With the second season of “Departure” set to debut in the fall, star Archie Panjabi is reflecting on late co-star Christopher Plummer, who died in February at age 91.
“There are a lot of great actors, but there are, in my opinion, very few actors that have the power to completely mesmerize when they’re on the screen. And I think [Christopher Plummer] was one of those actors that had that gift,” Panjabi said in an interview with Us Weekly.
“When he spoke on screen, he was so enigmatic. You just wanted to listen to every word he said with that beautiful voice and twinkle in the eye. His diction was absolutely perfect. He just had a quality about him that was magnetic. And I think any role that you see in all the films that he’s done he just stands out,” she added.
“As a co-star, he’s a brilliant actor. He always gives you so much to work off. He had a great sense of humour. He’s very charming, very kind. He’s just a very, very special man. And I feel very honoured to have worked with him. The Sound of Music was one of my first films as a child to watch that inspired me to become an actress. And when I learned he was attached to [Departure] I was so excited. It was like a dream come true getting to work with him,” Panjabi continued. “And at the end, I didn’t look at him as an actor. I just looked at him as Christopher. He was a beautiful soul.”
As the magazine points out, Plummer was able to film his final scenes for the second season from his Connecticut home during the pandemic, and he’d already been written out of the show prior to his death with a scene in which his character, former Transport Safety and Investigations Bureau manager Howard Lawson, tells Panjabi’s character that he was suffering from an illness and was “close to the end.”
“It was emotional to do,” Panjabi said of that scene. “Just delivering that dialogue was hard, but then having watched it since [Plummer’s death] it’s been heartbreaking and very powerful. And I think those conversations, when I first started, all my scenes with Howard are on the phone. [And I said,] ‘How are they going to be strong enough?’ But I think they [went] really well and they offer a nice sort of break from the investigating side of the show.”
Looking back, Panjabi treasures the time she got to spend with the legendary Canadian actor.
“We just struck a bond from day one, then stayed in touch and just had so much fun together. It’s a huge tragedy. But I do remember that we did press together… And I was so honoured. A lot of staff want to do the press by themselves. I remember doing about 20 interviews. And it’s quite tiring when you do so many and you really want to give each journalist something exciting and interesting,” she recalled. “At the end of every interview, he would just turn around and whisper something funny in my ear. He had a twinkle in his eyes and we are both sarcastic and he’s very witty. He would always say something that would just keep me laughing.”