Wise Guys and Dolls
National Post, 11 September 2007
Older men will tease younger men; it's the law of the jungle. You could even say they can be catty about it.
Sleuth co-star Michael Caine and director Kenneth Branagh are big names, to be sure, but reporters at the Sutton Place Hotel last night were crestfallen to learn just minutes before the movie's press conference panel was set to begin that Jude Law -- whose preening presser performance last year inspired our correspondent to dub him "Tiger" -- would be absent because of a late flight.
"One person, of course, is missing, and that's Mr. Jude Law," said moderator Henri Behar, as if anyone needed telling. "We expect him to land any moment. Is that true, Mr. Branagh?"
"He asked me to convey his apologies," said Branagh of Law. "There was a series of unforeseen cock-ups, as we would say in England."
"It's only about a half [an hour] -- has he got any bags?" asked Caine.
"I didn't get into the detail with him, Michael," Branagh said.
"I didn't have any bags. I was here in half an hour," Caine said.
"That's because you're a seasoned professional," Branagh said.
Meow! Take that, Jude!
One reporter wanted to know what Caine thought of Law's Alfie, anyway. (Actually, his entire question was, "Alfie?")
"It was a very good, but it wasn't Alfie," said Caine. "It was someone else. He could have called him Sid or Bert, because the timing was wrong."
"The point was, Jude was a very modern young man. My character was much more simple, much more Neanderthal," the 74-year-old actor elaborated.
"You remained on speaking terms," Behar said.
"Oh yeah," Caine replied. "Actors have too many enemies outside to create enemies with each other inside [the business]. You never badmouth another actor."
Caine continued to purr as the presser wound down. "When you see the poster, it says, 'Caine, Law, Branagh and Pinter,' and that's exactly who I wanted to work with."
Still, notice who's top cat?