In cinemas this Friday is the lighthearted comedy Going In Style, which stars screen veterans Morgan Freeman, Sir Michael Caine and Alan Arkin. Zach Braff directs from a screenplay by Theodore Melfi (Hidden Figures). The three play lifelong buddies Willie, Joe and Al, who decide to buck retirement and step off the straight-and-narrow for the first time in their lives when their pension fund becomes a corporate casualty. Desperate to pay the bills and come through for their loved ones, the three risk it all by embarking on a daring bid to knock off the very bank that absconded with their money.
Just as the film is about to hit cinemas, we caught up with Freeman, Caine and Arkin to talk about the new movie.
QUESTION: You choose your projects very carefully. Why did you want to be a part of Going in Style?
MORGAN FREEMAN: I wanted to work with Michael Caine again, and with Alan Arkin. So, if they were in it, I had to be there, too!
MICHAEL CAINE: I thought the same thing! If Morgan and Alan were in it, well…we couldn’t all be wrong.
ALAN ARKIN: It was more than a movie about three guys robbing a bank. It has that—and a lot more—going for it.
QUESTION: What is the film about?
MORGAN FREEMAN: It’s about taking back what’s yours.
ALAN ARKIN: But without being greedy about it!
MICHAEL CAINE: It’s also a very funny film about desperation. And we all know what that is like…
QUESTION: Besides the laughs and fun, what does the film say about life?
MICHAEL CAINE: Going in Style is more than a comedy; it is touching, which is very important to me. You may even shed a tear or two when watching it – but not for long. I like that because real life isn’t just funny, sad, terrible or dangerous, but all of those things at the same time.
QUESTION: Michael, what did you appreciate most about your character, Joe?
MICHAEL CAINE: That he has a family, but other things are not working out for him, although that doesn’t mean he is going to take crap from anybody. So, when the bank decides to foreclose his mortgage, Joe decides to rob it. In that sense he is like me, with the exception that I don’t have any mortgages. Nor do I rob banks.
QUESTION: Morgan, what’s going on in Willie’s life?
MORGAN FREEMAN: Willie has a daughter and a granddaughter whom he loves but he doesn’t live with because he doesn’t want to be a burden to them. So now he’s Alan Arkin’s character’s burden…
ALAN ARKIN: Yes, I am Morgan’s roommate in the film. My character, Albert, is a factory worker and a failed jazz musician who plays whenever he can get a gig. Like Joe and Willie, Albert is also on the verge of being robbed of his pension and left penniless. So, the three of them decide, with riotous consequences, to take care of business.
QUESTION: Were there funny moments on set?
ALAN ARKIN: I remember walking past Michael and Morgan, who were dozing off in their chairs on set. But when they heard the director yell, “Action!” they became like two bombs going off simultaneously! There was no transition. They went from snoring to being 120 percent ready. I just couldn’t believe it! They were like thoroughbreds at the starting gate.
QUESTION: What did Ann-Margret bring to the set each day?
MORGAN FREEMAN: She brings some real sunshine. Ann-Margret is just a lovely person.
MICHAEL CAINE: And she is a great dancer! I saw her perform once in Las Vegas and she was fantastic.
ALAN ARKIN: We had worked together before, and she is just fun and a delight to be around. She still has stars in her eyes like a teenager.
QUESTION: And you had the luck to dance with her!
ALAN ARKIN: Yes, although I knocked her down on the floor by mistake and we both rolled over. It was the most embarrassing moment of the day…
QUESTION: You have great onscreen chemistry with Ann-Margret. Did you feel it on set?
ALAN ARKIN: The great thing about Ann-Margret is that she can do anything. She is as game as any person I have ever known.
QUESTION: What was it like shooting Joe, Willie and Albert’s big bank heist?
ALAN ARKIN: I thought that it ended up being one of the easiest things because it is broken up into tiny pieces, which makes more of a logistic thing. You wear a mask, you scream, you hold a gun…
MICHAEL CAINE: Yes, and then you get up and say, “I’ll see you tomorrow.”
MORGAN FREEMAN: I didn’t like wearing that mask…
QUESTION: What was your favorite part of shooting that scene?
MORGAN FREEMAN: I had a charming moment with this little girl, played by Annabelle Chow, in that scene. She has that line where she says that I’m going to need a little help that just knocks me out…
MICHAEL CAINE: When I saw her I thought that after busting our butts for weeks, this little girl had shown up for five minutes and steals the scene. She is fantastic!
QUESTION: You have worked with some of the greatest filmmakers. So, what can you say of a young talent like Zach Braff?
MORGAN FREEMAN: Precisely that he is young and talented.
MICHAEL CAINE: I sent him an email when we finished the movie in which I said, “I had an idea that you would be good, but what I did not know is that you would be great!” And he was great.
MORGAN FREEMAN: Yes, he was. And he was funny and easy to work with.
ALAN ARKIN: And if you ask him nicely he’ll get you a cup of tea…
QUESTION: So, what did you think of Going in Style when you saw it completed?
MICHAEL CAINE: I thought, “Look what Zach has done with it!” It was wonderful.
QUESTION: How was the experience of shooting it in New York?
ALAN ARKIN: We finally got a decent piece of pizza!
MICHAEL CAINE: For me it was special because my wife’s family lives in Queens, so I got to see them.
QUESTION: Who is this film for?
MICHAEL CAINE: It’s for the entire family. You can take the kids or your grandparents. Anybody can enjoy Going in Style.