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Location: Massachusetts, United States

Lifelong nerd, shameless Constitution-hugger, unreconstructed Democrat and thoroughgoing misanthrope

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Captain von Schnapps

Entertainment Weekly did an interview this week with Christopher Plummer. In it, the actor let loose with some refreshing honesty on the joys of boozing it up. Check it out:

EW: You did a rapid-fire string of movie roles after Sound of Music, and they weren't terribly successful. Oedipus the King, with Orson Welles. A Tom Jones knockoff called Lock Up Your Daughters! — you were some ninny called Lord Foppington. And you also appeared in a disappointing World War II mystery, The Night of the Generals, with Peter O'Toole and Omar Sharif — two other blockbuster refugees.

CP: I didn't enjoy that time. I drank very heavily — as we all did, throughout the '50s and '60s. I drank myself through those bad parts, until I became a character actor. Thank God — at last! It gave me a much freer range, and I began to do versatile things on the screen. See, I always want to be different in everything I play. I don't want to bore the audience with the same performance twice. Or bore myself. Or the crew. That's what acting, to me, was all about. I got stuck because of Sound of Music for a while. I've also been very grateful to it. I have a good time sending it up, and I have some affection for it.

EW: The whole idea of inebriation-as-pastime is passé now. There isn't a bar on every corner anymore — there's a Starbucks.
CP: I know! Isn't it awful? We're back to puritanical times. So many people don't understand, we didn't necessarily drink because we had problems. We drank 'cause we adored it! We adored getting drunk, you a--holes! Don't tell me that it isn't fun! I can't bear that. ''Oh, you must have had some awful childhood, that you drank like that.'' Nonsense! Actually, I was taught as a child to drink. I came from a family that loved wine. I was 12, I think, when I was drinking wine with dinner. I'm glad I had fun and lived in a fun time.

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