As acting legend Christopher Plummer tells it, love for his work is what’s keeping him alive.
“I’m glad (my ambition) is still there. If it faded, what’s there to live for? It makes you appreciate other things if you keep working at your job and you love your job,” the 81-year-old recently told the Associated Press. “Too many people in the world are unhappy with their lot. And then they retire and they become vegetables. I think retirement in any profession is death, so I’m determined to keep crackin’.”
He’s still crackin’, alright. He had a role in this year’s Priest and is appearing in the Mike Mills Beginners, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and Son of Tobor. The Shakespeare fan also has a deep passion for the stage, calling it his “medicine.” He’s played a wide array of roles in productions of Bard classics like Hamlet, Macbeth and Cyrano. “I’ve become simpler and simpler with playing Shakespeare. I’m not as extravagant as I used to be. I don’t listen to my voice so much anymore. All the pitfalls of playing the classics — you can fall in love with yourself,” he explained.
In fact, it wasn’t until he reached his 40s that he actually enjoyed making movies. Before, he dreaded playing “cardboard figures” like one of his most famous roles, Captain Georg von Trapp in 1965’s The Sound of Music. Of his early leading-man roles, Plummer said, “I hated playing them.”
“In my 40s, I began to suddenly enjoy making movies because the character parts are so much more interesting,” he recalled to the AP. “I started having a ball and working with much better directors — John Huston, for example, and Anatole Litvak from the old school. After Michael Mann‘s The Insider, then the scripts improved. I was upgraded! Since then, they’ve been first-class scripts. Not all successful, but worth doing.”