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Not many people know this, but Michael Caine was in Dunkirk. Apparently his cameo is so inconspicuous, most folks didn't even notice it. However, if you're good with identifying voices, then you picked Sir Michael's small part out with no problem, as he was the commander on the other end of Tom Hardy's radio in the film. Director Christopher Nolan confirmed this fact recently in the following statement:
Yes, good for you for spotting him. It's shocking to me that a lot of people haven't, when he has really one of the most distinctive voices in cinema. I wanted very much to squeeze him in here. It's a bit of a nod to his character in Battle of Britain. And also, it's Michael. He has to be in all my films, after all.
Folks born after a certain era won't remember, but the role that Nolan is referring to is that of Squadron Leader Canfield in 1969's Battle of Britain, which covered some of the same historical turf that Dunkirk executed in its more limited scoped film. So naturally, being a fan of Michael Caine and all, Christopher Nolan thought it only fit that Caine would be the commander of the airborne forces lead by Tom Hardy during the lean, mean exercise in war movie storytelling that was last weekend's box office champ. Now if you did notice the vocal cameo in Dunkirk, you might have still been questioning whether or not it was Michael Caine in the film for one simple fact: he's not credited in the traditional sense.
If you review the credits, his name isn't listed along with the other actors of the film. Rather, his is a credit at the very end of the film's roll, in the "Special Thanks To" section of the listings. Seeing as Christopher Nolan and Sir Michael Caine are pretty familiar, and he happened to star in a film of a similar purview, as well as grew up in the era of Dunkirk's historical narrative, one could have mistaken that credit for simply helping out. But thanks to NJ.com, we now have proof positive that yes, Sir Michael Caine was the commanding voice that spoke to Tom Hardy with much authority.
With no new project on the horizon just yet, Christopher Nolan may just work with Michael Caine yet again in the more traditional sense. But knowing that the director will cast him even in the smallest role he can find is the sort of thing that we'd expect someone so rigorous in his methods like Nolan to do. Though we have to admit, if he could get around to directing a film where Michael Caine is the lead, that would be something we'd line up to see in a heartbeat. Just some food for thought for the director who defies expectation, and lands on the project you'd least expect him to at a moment's notice.
Dunkirk is in theaters now, and is definitely worth the IMAX 70mm ticket.