- The Observer, Sunday 13 September 2009
I never bring a role home with me. The moment they say, "It's a wrap," it's gone completely. I'm a totally ruthless professional and life is my family, not my work.
I've lost my specs in the most amazing ways. In a jungle in India a monkey landed bang on my head and stole a pair right off my nose, scratching my bloody forehead.
I'm out of the restaurant business now, but the secret, apart from your choice of chef, is having great bread and coffee. The bread's the first thing they taste and the coffee the last.
When I became too old to get the girl, I was freed up to play characters instead of being a movie star. A producer sent me a script and I thought the part was too small. He said, "You weren't supposed to read the lover, read the father's part, which is enormous." I went and looked in the bathroom mirror and there he was - the father.
I was voted London's Favourite Londoner last year. But for me the greatest will always be Charlie Chaplin.
You marry the person you love and religion is secondary. My wife [Shakira] is a Muslim and she does Muslim stuff; I'm a Christian and I do Christian stuff, and no questions ever come up. The media view of Muslims is different from mine, which is very benign and peaceful.
Books were my window on the world. Growing up at the Elephant and Castle, which was very rough, my paradise was the library.
My mother said the worst thing you can do to someone is ignore them. When people do me wrong, they're just out of my life, frozen, with no second chance.
I've listened to Elgar's Nimrod throughout my life and it's never let me down. The book I return to is Ayn Rand's The Fountainhead. My first daughter was named after its heroine, Dominique Francon.
I had no suspicions that I had an older half-brother [David, a severe epileptic whom his mother secretly visited for decades in hospital]. It was a complete surprise when I read it in the paper [in 1991]. It didn't bother me. I have a motto: never worry about anything you can't change.
I moved to America when they put the tax up here to 82%. I said, "I'm out of here," and I never came back until Maggie put it down. Now I think it'll go up again, but I've got a grandson here - so I can't leave.
I'm a frustrated stand-up comic. If you hand me a microphone and I get one laugh then I'll go on for 20 minutes.
It never bothered me that I didn't have a son. But I've just had a grandson and I've never known a love quite like the love I have for this little boy. I'm deliriously happy.
The greatest luxury is not driving. I didn't own a car until I was 30, and that was a Rolls-Royce, so it was cheaper to insure a chauffeur. I never want to drive again. My mind is always on other things. I hate parking, and I'm very short-tempered and would get road rage, I'm sure.
It's not true my mother was a cleaner at the Houses of Parliament. It's much too dirty for my mum to have ever been a cleaner in there.
I'm sitting here and I don't have another film to do. If I don't find a good script ever again I'll be retired. There won't be any fanfare or statement to the press. I'll just be like an old solider - which I am - and fade away. I have no anxiety about it.
• Is Anybody There?, starring Michael Caine, is out on DVD and Blu-ray on 14 September