Two-time Emmy(R) winner and 2009 Academy Award(R) nominee Christopher Plummer (The Last Station) will narrate Turner Classic Movies’ (TCM) ambitious, seven-part original production MOGULS AND MOVIE STARS: A HISTORY OF HOLLYWOOD. This comprehensive true story behind the making of the American movie industry is being co-produced by TCM and Bill Haber’s Ostar Productions. The series is slated to premiere in November 2010.
“It is an honor for us to welcome Christopher Plummer to TCM’s largest and most important original production to date,” said Michael Wright, executive vice president, head of programming for TCM, TNT and TBS. “His distinctive and elegant voice will be the perfect guide through the extraordinary history of American film.”
The true story of the American film industry has as many ups and downs, twists and turns as the latest big-budget thriller, not to mention a cast of characters worthy of a shelf full of Oscars(R). MOGULS AND MOVIE STARS: A HISTORY OF HOLLYWOOD will tell this extraordinary tale over the course of seven one-hour documentaries, each focusing on a different era of American movie history. Spanning from the invention of the first moving pictures to the revolutionary, cutting-edge films of the 1960s, this production will feature rarely seen photographs and film footage, clips from memorable American movies and interviews with distinguished historians and major Hollywood figures.
At its heart, the documentary series will be a personal history of Hollywood, detailing the personalities, inter-personal relationships, collaborations and conflicts that created an industry and an art form. The series will also serve as a history of America, looking at how moviemakers responded to such major events as the Great Depression, World War II and the Civil Rights movement.
MOGULS AND MOVIE STARS: A HISTORY OF HOLLYWOOD is executive-produced by Bill Haber (TNT’s Nightmares & Dreamscapes: From the Stories of Stephen King; Broadway’s The History Boys and Monty Python’s Spamalot). It is being directed, written and produced by four-time Emmy nominee Jon Wilkman.
As a special sneak preview, TCM will screen a rough cut of the first episode of MOGULS AND MOVIE STARS, at the TCM Classic Film Festival next week in Hollywood. The screening, set for Friday, April 23, at 1:15 p.m. at the Egyptian Theatre, will include a panel discussion with Michael Wright, Bill Haber, Jon Wilkman as well as Tom Brown, vice president of original productions for TCM.
Christopher Plummer scored a career triumph last year in his Oscar-nominated performance as Leo Tolstoy in The Last Station, with Helen Mirren. He also provided voices for the hit animated films Up and 9 and starred with the late Heath Ledger in Terry Gilliam’s The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus. Plummer recently completed shooting for the drama Beginners, with Ewan McGregor, and the comic book adaptation Priest, with Paul Bettany, both of which are set for release next year.
Since director Sidney Lumet introduced Plummer to the screen in Stage Struck (1957), Plummer has appeared in a host of films, including the Oscar-winning The Sound of Music (1965), The Fall of the Roman Empire (1964), Inside Daisy Clover (1965), Oedipus the King (1968), The Battle of Britain (1969), The Man Who Would Be King (1975), Return of the Pink Panther (1975), The Silent Partner (1978), Murder by Decree (1979), Eyewitness (1981), Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (1991), Malcolm X (1992), Wolf (1994), Delores Claiborne (1995), Twelve Monkeys (1995), The Insider (1999), A Beautiful Mind (2001), Ararat (2002), Cold Creek Manor (2003), Syriana (2005) and Inside Man (2006).
Plummer’s numerous narration credits include The Making of a Legend: Gone with the Wind (1988), which premiered on TNT when that network first launched. He also provided narration for The First Emperor of China (1989) and Lost Over Burma: Search for Closure (1997).
A Canadian from Montreal, Plummer made his professional debut on stage and radio in both French and English. Since his New York debut in 1954, Plummer has starred in many prestigious Broadway productions, including his Tony-winning performances in Cyrano (1973) and Barrymore (1997). In 2004, he scored his sixth Tony nomination for his performance in the title role of King Lear at Lincoln Center. He garnered a seventh nomination in 2007 for his work in Inherit the Wind.
Plummer has been a leading actor at Great Britain’s National Theatre under Sir Laurence Olivier, the Royal Shakespeare Company under Sir Peter Hall and, in its formative years, the Stratford Festival of Canada under Sir Tyrone Guthrie and his mentor, Michael Langham.
Plummer’s many honors include Great Britain’s Evening Standard Award, plus one nomination; two Emmys, plus six nominations; a Genie Award for Murder by Decree and Genie nominations for The Amateur (1981), Impolite (1992) and Blizzard (2003). In 1968, sanctioned by Queen Elizabeth II, he was made a Companion of the Order of Canada, the equivalent of an Honorary Knighthood. He also received the Governor General’s Life Achievement Award, an Honorary Doctor of Fine Arts from New York’s Julliard School and additional honorary doctorates from five major Canadian universities. Plummer was elected into the Theatre’s Hall of Fame in 1986 and joined Canada’s Walk of Fame in 1999.
Turner Classic Movies is a Peabody Award-winning network that presents great films, uncut and commercial-free, from the largest film libraries in the world. Currently seen in more than 80 million homes, TCM features the insights of veteran primetime host Robert Osborne and weekend daytime host Ben Mankiewicz, plus interviews with a wide range of special guests. As the foremost authority in classic films, TCM offers critically acclaimed original documentaries and specials, along with regular programming events that include The Essentials, 31 Days of Oscar and Summer Under the Stars. TCM also stages special events and screenings, such as the upcoming TCM Classic Film Festival in Hollywood; produces a wide range of media about classic film, including books and DVDs; and hosts a wealth of materials at its Web site, www.tcm.com. TCM is part of Turner Broadcasting System, Inc., a Time Warner company.