Beginners writer-director Mike Mills says he didn't need to persuade Christopher Plummer to take on a gay role.

In the film, Oliver (played by Ewan McGregor) tells the story of his father, Hal (Plummer), trying to catch up on lost time after coming out gay at the age of 75. Hal begins to openly embrace his sexuality by socializing with other gay men and dating a man about the same age as his son (Goran Visnjic).

Hal is also attempting to reconnect with his son after being told he's terminally ill. (The film's trailer is embedded in the right panel of this page.)

Miller has said the film is loosely based on his father's late-in-life coming out gay.

In a new interview with gay glossy The Advocate, Mills was asked how he persuaded Plummer to take on his first gay role.

“In terms of being gay, there was never a word spoken about it, which I was really happy about. I was really grateful. He was treating it as a man, you know, who was in love with another man. And needed to do these things before he died, but it wasn't like a big issue. And talking to Christopher just in general as an actor, you know, you don't believe you're going to get Christopher Plummer to be in your movie – he's too great, too legendary. But once you meet him, he's really simple. He likes to work, loves to work, loves to work with other actors. He doesn't think of himself as a big deal – big legend – he just wants to do it.”

Mills also talked about his father's coming out, which he described as positive.