Hector and the Search for Happiness is a sweet, slightly familiar, slice-of-life story from Funny Bones and Hear My Song director Peter Chelsom starring Simon Pegg, Rosamund Pike, Toni Collette and screen legend Christopher Plummer. We spoke with the Academy Award winning actor about his role in the film adaptation and his thoughts on happiness.
Christopher Plummer has been working in cinema for decades and joins both Jean Reno and Stellan Skarsgård in small but memorable roles in his latest film. While Simon Pegg’s Hector is on a search for what he thinks is happiness, Plummer’s “mad” scientist character Professor Coreman is there to set him straight on the science of the emotion and put Hector to the test with an emotionally revealing experiment. Playing Professor Coreman turned out to be a role that was, as Plummer revealed, both thrilling and challenging at the same time.
Of his character, Plummer told Nerdist, “He’s sort of a mad Stephen Hawking, this man, isn’t he? I mean, he’s an extraordinary kind of creature who is experimenting with a word that really doesn’t exist. ‘Happiness’ does not exist, as we all know. The word ‘joy’ is a better word because we can take great joy in what we do sometimes and what we don’t do and what we love, that’s joy. Happiness is a word that belongs to a Walt Disney cartoon. It’s too cute for words and as a kid I remember all of us youngsters tried to run away from it and pretend that it doesn’t exist. We thought it was sissy to be happy, we were going to be dark and evil and have joy and all of that but happiness, we don’t know what that means. So this wonderful old character has that behind it too, he has all of those qualities behind it as well as is sort of spiel he uses in his lectures to get attention. I love the character. He’s a phony, false old scientist.”
Plummer continued his thoughts on “happiness” saying, “‘The pursuit of happiness;’ if you pursue happiness, you’re insane. You’re going to waste an awful lot of time when you could be doing other far more creative things.” When I asked him how he felt about working with co-stars Simon Pegg and Toni Collette, Plummer had nothing but kind things to say. “I think that Simon is a terribly talented writer as well as being a terrific comedian and I think that he couldn’t be more ideal as that creature. I think, insane as it is, he’s trying desperately to find some joy in the world even though he misunderstands the word.” Plummer continued to sing the praises of his co-stars, saying, “Toni [Collette], I think she’s such a versatile wonderful actress, I had such fun with her and Simon both. I didn’t have enough with Simon really, we didn’t have an awful lot together but for what we did have, I liked him enormously.”
Hector and the Pursuit of Happiness, starring Simon Pegg, Rosamund Pike, Toni Collette and Christopher Plummer, hits theaters Friday.