It is very unfortunate that in the days following the death of Philip Seymour Hoffman, all that seems to be discussed is his well hidden heavy drug abuse and the fact that he was found with a needle still in his arm. This was obviously a very internally tortured person. Like many other great artist, he had a sadness about him. It could be seen even when he smiled on red carpets. His personal demons clearly got the best of him and this is sad to me which is why I prefer to remember him when he seemed happiest and that was on screen.
Philip Seymour Hoffman had a true gift for acting. He was one of the greatest actors oh generation with an ability to so naturally deliver dialogue and play any character put in front of him, be it dramatic or comedic, his timing was impeccable.
The native of the Rochester, NY area would go on the be one of the most consistent and best actors working whose talents are unparalleled. Many would first notice him as the spoiled little rich kid in the Al Pacino film Scent Of A Woman. I was 16 when I first noticed Hoffman as the goofy and lovable Dusty in Twister where his lines were memorable and at the heart of the films light hearted side. The next year would be Hoffman’s coming out party when he was cast in Paul Thomas Anderson’s Boogie Nights as the awkward and obsessed Scotty J. The roles just kept coming and getting better for Hoffman. He honed his craft for all the years that followed garnering four Academy Award nominations winning in 2006 for portraying Truman Capote in Capote, five Golden Globe nominations and winning also for Capote.
Hoffman raised the level of credibility to every project hi participated in and he could work with the best of the best in Hollywood and he did just that challenging himself every step of the way. His last Oscar nominated Role teamed him up with his Boogie Nights director in The Master where he played a role extremely different than Scotty J. where he “masterfully” played the leader of an upstart religion.
Hoffman had three films slated to be released this year and he was recently at the Sundance Film Festival promoting his latest film, God’s Pocket, directed by Mad Men star John Slattery.
I like to remember Hoffman as Lester Bangs in Almost Famous because it was a character I think closely resembled himself. He played a smart intelligent loner who struggled with the world he lived in and with those around him. He felt out of place and uncool. He says to his protege in the film, “The only true currency in this bankrupt world, is what you share with someone else when you are uncool.” Thankfully what Hoffman shared with us when he felt uncool was captured forever on Camera.
It is my hope that his last few films will be classic Hoffman so that the film going audience will remember Hoffman for his brilliance on screen and not for the tragic way in which he left us all too soon.