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 Posted:   Mar 24, 2021 - 4:12 PM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

BEGINNERS focuses on “Oliver” (Ewan McGregor), who is at the crossroads of his life with the death of his mom “Georgia” (Mary Page Keller), and with his dad “Hal” (Christopher Plummer) revealing that he's gay. In a way, it's one depressing blow after another, especially when his mother's death seemed like a release for his dad to finally lead the remaining years of his life in as honest a fashion as possible. Oliver is also concerned about caring for his father in his twilight years, while at the same time he is falling for a French actress, “Anna” (Melanie Laurent), who also has issues of her own to contend with.

The role of Hal was intended for Max von Sydow, who declined due to the nature of the subject in favor of appearing as a mute in EXTREMELY LOUD & INCREDIBLY CLOSE. Plummer was attracted to the role because he liked the fact there was no self-pity regarding his character.

Christopher Plummer in BEGINNERS

Mike Mills wrote and directed this 2011 film. The score was by Roger Neill, David Palmer, and Brian Reitzell. Score tracks and songs shared space on the CD released by Relativity Music Group in the U.S. and Silva Screen in the UK. This independent, low budget ($3.2 million) production did well, grossing $14.3 million world-wide.

Christopher Plummer won an Academy Award for the “Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role.” In so doing, he became the oldest winner of a competitive Oscar in an acting category, at 82, surpassing the achievement of Jessica Tandy who had won hers at 81 for DRIVING MISS DAISY.

Christopher Plummer wins the Best Supporting Actor Oscar for BEGINNERS

 Posted:   Mar 25, 2021 - 12:34 AM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

The original production of the (essentially) one-man play “Barrymore” opened at the Music Box Theatre on Broadway on March 14, 1997 and ran for 236 performance, closing on November 2, 1997. The original cast consisted of Christopher Plummer as John Barrymore and Michael Mastro as Frank. Plummer won Tony and Drama Desk awards for best actor. The production then toured the United States with Plummer as Barrymore from July 6, 1998 to December 6, 1998.

More than a dozen years later, Christopher Plummer appeared in the film BARRYMORE, reprising the role he originated on Broadway. Plummer again portrays John Barrymore, the youngest of the legendary acting family's accomplished first generation, who gained fame for Shakespearean drama on Broadway and London stages, before graduating to silent films and early talkies. The film’s opening titles establish 1925 as the peak of this Barrymore's stage success, then followed by a slow descent into alcoholism, which would ultimately claim his life at age 60 in May of 1942.

The show, conceived by William Luce and adapted and directed by Erik Canuel, is set two months before the actor's death. He is dropped off at Broadway's old Majestic Theatre, which he has rented for the night to go over his lines for an audition and potential comeback. The play is Shakespeare's Richard III, the title role of which Barrymore once performed to some acclaim. But that seems ages ago to this cynical, old alcoholic.

Christopher Plummer in BARRYMORE

Michel Corriveau provided incidental music for this Canadian-produced film. The film aired on Canadian television and had a scant theatrical release in selected English-speaking countries. Christopher Plummer won an ACTRA -Toronto Award for “Outstanding Performance - Male,” presented by the Association of Canadian Television and Radio Artists.

 Posted:   Mar 25, 2021 - 2:03 PM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

In David Fincher’s remake of the 2009 Swedish art-house hit THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO, Rooney Mara is “Lisbeth Salander,” the eponymous girl who bears the psychological scars of a harsh upbringing, and is now a ward of the state due to being declared legally incompetent as a child. When her existing ward suffers a stroke, she is assigned to “Nils Bjurman” (Yorick van Wageningen), who uses his position to sexually abuse her. Although Lisbeth is reserved and withdrawn – and possibly psychotic – she possesses a knack for research and computer hacking which makes her invaluable to the security company that employs her. One of her assignments is an investigation into the background of “Mikael Blomkvist” (Daniel Craig), a reporter whose finances have been wiped out in a libel case brought against him by a ruthless businessman.

The report on Blomkvist has been commissioned by “Henrik Vanger” (Christopher Plummer), a wealthy industrialist whose extended family live in separate houses overlooking one another on an island. Vanger’s family members are not only largely estranged from one another but also include neo-Nazis amongst their number. Forty years ago, Vanger’s niece Harriet disappeared during a family gathering on the island. Vanger and the police believe she is dead, but a body was never found, and each year he receives a pressed flower as an anonymous birthday present – as he used to get from Harriet when she was alive. Haunted by her disappearance, Vanger has amassed a wealth of documentary evidence and hires Blomkvist to search it for any clues he may have missed.

Christopher Plummer and Daniel Craig in THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO

Max von Sydow, a genuine Swede, was the original choice to play Henrik Vanger, but had to bow out, and was replaced by Christopher Plummer. The score for the 2011 film, by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, was released by The Null Corporation in a 3-CD or 6-LP box set. The $90 million production came in at #25 at the international box office, with a world-wide gross of $233 million.

 Posted:   Mar 25, 2021 - 11:54 PM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

ALL THE MONEY IN THE WORLD told the story of the kidnapping of 16-year-old John Paul Getty III (Charlie Plummer) and the desperate attempt by his devoted mother (Michelle Williams) to convince his billionaire grandfather J. Paul Getty (Christopher Plummer) to pay the ransom. (Charlie Plummer and Christopher Plummer are not related.)

