In a recent interview to promote the film Cars 2, Michael Caine was asked about all the people who have attempted an impersonation of his unique way of speaking over the years. And let’s face facts; there have been enough of them (and by ‘them,’ I mean ‘us’).
His response was as generous and affectionate as most of the impressions have been. Singling out Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon particularly, he told Digital Spy: “I think they’re fantastic. They did [their impressions] way out of date because there was a change in my voice from when I was very young to what I am now. Your voice gets older and gruffer with cigarettes and everything.”
“The other one that was a surprise to me was on Saturday Night Live. They do great impressions of me and as good as them was Tom Hanks. He does an incredible impression of me and it’s very funny.”
So, here are five celebrity impersonations of the great man, some better than others.
In a lot of ways, it doesn’t matter whether Michael Caine the actor ever really spoke like this or not. Hearing The Fast Show’s Paul Whitehouse doing his best impression of everyone else’s impression of Michael Caine – back in his Harry Enfield days – is a joy in and of itself because it’s a perfect way to overemphasise comic lines: “I do NOT like BIG HANDS!” being a prime example.
This is a noteworthy clip for two reasons. 1: Sean Connery re-enacting Meg Ryan’s fake-orgasm in When Harry Met Sally is genius, 2: Craig is clearly more comfortable capturing the voice of a fellow Scot. A swing and a miss!
OK, a slight cheat, in that the man who says, “I am Michael Caine” in this surprisingly downbeat tribute to ‘60s spy/gangster films is Michael himself. There again, Lee Thompson (saxophone) does a pretty good job in the introduction to the video, so it still counts. In any case, listen to that sighing chorus, what a brilliant, brilliant song.
An odd one, this. It just sounds like Peter talking, with a very slight South London twang, before throwing in what was considered to be Michael’s ’70 catch-phrase (even though he never said it). Somehow you’d have thought a throatal genius like Peter would have done a better job. Ah well.
Rob Brydon and Steve Coogan
Past masters at the art of impersonation, you’d think if anyone could get the voice down, it’d be these two. Here, as part of the curiously touching (and slightly NSFW) BBC comedy The Trip, the two bicker about which has the better Michael impression. But which of them is correct?
And finally, here’s Michael’s own impression of all of his impressionists:
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