Payday Loans
Christopher Plummer (1929-2021)

  1. Jeffrey Hunter, King of Kings, 1961.   For his Jesus, feisty director Nicholas Ray  worked his way through the Canadian Plummer, Welsh Richard Burton, English Peter Cushing, Australian Keith Michel and even Swedish Max Von Sydow (George Stevens’ Christ in 1964) before voting Hunter. Despite being, at 35, closer to Christ’s age than per usual in Schmollywood epics, Jeff was soon dubbed “I Was a Teenage Jesus.”
  2. Peter O’Toole, Becket,  1963.    Peter Finch and Albert Finney  joined the Henry II mix with Laurence Harvey, Christopher Plummer, Maximilian Schell, when Burton showed scant interest in sharing the billing with the new firebrand, Peter O’Toole. Why, he’d even studied the play in Paris with the playwright, Jean  Anouilh. Burton had  his mind changed for him by Elizabeth Taylor, and a bromance was born. ""Nobody could play Becket like he did - as a sort of sacred coal-miner," said O’Toole. They both won Oscar nods. But the award went to the Rex Harrison  that nobody wanted for My Fair Lady. (Instead, of a king,  Plummer settled for a prince inthe BBC’sHamletin Denmark’s real Elsinore Castle. Michael Caine was Horatio).
  3. Rod Taylor, The VIPS, 1963The business man in financial trouble became Australian when Plummer split  for a bigger payday as Commodus  in The Fall of the Roman Empire.
  4. Michael Caine,The Ipcress File, 1965.    Caine’s agent knew producer Harry Saltzman was in a fix.Plummer had jumped ship for what he would call The Sound of Mucus.  Or plain S&M. So, Caine nipped into The Pickwick Club at 9pm, when Saltzman was dining. The producer recognised the Zulu revelation, called him over for a drink. “Have you read The IpcressFile?” Yeah.“Do you want to play the lead?” Yeah. “Do you want a seven-year-contract?” Yeah. “OK, call me in the morning.” Yeah. Straight after creating the anti-Bond spy, Harry Palmer, Caine was Horatio opposite Plummer’s Hamlet, shot by BBC TV in Denmark's real Elsinore Castle.
  5. Richard Burton,The Sandpiper,1965.    Plummer’s busy? So, get me another Hamlet awready!
  6. Rex Harrison, Doctor Doolittle, 1967.    Rex never complained when his My Fair Lady librettist-lyricist Alan Jay Lerner quit and Leslie Bricusse was signed,nor when Fox’s first directors, veterans John Huston, Vincente Minnelli, William Wyler,became the house helmer, Richard Fleischer.  But Harrison quit allthe same.“Sue me, I’m not going todo it.”HearingproducerArthur P Jacobs secured Plummer for $300,000, Harrison's agent called -“He'sback in.” To be, as he reported, “bitten by the chimp, a Pomeranian pony, a duck and the parrot whomplayed Polynesia.”
  7. Dirk Bogarde, Sebastian, 1967.    Michael Caine, Rex Harrison. Patrick McGoohan, Peter O’Toole, David Warner all refused. “A busy year for actors,” noted Brit director Michael Powell, “scattered all over the map.” He located Plummer in the South of France - much good it did him.
  8. William Daniels, The Graduate,1967. 
  9. Peter O’Toole, Goodbye Mr Chips, 1969.   The reunion with his Broadway Camelot partner Julie Andrews did not happen and  Richard Burton refused Petula Clark as a substitute because she was a...  singer!  And Julie was what, exactly?   (Burton was later offered Lee Remick as his wife).  O’Toole made it, quite delightfully, with Pet. Also up for the old-fashioned schoolteacher: Plummer, Albert Finney, Richard Harris, Rex Harrison, Paul Scofield and  even… Peter Sellers.
  10. Walter Matthau, A New Leaf, 1970.    Elaine May lacked the magic of her ex-comedy partner, Mike Nichols, when directing movies. This was her first film; she only made four (and none since the worst flop - Beatty and Hoffman in Ishtar, 1986). She wanted Plummer as the ageing and suddenly penniless bon vivant. Even so, May felt Matthau’s murder of Jack Weston was the funniest thing she ever saw. We will never know. The scene was cut (the Production Code insisted you can’tget away with murder!) and May never knew if all the film’s “butchered” footage still existed in a vault somewhere.

  11. William Shatner, The Devil's Rain, 1975.    Now that’s real mucus!   So Plummer passed Mark Preston to Shatner - who had go quit shooting for three days because of a Star Trek convention in New York City. Ah, the price of fame.
  12. Terence Stamp,  Superman, 1977.
  13. Timothy Dalton, Sexette, 1978.    Mae West liked his style. After TheSound ofMusic, she told director Robert Wise: “There's your sex person. There’s your box-office.Him! He carried thatpicture. She was all right, you know, Julie Andrews... but she hasn't got the sex personality.”
  14. Sean Connery, Der Name der Rose/The Name of the Rose, Gerrmany-France-Italy, 1986.    Two decades later, and Plummer and Richard Harris are still vying for the same role...   Réalisateur Jean-Jacques Annaud was not keen on 007 as Umberto Eco’s medieval monk turned detective.  Columia Pictures even refused financing if Connery was involved as his post-Bond star was imploding. Naturally, Brando topped Annaud’s further 14 ideas. Five Americans: De Niro (dropped when insisting on  a duel scene… with real swords), Frederic Forrest, Paul Newman, Jack Nicholson, Roy Scheider;  four Brits: Michael Caine, Albert Finney, Ian McKellen, Terence Stamp;  two Canadians:  Plummer and Donald Sutherland; plus  the French Yves Montand, Irish Richard Harris and Italian Vittorio Gassman. Connery’s reading was the best and his career exploded anew. Two years later, he won his support Oscar for The Untouchables.
  15. Ian McKellan, The Lord of the Rings, trilogy, 2001-2003.
  16. James Corden, Into The Woods, 2013.
  17. Kurt Russell,Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, 2016.    Aged between Christopher Plummer and Max Von Sydow’s 87 and Matthew McConaughey’s 47,  fifteen actors were Marveled about for Ego, father of Chris Pratt’s hero, Peter Quill aka Star Lord.  The others in the  loop were Alec Baldwin, Michael Biehn, Robert De Niro, Mel Gibson, Stephen Lang, Viggo Mortensen, Liam Neeson, Gary Oldman, Ron Perlman, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Christoph Waltz and Bruce Willis.


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