said, “Do you really want to do it, Michael? People will think you’re gay.” I said, “No, they won’t. They know I’m an actor.” I loved doing that. Many of my friends were gay, so I’d studied them and their movements and speech, so I basically knew what I was doing. And the parts were so very good. I’d never kissed a man on the lips before. Chris Reeve and I had to do a romantic scene [in Deathtrap]. Neither of us had ever kissed another man before, so we drank a couple of brandies. Then when it came time for the dialogue, we couldn’t remember it. So the kiss was a bit of a disaster.
On why famous people shouldn’t own Rolls Royce’s
What was the most self-indulgent purchase you’ve made?
In the Sixties, after I’d just made Alfie, The Ipcress File and Zulu, I had enough money to buy a Rolls-Royce, so I went out and bought one. I couldn’t drive, so I had to rent a chauffeur. Very expensive, and I never did anything that stupid again. I only kept it for a couple years, then sold it. Once you become famous you don’t want a Rolls-Royce because everybody looks to see who’s inside it. I’ve now got gray cars that everyone drives. No one ever looks in my car.
And the important lesson he learned from John Wayne about wearing suede shoes:
What’s the best advice you ever received?
John Wayne said, “Never wear suede shoes,” pointing at my shoes. I said, “Why not?” He said, “’Cause you’re gonna be famous, and you’re gonna be in the toilet taking a piss and the guy next door to you is going to turn and recognize you and piss all over your shoes, kid.” I gave all my suede shoes away to people who were unknown.
Below the gay kiss that had audiences booing and walking out of Deathtrap.