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Christopher Plummer: A Veteran Plays a Veteran

Christopher Plummer — whose recent Broadway roles include King Lear — at the 2007 Tony Awards in June.
Bryan Bedder
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Getty Images
Christopher Plummer — whose recent Broadway roles include King Lear — at the 2007 Tony Awards in June.

Say "Christopher Plummer," and some people automatically think of The Sound of Music, in which he played the Baron von Trapp.

But that's just one of about 100 films Plummer has been in; recent highlights from his big-screen career include Syriana, The Insider, A Beautiful Mind, and Inside Man. He's also had long stage career, won two Tony Awards, and performed with the Royal Shakespeare Company.

And Plummer was a regular on many of TV's earliest shows, including programs from the Kraft Television Theater and the Hallmark Hall of Fame. Now, in the new independent film Man in the Chair, he's playing an old-school curmudgeon who worked on a legendary film.

Michael Schroeder's movie centers on a high-school kid who enlists a group of retired film crew members to help finish his student feature. Plummer plays Flash Madden, a former gaffer who crewed on Orson Welles' Citizen Kane. The character is a bitter, cranky alcoholic — "a wonderful old drunk," Plummer tells Terry Gross.

The actor's own battles with alcoholism have been no secret; "research," he jokes, "was not a problem."

Plummer's other films include A Beautiful Mind and Twelve Monkeys. He's done Broadway and television, too, in addition to a lot of voiceover work — including on the video game Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas.

Copyright 2022 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

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