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Plummer’s Peak

On playing Mike Wallace: “He was a wonderful villain. He recognized that television is there to humiliate us; it’s the medium of accident and spontaneity, and he used it brilliantly. He once interviewed me and said, with his usual charm and tact, ‘Tell me, Mr. Plummer, why you aren’t considered a household name.’ But I loved his sort of zeroing in and zapping you. I admired his guts.”

On romping with Helen Mirren in The Last Station: “We are old theater buddies, and when you’re making a Hollywood movie, that’s such a relief, to talk the same language. She, who will take her clothes off at the drop of the hat, is the most joyous person to know. We laughed our way through Tolstoy. Can you imagine?”

On acting for Terrence Malick in The New World: He’s fascinated by nature, and just cuts to birds. Colin Farrell kept saying, ‘My character, he’s a fuckin’ osprey. That’s how he sees me.’ You’d be playing a passionate scene, and he’d say in that strange southern voice of his, mixed with Harvard and Oxford, ‘Ah, jes’ stop a minute, Chris. I think there’s an osprey flying over there. Do you mind if I just take a few shots?’ I wrote him an infuriated letter because I saw the film and I was hardly in it—he cut my part to shit. And it recalled the story of Adrien Brody, the lead in The Thin Red Line. He went to the premiere, and he wasn’t in it! I wrote to Terry and said, ‘You need a writer, baby, you need somebody to follow the ­story.’ I was awful to him, but I did say I admired him. He’s an individual—also mad as a hatter.”