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Michael Caine Slams Political Correctness on Set: "It's Dull"

The 90-year-old actor also shared his thoughts on intimacy coordinators.

Times are changing, and Oscar-winning actor Michael Caine is trying to keep up. But, when it comes to a couple of changes to movie sets in recent years, he's not sure those evolutions are for the best. In a joint interview with John Standing, his co-star in the upcoming film The Great Escaper, Caine weighed in on some advancements the film and TV industry has made in the wake of the #MeToo movement. The 90-year-old actor said that an emphasis on political correctness has made sets "dull" and also questioned the importance of intimacy coordinators, who are more frequently used now to choreograph and supervise intimate scenes.

Still, Caine and Standing, 89, both noted that they try to learn from the younger generations, including their friends and family members. Read on to see what else the Batman Begins star had to say.

RELATED: 7 Oscar-Winning Movies That Are Offensive by Today's Standards.

Intimacy coordinators are commonly used today.

Michael Caine at the premiere of "King of Thieves" in 2018
Featureflash Photo Agency / Shutterstock

An intimacy coordinator became vital role on movie and TV sets in light of the #MeToo movement and reports of actors being mistreated, taken advantage of, or made to feel uncomfortable filming intimate scenes. According to the SAG-AFTRA union, "An intimacy coordinator is an advocate, a liaison between actors and production, and a movement coach and/or choreographer in regards to nudity and simulated sex and other intimate and hyper-exposed scenes."

Many actors who've worked with them have praised intimacy coordinators and expressed gratitude for their expertise.

Caine said he wouldn't want "anyone interfering" in his love scenes.

Michael Caine at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival
Denis Makarenko / Shutterstock

In the interview with the Daily Mail's You Magazine, Standing's wife, journalist Sarah Standing, asked Caine what he thought about intimacy coordinators.

"Really? Seriously? What are they? We never had that in my day," the actor responded. "Thank god I'm 90 and don't play lovers anymore is all I can say. In my day you just did the love scene and got on with it without anyone interfering. It's all changed."

RELATED: Jennifer Aniston Slams "Cancel Culture" in New Interview.

He also bemoaned how "political correctness" has changed the business.

John Standing at the premiere of "The Great Escaper" in September 2023
Mike Marsland/WireImage via Getty Images

Caine and Standing both opened up about increased emphasis on political correctness and whether or not they take in what the younger generations have to say about it. Standing said that his children and grandchildren try to keep him up-to-date with what is considered acceptable. "All the time. And I try my hardest," he said.

Caine said that he also tries to keep up, but lamented a couple of changes in particular. "So do I," the Cider House Rules star said. "But it's dull. Not being able to speak your mind and not being able to call anyone 'darling.'"

Standing added, "I'm endlessly being told I can't say this or that because it's inappropriate. And I still call everyone 'darling' … It's like learning a new language. And we are trying our best."

Caine continued, "I try, but it's hard. I like to learn from friends who are younger than me."

RELATED: Richard Dreyfuss Says It's "Crazy" That He Will "Never Have a Chance to Play a Black Man."

The use of intimacy coordinators has been hotly debated.

Sean Bean at the "Game of Thrones" final season premiere in 2019
lev radin / Shutterstock

Caine is far from the first actor to share his thoughts on intimacy coordinators. Many stars have said that the position is a welcome addition to sets. For instance, House of the Dragon actor Emily Carey explained that intimacy coordinators helped them feel comfortable when they had to film love scenes with an actor 30 years their senior when they were just 18. And Ewan McGregor was more than happy to work with a coordinator on the miniseries Halston. "It was such a relief. It's about [expletive] time," he told The Hollywood Reporter.

Meanwhile, others have criticized the practice. Last year, Game of Thrones actor Sean Bean received criticism—including from other actors—for his comments about intimacy coordinators. "It would inhibit me more because it's drawing attention to things," he told The Times. "Somebody saying, 'Do this, put your hand there, while you touch his thing…' I think the natural way lovers behave would be ruined by someone bringing it right down to a technical exercise."

Caine considers himself retired—mostly.

Michael Caine at the premiere of "King of Thieves" in 2018
Featureflash Photo Agency / Shutterstock

In addition to not "playing lovers anymore," Caine has said that he is "sort of retired" from acting. In a recent interview with The Telegraph, Caine addressed the fact that he said he was retired in 2015, only to make 10 more movies.

"But I wasn't 90 then. I am bloody 90 now, and I can't walk properly and all that," he said. "I sort of am retired now. Anyway…"

Two years ago, Caine made headlines when he said that 2021's Best Sellers might be his last film. His representative then told The Wrap that he was not actually retiring. Caine said in a statement, "Regarding retirement, I've spent over 50 years getting up at 6:00 AM to make movies, and I'm not getting rid of my alarm clock!"

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Lia Beck
Lia Beck is a writer living in Richmond, Virginia. In addition to Best Life, she has written for Refinery29, Bustle, Hello Giggles, InStyle, and more. Read more
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