THE QUIET AMERICAN
Movie Interview by Dr Kuma
Michael Caine who plays the journalist Thomas Fowler answers questions on the movie with director Philip Noyce at the London Press Conference.
Did you meet Graham Greene?
MICHAEL CAINE: Yes, I did. Although he hated everything he'd seen of his film-wise, he was a very interesting man. Strangely I was a soldier in Korea and meeting Graham Greene was a revelation, in the fact that he's recommended that a young Caine didn't go there - although he obviously felt passionately about the place himself. As regards the character of Thomas Fowler, that kind of man still exists today - in fact you could cast George W Bush as Fowler right now.
I believe you had a hand in getting the film released?
MICHAEL CAINE: The movie sat on a shelf for ages and was going to be lost forever, I felt very strongly about the film and phoned up Harvey Weinstein personally and asked him to release the picture. I thought it might have Oscar potential so I said: "Hey, I'm nearly 70 - I won't get too many chances again!"
PHILIP NOYCE: It was a struggle to get funding for this film as the script was around for some time.
How did the positive reaction and reviews come about?
MICHAEL CAINE: We took the movie to Toronto [Canada]. If it had had bad press it would've been buried before January and the Oscar nominations, if successful... it could make the list.
It comes across as an anti-American movie...
MICHAEL CAINE: I didn't want to make an anti-American movie - I love America and live there - but I did want to show how America became involved, leading up to the Vietnam War.
What gets you up in the morning?
MICHAEL CAINE: The script, the script, the script!
You have gained great reviews for this and I think we all agree it's a great part for you to play at your age...
MICHAEL CAINE: I think God has remembered my name. I even get the young girl - that hasn't happened in years!
Your voiceover reminds us of the novel's source...
MICHAEL CAINE: I wanted the voiceover to add to the mood of the piece. Anthony Minghella wrote the words for the voiceover to get the 'feel' of Graham Greene. I based the character of Fowler on Graham Greene himself when I knew him through my days with Bryan Forbes. He used very small movements, which I've used in the film.
Did your time in the army help you in this role?
MICHAEL CAINE: Yes. I hated the army and being told what to do by people more stupid than me. I didn't like the army, but I'm proud to be British!
PHILIP NOYCE: A lot of names were banded about, Sean Connery was Sydney Pollack's first choice, but I wanted Michael [Caine] from day one.
Some people say that the character should have been more fluent in the language as he had lived there so long and have also made a point of the age difference of your character and his lover...
MICHAEL CAINE: You see men like that everyday, men with girls young enough to be their grandfather. Vietnam is famous for it and I find it all a little sad. But on the language front, Graham Greene was normally so bombed himself he only learned what to order from the menu!
Thank you both and congratulations with the film
MICHAEL CAINE: Thank you all.