Tuck: “Could we have another take Christopher? I’d like you to just punch up the words “…is everything”.
Christopher : “Oh yes. I see what you are doing there Tuck.”
Truth was I didn’t know what the hell I was asking Christopher Plummer to do. I was in my mid-20’s directing the “Sound Of Music” Christopher Plummer ! Asking him to re-read the copy for a radio ad I had written for Japan Airlines. All of this under the intense gaze of my client and my creative director in a recording studio in New York.
Plummer knew that I was a young advertising copywriter being sized up and he was incredibly gracious to me. Each line. Every take he did was better and better. His agent had meticulously asked for a sum of roughly of $70,000 for Mr. Plummer to read 3 radio commercials. Plus a special limo. Plus special beverages to be available in the limo. Woo-Boy, I was going to be sweating during this recording.
Among the many great voices that sat down next to me during auditions included James Earl Jones but no one had the lift and velvet hammer voice of Christopher Plummer.The slogan to be read for Japan Airlines was “To be prepared, is everything.” This was part of an advertising campaign I was working on and while I didn’t write the slogan I did write the commercials for which I was very proud.
Today Christopher Plummer is most certainly an “Age Hero” of mine. At the age of 89, Plummer recently leaped into a movie role replacing Kevin Spacey due to all the sexual misconduct allegations around him. Working with the director Ridley Scott, age 80, Plummer shot all his scenes in just nine days. He opted not to watch any of Spacey’s footage. With lightening speed he memorized his lines “Thank God for all my years of doing theatre. …I’m not pushing up the daisies just yet ” said Plummer. And then Director Ridley Scott did a reshoot on a massive scale that has never been attempted before. Plummer now nominated for a Golden Globe for his performance and Scott being celebrated for their extraordinary work on the movie “All The Money In The World.”
What drives Plummer is revealed when you hear him talk excitedly about his work. “I really wanted to find the humanity in this character of J. Paul Getty.” When I meet individuals in their 80’s and 90’s that still have a sense of purpose and usefulness it’s a beyond inspiring to witness. Individuals that are not movie stars just older adults that love what they do. They have become telfonesque about the hurtful ways people describe “useless old people”. Look closely, at that the lessons Christopher Plummer and Ridley Scott are teaching us at 88 and 80 years of age, about not stopping and continuing to grow. That is really worth all the money in the world. “