Christopher Plummer “gave Terrence Malick shit” for cutting him out of scenes

"I told him: 'You are so boring. You've got to get yourself a writer'"

An old roundtable in which the late Christopher Plummer berated director Terrance Malick for cutting down his role in a film has emerged.

Plummer, who was perhaps best known for his starring role in The Sound Of Music, passed away last week aged 91.

Among his many roles was Captain Christopher Newport in Malick’s 2005 film The New World – though during a 2012 actor’s roundtable Plummer revealed he “gave [Malick] shit” after learning his role was reduced.

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“He is quite an extraordinary guy, and I love some of his movies very much,” Plummer began. “But the problem with Terry, which I soon found, is he needs a writer, desperately, because he insists on doing everything.

“He insists on writing, and overwriting, and overwriting, until it sounds terribly pretentious. You have to work terribly hard to make it sound real. And then he edits his films in such a way where he cuts everybody out of the story.”

After the roundtable discussed Adrien Brody’s reduced role in The Thin Red Line, Plummer continued: “Terry gets terribly involved in poetic shots… which are gorgeous, but they’re paintings, all of them. He gets lost in that, and the stories get diffused, particularly in our film.”

While he praised some of the film, the actor admitted: “I was put in all sorts of different spots, my character was suddenly not in the scene that I thought I was in, in the editing room. It was very strange. It completely unbalances everything.

Terrence Malick
Terrence Malick. CREDIT: Getty/Gary Miller

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“This very emotional scene that I had suddenly was background noise. I could hear myself saying it, this long, wonderful, moving speech that I thought I was so fantastic in.

“It’s now background sort of score, way mild in the distance, while something else is going on. And [co-star] Colin Farrell just said, ‘Oh you know, we’re just going to be a couple fucking ospreys.'”

Plummer concluded: “I had to write him a letter. I had to write Terry a letter. I gave him shit. I’ll never work with him again, of course. He won’t have me. I told him, ‘You are so boring. You get in these ruts. You’ve got to get yourself a writer.’ So my career with Mr. Malick is over.”

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