A Lecherous Womaniser Who Boasted of 'Raping' Young Girls with His Eyes On-; Oh the Irony! He's Been Lauded for Replacing Shamed Kevin Spacey in a New Movie. but Sound of Music Star Christopher Plummer Was

Daily Mail (London), January 13, 2018 | Go to article overview

A Lecherous Womaniser Who Boasted of 'Raping' Young Girls with His Eyes On-; Oh the Irony! He's Been Lauded for Replacing Shamed Kevin Spacey in a New Movie. but Sound of Music Star Christopher Plummer Was


Byline: from Tom Leonard IN NEW YORK

THE 'black dress' protest by scores of actresses at the Golden Globes this week is already being described as a watershed moment that will redefine the way powerful men in Hollywood behave.

The 'Time's Up' movement was sparked, of course, by allegations of serial abuse by producer Harvey Weinstein. But the other name to have fuelled this hysteria was Kevin Spacey, who stands accused of being a sexual predator who made advances to at least 15 young men.

Such has been the moral panic that Spacey was rapidly airbrushed out of Tinseltown by a jumpy entertainment industry.

One Spacey movie, however, was already in the can -- and that posed a significant problem. British director Ridley Scott had just finished filming All The Money In The World, a dramatisation of the 1973 kidnapping of John Paul Getty III, the grandson of oil tycoon Jean Paul Getty. The latter was played by Spacey.

Although trailers were already playing in cinemas, Sir Ridley judged that he couldn't possibly release a film with such a cloud hanging over its head, and decided to re-shoot all of Spacey's 22 scenes using another actor. It was both a 'commercial' and 'moral' decision to replace him with 88-year-old Christopher Plummer, he insisted.

But there's a certain irony in the fact that Spacey has been replaced by an actor whose own sexual peccadilloes in the past would now be regarded as beyond the pale.

Plummer may be one of the finest actors of his generation. But critics say there's a reason he had to wait until he was 80 to earn an Oscar nomination, let alone win one two years later.

His monumental arrogance and foul temper earned him many enemies in the industry, while his rapacious womanising would hardly pass muster with today's moral guardians in pin ed nd Hollywood. The repeated salivating descriptions of teenage girls I found this week in Plummer's 656-page memoirs -- published only nine years ago -- are deeply seedy, and would surely give any director pause for thought. At one point, he talks of how he would 'rape with [his] eyes' young girls he saw in the street.

Although he recalls his bad old days as a serial philanderer and boozing partner of Peter O'Toole and Rex Harrison with unconcealed relish, Plummer insists he has mellowed. He cites the calming influence of his third and current wife Elaine Taylor.

The bellowing bar-room braggart has even softened his tone about The Sound Of Music, a film he long referred to sneeringly as 'S&M' or The Sound Of Mucus. He nowadays praises its 'family spirit' and celebration of an 'innocence that is no longer with us'.

Not that he behaved entirely innocently when he made it. Plummer was 35 and married to his second wife, British journalist Pat Lewis, ried wis atrirs when he played the von Trapp family patriarch. He has admitted he lusted after 20-yearold actress Charmian Carr, who played his eldest daughter, Liesl.

Carr, who was cast because she looked like a teenager (Liesl is supposed to be 16), spent many alcoholsoaked evenings with the much older star as he would belt out tunes on the hotel piano, pour her brandies and was, she recalled, 'as flirtatious with me as I was with him'.

Plummer insists nothing happened between them. If that is the case, he must have been losing his touch.

The wolfish actor had his first amorous experience aged 11, when he claims to have exchanged a lingering kiss with his French au pair.

Although he insists he became reformed character after marrying his third wife, Plummer clearly spent years as a younger man leering at and seducing women.

WHILE filming The Sound Of Music, he relates how he was briefly laid up in bed, unable to move with an injured back. He made the most of his position with a 'local beauty of astonishing looks' and proved that 'at least one part of me was alive'. …

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