Michael Caine stars in the new 3D family movie “Journey 2: The Mysterious Island,” inspired by the Jules Verne adventure saga. I spoke to him about what inspired him to take on the role and how it felt to ride on a giant bee. Don’t forget to enter for a copy of the movie’s activity book!
I really enjoyed the movie!
I saw the movie, and I thought, well, it’s a movie for kids, but I thoroughly enjoyed it! It goes down well with the kids and it gets some laughs — me and Duane [“The Rock'”]. The reason I did the film at all — apart from that it’s a fun script and all that sort of thing — is I have three new grandchildren. And I never make any movies that children can see! For their mother, I did “The Muppets Christmas Carol,” when she was a little girl, so this one I did for them. She was about six or seven and a lot of the movies I’ve made are violent and with gangsters, so I wanted to do something she could see. It comes around here in England every year, even now. And I had never made a film in 3D, so that was the other reason. I thought, I’ve got to do this — I’m nearly retiring, I’m 79 years old, and that was another great reason to do it. I thoroughly enjoyed it, too. It was great fun. Where else do I get a chance to ride a giant bee?
Was that in a studio, in front of a green screen?
Yes, but we were really suspended!
Is it different for you as an actor to work in 3D?
No, not at all, it’s all special effects. You don’t suddenly shoot your arm out and knock off people’s hats. I thought their use of 3D in this was very clever.
I loved your uniform in the film, really the essence of an explorer.
It was easy! It didn’t have to fit anywhere, it didn’t have to be clean and pressed, or rather it was pressed the wrong way, very badly!
What was it like to work with Duane “The Rock” Johnson?
He’s the nicest guy. I suppose if you’re that big you can afford to be nice because no one’s ever going to be nasty to you! But he’s the gentlest soul. And he gave me the biggest surprise when he did his song. When they said, “He’s going to sing the song now,” I thought, “Blimey, what’s he going to do with this? I’ll bet he can’t sing.” But he could sing! He did a lovely little job with it, I thought. It’s an amazing scene because that’s when the friendship starts.
Your character is very hostile to his character, right from the beginning. Tell me how you established that relationship on screen.
There’s a sort of familial jealousy because he’s the new kind on the block. But it was very easy because he’s a good actor. I know he was an athlete and all that, but he’s done enough acting now to know what he’s doing and we had some good fun with the rows and everything. They were also gentle rows. It never looked like he was going to hit me or anything. Thank God! I thought the relationships were great in the film.
The production design is also outstanding.
When I first saw my place, made out of the hull of the ship, I thought it was wonderful! I’ve never done a film like that before. The closest I’ve come is “Batman.” But that’s more grown-up, that’s not for little children.
It reminded me a little bit of one of my favorite of your films, “The Man Who Would Be King” because of the sense of adventure.
I know what you mean! Setting out to find your destination. It was a journey — I wonder if there will be a “Journey 3?”
Are you going to do a sequel?
I’ll be 81 or 82 by then. They’re going to the moon. Not sure if I’ll want to spend three months in Iceland or something!
Where was this one filmed?
This was filmed in Hawaii in the English winter and we all got home for Christmas — another reason for doing it. Hawaii has the strangest jungle. It’s like an African jungle but because it is 2500 miles from the nearest land there’s nothing in it. No insects, mosquitos, animals, reptiles, birds, nothing. It’s quite weird because you go through this great big jungle and there isn’t a sound or a movement or anything. Very spooky but at least you don’t get bitten or attacked. There’s a couple of rats and snakes brought in by outsiders.
What was the toughest part of filming?
The most difficult part was the days in the deep jungle, walking uphill. I am tough so it’s okay.
I liked the way it was an adventure film with something to say about the relationships and especially what it means to be a father.
I was amazed at how a movie of this type, an adventure story for kids, the scriptwriters really went into the relationships.
What made you want to be in the movies?
I am the world’s biggest movie fan. I used to watch a movie every day after school and I’ve seen every movie good, bad, and indifferent that was ever made. I really am a movie buff. I went to the movies when I was four, to the children’s show on a Saturday and fell in love with the whole thing. The first person I ever saw on the screen was The Lone Ranger. I thought, “I want to be The Lone Ranger.” They were mostly American movies, because they made the movies for children. I remember “Bambi” very well and “Snow White.” The first time I ever cried in a movie was “Bambi.”
If you do make the next chapter and go to the moon, what do you want to see happen?
I’d like to see us get back!