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Michael Caine • Jude Law
DIRECTOR: Kenneth Branagh

Michael Caine and Jude Law THE CONCEPT:
Remake of the 1972 thriller movie starring Laurence Olivier and Michael Caine. In this version Caine takes on Olivier’s role of Andrew Wyke, a successful novelist who invites his wife’s lover, young actor Milo Tindle (Law), to his estate where a game of wits spirals out of control…

U.S. RELEASE: October 12 2007, Limited • Rated: R


Director Kenneth Branagh, Jude Law, Michael Caine and screenwriter Harold Pinter
“We had a read through really early on, and when we started to hear the screenplay, you couldn’t hear a close-up for about 10, 12 minutes, but you [visualized] wide shots where the beginnings of this relationship was established, and where with two great actors you have them full-length, they can act with their bodies and they can interact with this third character we create, which is the house.”

MICHAEL CAINE on whether he thought Jude Law was trying to be him:
“No, he’s trying to be Jude Law. But I do know what he’s doing in a way. Jude Law is a very handsome young man, and he like a lot of handsome young people is saying, ‘I’m not just here on my looks, and I will show you.’ And I think he has shown us. As I young actor I did that a bit, I wasn’t as good looking, but I was always trying to be an actor rather than a nice looking young film star who gets the girl. And now I’ve succeeded, I’m a really ugly old actor!”

BRANAGH on why he decided to sign on to the project:
“I love the simplicity of it. Listen, Harold Pinter’s screenplay, two great actors, and a chance to see if you could have any impact in making it better; that was a great joy. I learned so much as an actor by watching Michael and Jude, and I felt as a director that the burden was off me, I felt that four heavyweights were doing this.”

“From my point-of-view this is all about humanity. Someone said to me the other day, ‘It’s very theatrical, it’s only two people in a room.’ I said, ‘Most of the world is two people in a room. How many people do you want in a room to be real? If you get a crowd of 60,000, there aren’t 60,000 people, there are 600 and they double it up with CGI.’ That’s more theatrical than two people in a room talking to each other, which is absolute reality. And the concentration is extraordinary, because there’s nowhere to go, there’s nothing to distract you, and you’re listening and watching every single thing that they’re doing, especially in this as we are both suspicious characters having done wrong, or about to do wrong, we’re not two clergymen standing there.”

“Two guys in a room arguing about a woman who isn’t there is not a bad premise for a piece of drama. When the story is there, when the characters are recognizable, when the situation is familiar to people, sexual jealousy, would we take it to the irrational, crazy, desperate extremes that these men do? I don’t know, but there’s a vicarious thrill at the prospect that we might.”

Written by Judy Sloane. Back to top

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Film Review, #689, November 2007 cover

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