Michael Caine: “Less is More”

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  • Michael Caine: 

    “Less is More”

    (Excerpt from Acting in Film: An Actor’s Take on Movie-Making)

    “I sometimes encounter actors who think they’re going to steal a scene by being big and bombastic. Those actors are using their bodies and voices instead of their brains. They don’t realize that in terms of voice and action, less is more.”

  • “You see the great theatre actor who can’t be bothered to come to terms with the movie medium. He probably needs a new Mercedes, so he’s condescended to cope with a cinema gig between productions of Titus Andronicus. Now put the camera on him. Watch. Everyone goes into hysterics.”

    “The voice is too loud, the movements famous for causing whole theatre audiences to gasp-now seem suddenly exaggerated and false. If I’m playing opposite somebody who goes into orbit like that, I just come in underneath him. I stick to the naturalism I believe in, and he is left up there looking pretty stupid.”


    In movies, the microphone can always hear you, no matter how softly you speak, no matter where the scene is taking place.


    “A tree is a tree in the movies. It’s not that painted bit of canvas that says, “We’re in the theatre. We’ve agreed to suspend disbelief and pretend it’s not all cardboard. We’re going to see wonderful stage actors acting.”

    “On stage, you have to project your voice or the words will sink without a trace into the third row of seats. On stage, the basic premise is action; you have to sell your attitudes to the audience.”

  • “In movies, the microphone can always hear you, no matter how softly you speak, no matter where the scene is taking place. In movies, it is reaction that gives every moment its potency. That’s why listening in films is so important, as well as the use of the eyes in the close-up. You don’t have to shout and scream. You don’t ever have to do it big.”

    (Excerpt from Acting in Film: An Actor’s Take on Movie-Making)


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