Christopher Plummer

Sept. 19, 2005
Sept. 19, 2005

Table of Contents
Sept. 19, 2005

Sports Illustrated Bonus Section: Golf Plus
Teeing Off: Views and Voices
SI Players: Life On and Off the Field
After The Storm
NASCAR Championship Preview
College Football
Inside the NFL
Inside College Football

Christopher Plummer

The Canadian actor plays Roger Bannister's coach in Four Minutes, which debuts on ESPN2 on Oct. 6

SI: Your character is a composite of Bannister's several coaches. How did you approach the part?

This is an article from the Sept. 19, 2005 issue Original Layout

Plummer: I watched film on Franz Stampfl [Bannister's coach when he broke the four-minute mile in 1954, pictured below with Bannister]. And the writer [SI's Frank Deford] did enormous research on the language coaches use when speaking to runners.

SI: How familiar were you with Bannister's story?

Plummer: My wife saw him win that race. I lived in England in the swinging 1960s. It was after Hillary and Everest. Then came Bannister. We were all cognizant of his rise to fame.

SI: What are the origins of your lifelong affair with tennis?

Plummer: I've played since I was five. I play singles, but it will be doubles soon; it's getting a bit dodgy out there.

SI: Is Roger Federer worthy of a stage production?

Plummer: Federer is almost too perfect to be dramatic. I compare him to Manolete, the bullfighter who achieved such perfection that the Spanish found him dull.

SI: What about McEnroe: The Play?

Plummer: His story might repel audiences. They would leave in droves [laughs]. He's great now: He has a sense of humor about himself and is a wonderful commentator.

SI: Memorable partners?

Plummer: Sean Connery, when he was making the Bond movies. I had much longer experience on the court. But he was a very good athlete and picked things up very quickly.

SI: It must be sweet to own James Bond.

Plummer: Oh, I know. I felt very smooth. --Richard Deitsch