Christopher Plummer gives a bemused thumbs-up to the latest choice to succeed him in “The Sound of Music.”
The “Beginners” Oscar winner starred in the tuneful, widely loved 1965 movie as Captain Von Trapp, patriarch of a singing family. The role will be assumed by “True Blood” regular Stephen Moyer when NBC stages a live production of the Rodgers & Hammerstein classic Thursday, Dec. 5, also with Carrie Underwood in Julie Andrews’ former screen part as nun-in-training turned governess Maria.
“It was very close to the vampire life, I thought,” Plummer chuckles to Zap2it of the musical. “All I can say to them is, ‘Good bloody luck!’ I mean, they’re going to have quite a time trying to top Julie. She was so marvelous in it … but they could easily top me. If you see my performance in it in Europe, and it’s dubbed into the language of whatever country it is, it’s so much better.”
Plummer says his jaw still drops over ‘the amazing success” the Robert Wise-directed film has had over nearly 50 years. “I’m very grateful for it, I just wish it had been in a role that I felt was a bit meatier. I mustn’t keep knocking it, and I don’t, really. I do respect it, and as a family film, it’s never been bettered.”
Television is in the cards again for Plummer himself soon, long after his work in such miniseries as “The Moneychangers” (for which he won an Emmy) and “The Thorn Birds.” In the HBO movie “Muhammad Ali’s Greatest Fight” Saturday, Oct. 5, he plays one of the early-1970s Supreme Court justices who decided whether the then-banned boxer’s case for being a conscientious objector to the Vietnam War could be heard.
As he continues to perform his one-man stage show, “A Word or Two” — slated for a three-week run at Los Angeles’ Ahmanson Theatre early next year — two-time Tony winner Plummer remains pleased by his 2012 tour of the film-award circuit for “Beginners,” which also netted him such honors as a Golden Globe, a Film Independent Spirit Award and a British BAFTA as a man who comes out to his son (Ewan McGregor).
“I’ve always done nicely in the theater, with or without an Oscar,” Plummer says, “but it reminds people that I’m still alive. The show is an hour-and-half — I let them go very quickly — and I wanted to do it in L.A. for a change. It’s awfully hard to get your money back in New York if you do a short engagement, but I want to try it one more time in another theater.
“I’ve done it a lot,” notes Plummer, “but I think I’ve improved it. It’s funnier and pithier, as they say, so I hope it goes OK.”