Home > Vulture News > Michael Caine Reveals He Turned Down Hitchcock, Nixes The Idea Of Retiring From Acting

Michael Caine Reveals He Turned Down Hitchcock, Nixes The Idea Of Retiring From Acting


Some actors strive for excellence in all of their work, turning down parts that don’t meet their high standards. Others have a philosophy more like that of Glee star Jane Lynch, who told the New York Times:

I basically do everything I’m offered lately.

Michael Caine has shared a similar philosophy for most of his career, appearing in nearly 150 films since since he started in the 1950s. In 1986 he even missed the chance to attend the Academy Awards where he won for Best Actor for Woody Allen’s Hannah and her Sisters because he was in the middle of filming the shlocky horror sequel Jaws: The Revenge. Despite his track record, Caine recently revealed that he actually declined the chance to star in a movie directed by film legend Alfred Hitchcock. In interview with Ain’t It Cool News to promote his new movie Is Anybody There? he said:

I knew Hitchcock very well, yeah and he wanted me to do a picture. Barry Foster played the part. It was made in London and it was a sadistic killer, who killed a lot of woman and I wouldn’t play a part like that.  Yeah and he never spoke with me again when I turned it down.

The role Caine was offered was for Hitchock’s 1972 film Frenzy, about a serial killer on the loose in the London, who murders his victims with men’s neckties. It was Hitchcock’s attempt to stay relevant in the 1970s and for the first time the director included scenes with nudity and graphic violence. Caine says he just wasn’t comfortable with the material:

Yeah, well not too many people turn down Hitchcock, but I felt very strongly about the scenes where he slices up women and at that time there was a lot of it… We just had a killer called Heath in England who sliced up about twenty women very savagely and I got affected by that terribly and I just didn’t want to do it. Barry Foster, who played my brother in a couple of pictures, he played it.

Caine never got his chance to work with the celebrated auteur, who directed his last film Family Plot in 1976 a few years before his death in 1980. The 77 year old actor, who is currently promoting a new film and has several more in production, said he has no plans to retire:

I’ve been asked many times if I am going to retire and I always give them the same answer, ‘Movies retire you.’ So long as I like doing it… I like acting in movies. I like the whole thing… the camaraderie. I’m part gypsy, my father was part gypsy and I love the circus idea of it, traveling around and I have my own little (group) of people in England, hair, wardrobe, and makeup, chauffer, motor home guy… and we have all known each other for years. My wardrobe guy was on ZULU, so we know each other quite well.

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