Oscar-winning British actor Caine (What’s It All About?) mines his long career for entertaining anecdotes and life lessons in this genial memoir, taking readers from his childhood in a London slum to his years as a struggling unknown—one studio canceled his contract because an executive thought he looked gay—to major roles in hits such as Alfie, Sleuth, and Batman Begins. Much of the book is blithe showbiz picaresque, stocked with A-listers including John Wayne and Beyoncé and full of filmmaking pratfalls. (“The bees were shitting on us,” he writes of a scene in The Swarm, which he cheerfully allows may be “the worst movie ever made.”) From these vignettes, Caine distills advice on topics including acting mechanics (“Stand straight and you look younger; round your shoulders for instant aging”) and success strategies (“You are always auditioning”), and delivers generic pep talks (“Any time you learn from a failure, it’s a success”). His pensées gain resonance from deeply felt passages on the grueling rejection and insecurity of an actor’s life, the sting of being typecast as an “ignorant cockney bastard,” and the immersion in craft and preparation that overcome obstacles. Caine’s writing—funny, warm, down-to-earth—will captivate fans and casual readers alike. (Oct.)
"Charming, advice-filled look at his extraordinary career." People
"Caine the raconteur provides exactly what an admiring reader would want from the cockney-born Hollywood vet.... The great stuff is when he recalls his days in swinging 1960s England." New York Times Book Review
"Caine melds candid anecdotes and a master class on acting into an upbeat, unpretentious, and star-studded memoir.... Warm recollections and practical advice from an acclaimed star." Kirkus Reviews
"Caine reflects on an exceptional life on and off stage and shares pertinent advice and poignant observations in a dishy and anecdotal rumination. Caine's pithy but passionate counsel can be applied to nearly any situation. Gracious, generous, and humble,
this consummate professional is a generous advocate for creating a fulfilling and contented life." Booklist
"Funny, warm, down-to-earthwill captivate fans and casual readers alike." Publishers Weekly
"With exceptional wit and flair, Academy Award winner
Caine recounts his fascinating personal and professional journey. Engrossing anecdotes.... Caine speaks of his failures and successes with humility and humor,
perceptively explaining that the lessons he learned apply both to aspiring actors and the general public-how to be fully prepared, make the most of every opportunity, achieve balance, deal with aging, and find the good in any experience. This well-written narrative shines with positive energy and provides a fine overview of the actor's life and the screen and stage.... Caine's is a life well lived and well told. His fans will be rewarded, as will anyone seeking an enjoyable, inspirational read." Library Journal (starred review)
"Thoroughly engaging." Sunday Express (UK)
"A down-to-earth, kindhearted ramble from your nice British great-uncle, who's led a fascinating and glamorous life but never forgot his humble roots. [...] full of irresistibly tossed-off moments involving the likes of Cary Grant, Quincy Jones, Tom Cruise, Jack Nicholson, Bette Davis, and
Stephen Hawking." Seattle Times
"Witty and wildly entertaining.... Caine offers star-studded anecdotes about the realities of being a working actor and life on and off the sets.... This solidly entertaining memoir doesn't have a single dull page." Shelf Awareness
"A chatty and engaging read." Sunday Times, Books of the Year
"A bright, breezy, and entertaining read." Daily Express
"National treasure Michael Caine shares the wisdom, insight and skills life has taught him, all with his fabulous storytelling." Prima
An actor's secrets for success include showing up on time.
Now 85, Caine (The Elephant to Hollywood, 2010, etc.) melds candid anecdotes and a master class on acting into an upbeat, unpretentious, and star-studded memoir. Born to poor, working-class parents, Maurice Joseph Micklewhite was not destined to become an international film icon. "I am living proof," he writes, "that, whatever your start in life, you can make it." Caine attributes his success to hard work, determination, stamina, the influence of his mother's indomitable spirit, and pure luck. When he began his career in the 1960s, he observes, working-class actors like himself, Sean Connery, and Roger Moore were increasingly able to find roles in plays and screenplays by writers such as John Osborne, Alan Sillitoe, and Harold Pinter. Still, he admits that the first decade of his career was difficult. "Success is survival," he remarks, and "comes from doing." His Oscar-nominated performance in Alfie, released in 1966, proved a turning point; in the next four years, he made 12 movies, and by 1972, he had major roles in 20. Among at least 100 directors he worked with, he singles out for special praise the fatherly John Huston, coolly distant Brian de Palma, perfectionist Woody Allen, and the brilliant Chris Nolan, who offered him the delectable part of Batman's butler. Although Caine enjoys the attention and perks of being a star, he cautions actors against acting like divas—e.g., the imperious Laurence Olivier or the pampered Elizabeth Taylor. Treat everyone on the set equally, he advises, and prepare assiduously. "Confidence comes from experience plus preparation," he writes. Know your character so well "you're thinking his or her thoughts." Caine is forthcoming about some low points—e.g., when he tried to self-medicate with alcohol and 80 cigarettes per day until friends, and his beloved wife, intervened. When he stopped being offered major roles in the early 1990s, he thought about retiring from acting but instead decided to reinvent himself as a character actor.
Warm recollections and practical advice from an acclaimed star.