|Michael Caine (top) and Jude Law
London, Aug. 23: Michael Caine is helping an attempt to make British star Jude Law a household name in America with a revival of Alfie.
Michael is promoting Law as the perfect choice to update the character he played in 1966 to international acclaim. Mick Jagger is also involved. He and Dave Stewart, once of The Eurythmics, are recording three songs they have written for the soundtrack.
The re-make is being prepared for US release in the autumn, with the action moved from ‘Swinging Sixties’ London to present-day New York.
The script reflects the changes in sexual attitudes in 40 years, with the womanising Alfie still cast as a Cockney libertine, but now worrying about dying of AIDS.
Paramount released a trailer yesterday showing Law, in pink shirt and designer suit, leaving a woman’s apartment in Manhattan, and turning to the camera to quip: “Oh blimey! I’m sorry! I haven’t introduced myself. I’m ...” A female voice floats from the bedroom: “Alfie'”
Law smirks, adding: “There you go...Alfie.”
The movie is the third revival of a classic involving Michael, who called his autobiography What’s It All About' after Alfie’s theme tune, sung by Cilla Black.
Warner Brothers made Get Carter, with Sylvester Stallone, spending £30 million on a flop that grossed only £13 million. Paramount had better luck with The Italian Job starring Mark Wahlberg and Charlize Theron, with the £33-million picture making £98 million. In America, Michael, now 71, is part of a trio of British actors with long-standing appeal. The others are Sean Connery,74, and Anthony Hopkins, 67.
Now, ahead of his next film, the £73-million Batman Begins, in which he is cast as Alfred the butler, Michael is backing Law to lead the next generation of British stars in America.
He said that the remake was “a form of flattery really — we couldn’t have done a bad job of it the first time.” He added: “I think it’s great that Jude is playing Alfie. He is a friend and I’m a great admirer of his. I think he’s a wonderful actor and it will be very interesting because Alfie was a male chauvinist pig in the 1960s, and the story is being re-written by an American woman. I’ll be intrigued to see it.”
Law is also taking Michael’s 1972 part of Milo Tindle in Stephen Frears’ remake of Anthony Shaffer’s Sleuth. Michael is to move to Laurence Olivier’s role of Andrew Wyke. London-born Law, 31, was named by his teacher parents after the Beatle’s song Hey Jude. He remains on the verge of A-list fame in Hollywood, despite acclaim for Cold Mountain and Road To Perdition.
Alfie could be the breakthrough film. Like Michael, he confides to the audience his thoughts as he pursues — looking terribly pleased with himself — Sienna Miller (his current girlfriend), Susan Sarandon and Marisa Tomei.
Sarandon’s role — Liz, a lusty older woman — was originally played as Ruby by Shelley Winters. Miller is Nikki (Jane Asher’s Annie) and Tomei takes Julia Foster’s Gilda part.
Reports from an initial screening of the film by Sherry Lancing, head of Paramount, indicate that the most startling 1966 scene, with Denholm Elliot giving a chilling five minute performance as an abortionist, is replicated in a New York clinic.
Miller’s role as a wild drunk stands out, along with Sarandon’s character as an independent wealthy businesswoman who likes to seduce young men.