Wednesday, November 2, 2011

A Talk With Michael Caine About Cars 2 and Finn McMissile

Michael Caine is one of my favorite actors and has been for as long as I can remember. He can play any part in any genre and he always makes any movie better just by being in it. He's recently lent his iconic (and often imitated) voice to the latest Cars movie as the suave British secret agent Finn McMissile. To celebrate the release of Cars 2 on 3D Blu-rau, Blu-ray, and DVD, Mr. Caine was kind enough to share his thoughts on starring in the movie and what he thinks about his character. Enjoy!

How does it feel to have your voice immortalized as Finn McMissile in “Cars 2”? 
It feels absolutely fabulous, although the magnitude of this project never really struck me until I went to the New York Toy Fair last year. They unveiled a life-size replica of Finn McMissile and I was shown about three-quarters of the movie. It was extraordinary.

Do you like the animation of “Cars 2”?
I think the animation is absolutely stunning. You sit there in absolute amazement and you say to yourself, “How the heck do they do that?” I had the same feeling when I saw the first “Cars” movie, but even more so with this one. 

How much has animation changed since the first movie?
I’m amazed by the advancements in technology. It moves so quickly. Animation has come a long, long way since the first movie. Do you know what strikes me the most about Pixar movies, though? They appeal to so many different people. It’s a child’s film if you’re a child and it’s a grown-up film if you’re a grown up.

Did you understand the animation process involved in making “Car 2”?
If you’re a layman like me, you don’t how that stuff works. You just stare at the screen and enjoy it. I think it requires a great deal of patience to create an animated film and I have very little patience. John Lasseter is a fabulous director and he must have tons of patience. He's very good with actors. The actors’ relationship with the director when you do these sorts of movies is far more intimate than it is with a director on other movies. He's the best.

Was it hard to adjust to acting with just your voice? 
No, it wasn’t. I’ve done a lot of radio in my life. I did a number of radio plays for the BBC when I was a young, so I’m used to the style of work where you just use your voice. Projects like this are always great for me because I have a very distinctive voice. I open my mouth and everybody knows it’s me. 

You play a 1960s British sports car called Finn McMissile in “Cars 2.” Why do the spies of the 1960s still remain so popular with film audiences today? 
I think they’re popular because they were real people. Iconic spies like James Bond struck a chord with audiences. He couldn’t possibly be a spy because he drew so much attention to himself, but that was his way of being a spy. The other type of spy and the one I played as Harry Palmer [from “The Ipcress File”], was an ordinary guy. He did his own shopping in the supermarket so there was a reality to it. That’s exactly what some spies did back then. They pretended to be ordinary people. A friend of mine met [former Russian President] Vladimir Putin once. Putin was in the KGB, but he said to my friend, “Tell Mr. Caine we used to watch all his movies and laugh because he was such a clever spy. We were never that clever!” 

Are you a fan of cars in real life? 
To me, cars are just a form of transport. I grew up during the Second World War in London and I didn’t know anybody who had a car until I was 15, 16 or 17-years-old. In London at that time, we had the Tube [the subway] and buses. Public transport was great and it was cheap, so there was no reason to have a car. I didn’t drive a car until I went to Los Angeles. You have to drive a car there. I took my driving lessons in America. 

Was it easy to pass your driving test?
My driving test was very funny. It was supposed to be very official and they said to me, “The inspector who will judge your driving will only speak to you about technical things. You will not speak to him about anything else. There will be nothing personal. Just listen to what he says and answer what he asks, but everything must be kept absolutely professional.” Because of that, I got into the car and I was extremely nervous. The inspector was already sitting there. He turned to me and, “You’re going to have to really be rubbish not to pass this test. I loved you in ‘The Man Who Would Be King.’” I’m a terrible driver, but I passed that test.

Order your copy of Cars 2 today!

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