Michael Caine has admitted he knew about Harvey Weinstein's alleged misconduct, but claimed he is shocked by the ''gravity'' of the allegations against the producer.

The 'Italian Job' actor has admitted he was aware that sexual harassment allegations against Weinstein were ''there'', and was unsettled during one meeting with the 65-year-old producer when he called him ''dishonest''.

When asked if he classes himself as a feminist, he said: ''Oh yes. I'm all for the ladies.

''Let me tell you. I knew [the allegations against Weinstein] were there. But the gravity is a surprise to me. I'll give you Harvey Weinstein in one sentence.

''I had a row with him once and I called him dishonest. And he said to me, 'Michael, I'm an honest man. I would only ever stab you in the chest.'''

The 84-year-old star - who worked with Weinstein on three movies - admitted that whilst he had heard stories of the executive's ''casting couch'', he believed it to be a ''joke'' until the allegations began to surface last year.

He added: ''I knew he was a bit of a ... you know. It was called 'the casting couch' in Hollywood. And it was almost a joke.

''But to me, the casting couch was Harvey and a pretty young actress comes in and he says 'To get this part, you've got to do this'. And she says, 'No, I won't.' And he says, 'You haven't got the part,' and she walks out. But I'd no idea that he would be exposing himself of doing physical harm to the girl.

''It's when they're slightly unknown and they need it. Do you know what I mean? You can't tell Elizabeth Taylor, 'You're going to have to screw me to get this part.''

Michael also spoke about his showbiz pal and director Woody Allen, who has been accused of sexually abusing his adopted daughter Dylan Farrow.

Speaking to The Times, he said: ''I loved Woody, I thought he was a great guy. And I'm stunned. Absolutely stunned.''