Michael Caine on Honesty

Let me concur with Brendan, and say that I really appreciate this bit of frankness:


Given how many great films you've made, does it disappoint you when people want to talk about the ones that didn't do so well? 
No, what annoys me is when, as happened today, you're doing a day's worth of interviews and the very first question you're asked if, "Why did you make Jaws: The Revenge?" When things like that happen, the interview becomes very short indeed. 

Just out of interest, how did you reply? 
I just said what I've always said - I made it because they paid me a lot of money! It's like when people ask me why I made The Swarm - I made The Swarm because my mother needed a house to live in. Then I made Jaws 4 because she was lonely and I needed to buy her a bigger house which she could live in with all of her friends. It's that simple.

I think people have a right to criticize bad art. But it's often easy to forget that this is someone's job. Actors are the indispensable public face of movies, but they are not singing checks. I think we can forgive Michael Caine. Indeed, any artist should aspire to have the opportunity to be forgiven for their missteps--even their intended missteps.
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Ta-Nehisi Coates is a national correspondent at The Atlantic, where he writes about culture, politics, and social issues. He is the author of the memoir The Beautiful Struggle.

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