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Also a boon was the chance to work with Frears. He compared him to another famed filmmaker, John Huston, who directed Plummer, Sean Connery and Michael Caine in 1975’s “The Man Who Would Be King.”

“Both those directors are so great because they give you such confidence. They’re with you, they’re a pal. That’s what a really fine director is,” Plummer said. “Not somebody who gets busy and says, ‘Maybe we should try it this way, or this way.’ They’re trying to justify their existence.”

No need for that with Plummer, Frears said.

“When actors act as good as Christopher, there’s nothing to say,” the director said.

Although Plummer is part of a very exclusive club whose members each have won Oscar, Emmy and Tony awards, he declines to pick out his most satisfying performance.

“None of them,” he responds quickly. “I always feel I can be a hundred times better.”

Even in the case of an Oscar-winning role?

“Yes, of course, God, yes,” Plummer said. “I can go on forever talking about other people’s films. But not necessarily mine.”

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Lynn Elber is a national television columnist for The Associated Press.