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People in Film | Christopher Plummer

Updated April 25, 2011

From Von Trapp to Don Juan, from Sherlock Holmes to Santa Claus, Christopher Plummer seems to have played nearly everyone in the history of Western Civilization.

Christopher Plummer | Being Hal
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Christopher Plummer | Being Hal

Christopher Plummer | Being Hal

For Christopher Plummer, playing the role of Hal in Mike Mills' Beginners took him into exciting new territory – something that happens very infrequently now for the 80-year-old veteran actor of stage and screen. The father of Ewan McGregor's character, Oliver, Hal is a 75-year-old man who, after his wife of 44 years dies, announces to the world that he is gay.  “I've never played a part like that before, on screen or stage,” Plummer told Toronto's Globe and Mail. “It was fascinating.” Collaborating closely with Mills, whose own father came out in similar circumstances, Plummer gained a deep understanding of his character, saying, “I gradually felt as if the part had been written for me. It wasn’t on some distant plane you tried to reach. It was very close.” Hal in Beginners looks set to be one of the defining characters Plummer has portrayed over his long and illustrious career, and the actor says, “I don’t think I’ve ever had as good a time playing a role, anywhere... I found it so touching and funny and charming and innocent. A man whose whole life has changed into the upper register of ecstasy since he’s discovered he can be free is very moving.”