Michael Caine ‘stunned’ by the Woody Allen accusation, won’t work with him again

74th Venice Film Festival - My Generation - Photocall

Michael Caine is currently promoting a six-part documentary series called My Generation. It’s a journey through the 1960s, especially with pop culture/music/films/drugs whatever. It was a simpler time back then, only not really. Caine is in his 80s (he actually turns 85 today), and he’s still sharp as a tack and surprisingly… well, I won’t say he’s “woke,” but he’s aware. More aware than most 80-somethings, I would wager. He chatted with the Guardian about drugs, cigarettes, feminism and Woody Allen. Note: Caine won his first Oscar for his work in Woody Allen’s Hannah and Her Sisters. Now Caine doesn’t want to even know Woody.

Drugs & alcohol in the ‘60s: “In the 60s, we were drinkers. What ruined the 60s, towards the end of the decade, were drugs. If people were taking cocaine, they’d start talking bollocks and not stop for hours. If they were on other drugs, they’d just sit around, going “Wow, man.” So it was either people talking too fast to understand, or people not saying anything at all. It brought to an end the 60s as we knew it – which was a load of drunks getting up to all sorts and dancing like mad.

How he stopped smoking: “I smoked a lot, but Tony Curtis saved my life. I was at a party, chain-smoking by the fireplace, when a hand came round from behind me, took the cigarettes out of my pocket and threw them in the fire. I turned round and it was Tony Curtis. We’d never met, but he said: “I’ve been watching you, Michael. You’re going to die if you keep doing that, you idiot.” So I quit. I later took up cigars, but gave them up because of Hurricane Higgins, the snooker player. I knew Alex quite well, and one night I was smoking a cigar while watching TV. Alex came on the screen with a voice-box and I could see he was dying. I stubbed the cigar out in the ashtray and never smoked again.

My Generation has a 50/50 gender split of contributors, which he insisted upon: “Absolutely. I’m a feminist to the core. An interviewer once asked my wife, “What first attracted you to Michael?” and she said, “The way he treated his mother.” I respected women tremendously, right from the start. I just didn’t know I was a feminist until they invented it.

Who should be the next James Bond: “Tom Hardy. And make him do a posh accent.

The accusations against Woody Allen: “I am so stunned. I’m a patron of the NSPCC and have very strong views about paedophilia. I can’t come to terms with it, because I loved Woody and had a wonderful time with him. I even introduced him to Mia [Farrow]. I don’t regret working with him, which I did in complete innocence; but I wouldn’t work with him again, no.

[From The Guardian]

NSPCC is National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, which works with children who have been abused or molested. I didn’t know Caine was involved with that kind of organization. I think Caine did a good job of walking that weird line that so many actors feel they have to walk – they want to say that they never saw anything weird about Woody and they didn’t know anything, but that they’re appalled and shocked. As for “I just didn’t know I was a feminist until they invented it…” Hm… I guess that’s okay?

74th Venice Film Festival - My Generation - Photocall

Photos courtesy of WENN.

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31 Responses to “Michael Caine ‘stunned’ by the Woody Allen accusation, won’t work with him again”

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  1. Milla says:

    I love him as an actor. I was so scared when i saw his photo…

    • whatWHAT? says:

      I loved him in Miss Congeniality. I mean, he’s done so many good roles but he was perfect in that one.

  2. Nives says:

    Yes, sure he didn’t know the accusations against Woody Allen when he worked with him. He was an adult (and his friend) when it happened but he’s saying he never knew anything about it because after the #metoo it isn’t longer convenient to do so. Sorry but I find him hypocritical.

    • Jay (the Canadian one) says:

      Your comment is confusing. He worked with Woody Allen before Dylan Farrow was born. What accusations was he supposed to have known about?

    • Tiffany :) says:

      It was impossible for him to know about the allegations because it hadn’t happened yet. The film was released in 1986, Allen was accused in 1992.

    • Loopy says:

      @ Nives Do you actually know their working history or what you are talking about? Or you are just saying something for the sake of it.

  3. BaBaDook says:

    I don’t hate this. Who knew MyCocaine was so eloquent?

  4. Jay (the Canadian one) says:

    I just take “I just didn’t know I was a feminist until they invented it…” to mean he was one but didn’t have a word for it until the word came into popular use.

  5. Mia4s says:

    Sigh…this again? He’s “shocked”…has he been shocked for 25 years? When in the past three decades did he become shocked? Never said anything until now because he’s never been asked about Allen in 25 years (despite winning an Oscar) huh? Riiiggghhht.

    This is all PR performance art at this point and a waste of time. Unless Allen looks to make a comeback, who cares? Journalists need to move on, we are not close to having exposed all abusers in this industry.

    • lunchcoma says:

      I mean, he worked with him in 1986. I don’t think it’s so odd he hasn’t been asked about him since. They weren’t promoting anything together, and it’s not like they were regular collaborators.

    • Krill says:

      He worked with Woody 5 years before Dylan was assaulted. And yes, I can believe that in 25 years no reporter asked him. Even at the time it was treated as a “family matter”. Its only in the past year that theres been a sea change in how sexual abuse is treated by entertainment journalists and who they ask about it.