Originally, Jack Nicholson was offered the role of J. Paul Getty, but he declined the offer. Kevin Spacey eventually signed on for the role. Principal photography began in March 2017 and was completed in August 2017. In late October, numerous sexual misconduct allegations were made against Kevin Spacey. Fearing that the film would be unmarketable with Spacey as its star, on November 8, the producers announced that although the film was otherwise ready for release, reshoots had been commissioned with Christopher Plummer replacing Spacey in the role of Getty.

Plummer claimed he was prepared to replace Spacey as J. Paul Getty on short notice because he had previously been considered for the role and had read the script. He had less than two weeks to memorize his lines, but did have the advantage of having met Getty in London at a couple of his parties during the 1960s. J. Paul Getty was eighty years old when his grandson was kidnapped. Kevin Spacey, at age 58, had to be prosthetically aged to resemble Getty, whereas Plummer, at age 88, needed no special makeup applications.

Director Ridley Scott decided not to show Plummer any footage of Spacey in character, or even tell him how Spacey played the scenes. Scott noted that Spacey played J. Paul Getty as a more explicitly cold and unfeeling character, while Plummer's take on the role showed a warmer side to the billionaire, but the same unflinching refusal to simply pay off his grandson's kidnappers. When finished, Scott found both performances to be quite different but equally effective in their own particular styles.

Afterwards, Plummer said, “I was just hopeful that at my age my memory would serve me. Because I had to learn my lines very quickly and I thought, ‘Oh, Christ, am I going to be able to hang on to this?’ But that's because of years in the theatre. You're trained to be in an emergency like that. The whole theatrical experience is an emergency.”

The re-shoots (22 scenes) took eight days to film at a cost of $10 million. They also involved co-stars Mark Wahlberg and Michelle Williams having to return to the Rome set during the Thanksgiving holiday of 2017.

Daniel Pemberton’s score was released by Sony Classical. With the re-shoots, the film ended up costing $50 million to produce. It essentially broke even at the world-wide box office, with a total gross of $57 million. Christopher Plummer received an Academy Award nomination for “Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role,” making him the oldest Academy Award nominee for acting. He also received a Golden Globe nomination for “Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture.” Plummer lost both awards to Sam Rockwell for THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI.

 Posted:   Mar 26, 2021 - 3:54 PM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

KNIVES OUT is a "who-done-it?", which turns into a "was-it-really-done?", that turns into a "how-was-it done?". Daniel Craig is corn-pone detective “Benoit Blanc,” who traverses through all of the plot turns in trying to find out whether or not foul play was involved in the death of noted mystery writer “Harlan Thrombey” (Christopher Plummer).

Christopher Plummer in KNIVES OUT

Rian Johnson wrote and directed the 2019 crime comedy. Nathan Johnson’s score was released on an LP by Mondo and as a download from Cut Narrative. The $40 million film was a big hit, placing among the top 30 films of the year at the international box office, with a $311 million gross.

 Posted:   Mar 26, 2021 - 11:15 PM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

Like another great stage actor, Richard Burton, early in his career Christopher Plummer failed to connect with the screen in a way that would make him a star. Dynamic on stage, he didn't succeed as a younger leading man in films. Perhaps if he had been born earlier, and acted in the studio system of Hollywood's golden age, he could have been carefully groomed for stardom. As it was, he shared the English stage actors' disdain for the movies, which did not help him in that medium, as he confessed. But he was equally at home in London as he was on the boards of Broadway or on-stage in his native Canada.

Plummer once said, “The theatre is not for sissies. It separates the men from the boys.” For his stage work, Plummer racked up two Tony Awards on six nominations, the first in 1974 as Best Actor (Musical) for the title role in "Cyrano" and the second in 1997, as Best Actor (Play), in "Barrymore". Plummer won two Emmy Awards out of seven nominations stretching over 46 years from 1959 and 2011, and one Genie Award in six nominations from 1980 to 2009.

Plummer is one of nine actors to have won the “Triple Crown of Acting” (an Oscar, Emmy and Tony); the others in chronological order are Thomas Mitchell, Melvyn Douglas, Paul Scofield, Jack Albertson, Jason Robards, Jeremy Irons, Al Pacino and Geoffrey Rush.

Plummer eventually made peace with his place in film history as part of THE SOUND OF MUSIC. In 2011, he observed “People were unnaturally sentimental about the film. So, I always gave it a tough time. But a few years ago, I went to an Easter party and had to watch the damn thing with these kids. I was a prisoner! And then I thought, it's got everything - the lovely songs, the Nazis and the nuns and the kids. It's timeless and I'm grateful for it.”

Regarding the arc of his career, Christopher Plummer said “My type of roles [early on were] sort of uptight, urbane, sophisticated young men ... sort of boring and dull. People don't have any imagination in this business, do they? I can do comedy. I can do all sorts of things. Why are they giving me this uptight crap? So, I was so happy when I arrived at a certain age and I could become a character actor and be free of all that nonsense.”

That’s where Plummer shined—in dozens of great character roles. He wasn’t an action star or a genre actor. But in dramatic roles large and small he delivered solid performances on screen for well over 60 years, and leaves a film legacy worth exploring in depth. Farewell, Chris.

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