On the occasion of the death of the great Canadian actor Christopher Plummer.
In some Salzburg hotels you can see Christopher Plummer in an endless loop. On its own TV channel, “The Sound of Music” is presented to tourists, the highly popular musical in the United States that no one likes in German-speaking countries. The actor who played evil captain von Trapp has seen him for most of his long career, which he considered humble throughout this movie. It wasn’t until 2011 that Al-Kindi showed some kindness towards his breakthrough as a world star: “People were unnaturally emotional about this movie, so I was always against it. But I went to an Easter party a few years ago and had to sit the whole thing with the kids. I was a prisoner! Then! I thought it contained everything, beautiful songs, Nazis, nuns and children. They are timeless and I am grateful to them. “
He also did not receive the only Oscar he did for his extremely difficult role. After all, his appearance as Ewan McGregor’s gay parent in “Beginners” made him the oldest recipient of the trophy at the age of 81. But for this great man, cinema was probably the face of his true love, theater.
In his Canadian homeland, at the Shakespeare Festival in Ontario, he played almost all the main roles in drama. On Broadway, he achieved success in Brecht’s “The Stopping Rise of Arturo Ui” and title champion in the musical version of “Cyrano”. Without his theater experience, he would not have been able to master the most curious challenge of his film career – re-portraying a full lead role in “Alles Geld der Welt” by Ridley Scott when Kevin Spacey was disqualified. “I had to learn the role very quickly and I just thought, ‘How do I do it? But those are the years in theater. I’ve trained in such contingencies. The whole theater experience is one emergency.'” I felt more comfortable with Christopher Plummer’s experience in his cinematic roles: as Sherlock Holmes in Murder on the River Thames (1979), as a charismatic villain in the bank robbery thriller “Your Partner is Death” (1978), as the fantastic Anchorman TV show The Insider (1999).
The grandson of a Canadian prime minister has brought natural nobility to many of his roles, a feature that made him the first choice when it came to casting ancient wisdom: he could also afford Gandalf’s role in The Lord of the Rings “only to be turned down because he didn’t want to live in New Zealand for four years.
But even when he was likely to play Violin Two, he made himself unforgettable: as Rudyard Kipling alongside Sean Connery and Michael Kane in the classic John Huston movie The Man Who Wants to Be King. The example of Herod in Zverrelli’s “Jesus of Nazareth”, or the example of Dr. Goines in “Twelve Monkeys” by Terry Gilliam. It was also Gilliam who wrote one of his most original roles for Plummer, the title character in The Doctor Parnassus Treasury. Christopher Plummer wore all of these characters easily as if acting was as easy as a rehearsal. At the age of 91, he passed away last Friday from his fall.