    • Milla says:

      Oh dear god, the man is almost 90, he worked with Allen 30 yrs ago and he’s not really into Hollywood scene. He worked more in theaters than in movies. He probably learned just few years ago.

      And btw, even those who still work for Woody, what are they suppose to do? Not make money? This is not fault of any actor. This is a case of a person above the law. Of course, being loud as Kate Winslet and trying to defend Allen is diabolical, but still… Allen will always find actors. And that’s the problem. With all of those crazy ass abusers and rapists.

      • Mia4s says:

        Oh and I agree @Milla, I really don’t blame the actors at all (no one is cancelled). I just think the media has latched onto this Allen apology tour when it’s not remotely helpful and if anything, distracting from more pressing issues.

    • Mia4s says:

      I agree that he worked with him in complete innocence. My point is he was so shocked by the allegations, done with Allen, and a patron of that charity, but never said a word until it became fashionable to do it. That’s why I find this whole thing tiresome. He’s probably very genuine, absolutely, but no one no matter when they worked with Allen (30 years or 30 months ago) is risking anything by saying this anymore (although the folks in his unreleased movie need to be careful for awhile, contractually (lawyer disclaimer!)). So I’m kind of like “eh, fine, whatever” as opposed to being impressed.

      Some will have been ignorant of the charges, some misinformed, some believe them false, and some didn’t or don’t really care. Fine. So what? 99% of them will now say the same thing. It’s just pointless now.

      • SM says:

        In addition to what has been said – he worked with Allen before it even happened, they never worked together after that, so it is more than likely he never was asked about it, I can add the simple fact that men in Hollywood have been asked about this issue only in the last couple of months, before that, even when the story about sexual abuse became the main conversation in Hollywood, it was generally woman’s responsibility to answer this kind of questions. So what was he supposed to do? Pop up out of nowhere ten years ago and say he finds Allen despicable?

  6. lunchcoma says:

    Uh, okay, that’s actually a really good interview. I raised my eyebrows a bit at him saying he was stunned at the Allen accusations, which date back to 20 years ago, but Caine hasn’t worked with Allen in over 30 so maybe I’ll just assume Allen isn’t at the top of his mind?

    • Lucky Charm says:

      I took it that he didn’t mean he was just now stunned at the allegations, but that when they came out he was shocked because he had worked with Allen several years before and it didn’t seem like it could be the same man he had known. I’m sure we’ve all known someone at some point that years later they did something we would never have suspected them of doing or being capable of doing, when we knew or worked with them.

  7. LizLemonGotMarried (aka The Hufflepuff Liz Lemon) says:

    Considering his age, I’m totally down with this interview.

    • Jenn says:

      Right? I always wince anytime an entertainment journalist needles an ancient legend into commenting on current events—IT NEVER GOES WELL—but this was… fine. I do feel like Michael Caine is always the last person to know about the topic du jour, but at his age I no longer believe his obliviousness is feigned

  8. lisa says:

    why are people being so hard on him when he hasn’t worked with him after he abused dylan and married sun yi?

    • Loopy says:

      Because i have noticed some people dont even read the full articles but are quick to jump down peoples throats for a sound bite.

  9. Lala says:

    It seems like found out the information years ago…and the fact that he introduced Mia to Woody? MAN WHAT A THING TO CARRY! I’m sure Mia told him… I’ve ALWAYS adored him on and off stage…that hasn’t changed…and it’s so funny what he said about drugs in the 60s…I watched Eric Clapton’s magnificent documentary the other day…and there was so much archival footage of so many folks…just zonked out of their mind…and it really showed the ravages that drugs…well, for Eric, it wasn’t the heroine that got him…it was the DRINKING…did for so many during the swinging 60s!

    • whatWHAT? says:

      is that the Twelve Bars doc? I saw part of that the other day and now I really want to see the whole thing.

      really interesting.

  10. Pandy says:

    Great interview! I have a new appreciation for him.

  11. Slowsnow says:

    He completely won me over which is a rare feat these days.

  12. Rumi says:

    He’s got a wonderful audio book voice.
    What bothers me is that Woody married his daughter, adopted or biological, it was his daughter and people have still worked with him.
    when people say oh his daughter was adopted it makes me so angry, that unless a child is biological you cannot really have daughter or son. And when you are in a position of caregiver and guardian you take advantage of that.
    I boycotted Woody long ago.

  13. Lucy says:

    Great interview! Caine has said some…I don’t know if problematic, but maybe questionable stuff in the past (#OscarsSoWhite), but he sounds very sensible here.

  14. Selena Castle says:

    Ahhhhh Michael… feminism as an attitude has been around forever. But the term itself was first used in the 1890’s to describe the suffragettes (surely you are not THAT old), then was popularised in the 1960’s and 70’s during the second wave of feminism. I hate when men say things like that. It belittles the movement and denigrates the women that have fought and are still fighting. Feminism wasn’t “invented” like a fight was fought over “invented injustice”. No… I like Michael Caine but this statement is out of line. Not offensive, but out of line.

    • Felicia says:

      I think he’s probably being somewhat ironic with the “until they invented it” bit. Mostly because it’s been the question-du-jour being asked to the younger female Hollywood crowd as if it’s something that’s just recently been discovered/invented. And a bunch of the more idiotic responses to that question have been lame attempts to define feminism in a way that suits the PR angles of the people responding.