Sunday, February 2, 2014

RIP Philip Seymour Hoffman

     In shockingly sad news, actor and director Philip Seymour Hoffman was found dead at the age of 46 in his Manhattan apartment. No official cause of death as been determined, but it is believed to be from a drug overdose. This is catastrophic news. Not just to the film and theater community, but to his family and friends. There has not be a death in the film community that has punched me in the stomach so hard since the death Heath Ledger six years ago. Hoffman was one of the greatest actors of our generation. Talent without limitations. He made it look so easy and also made other actors step their game up. I cannot even process this. He was one of the best and always delivered.
     The first time I saw Hoffman in a film was in Paul Thomas Anderson's Boogie Nights. The role of Scotty J. was ballsy, nutty performance that showed the depths of his ability to take risks and his natural gifts of being a fantastic actor. Look at the filmmakers he worked with: Coen brothers (The Big Lebowski); Mike Nichols (Charlie Wilson's War); Bennett Miller (Capote, Moneyball); Spike Lee (25th Hour); Todd Solondz (Happiness); Cameron Crowe (Almost Famous); Anthony Minghella (The Talented Mr. RipleyCold Mountain); Sidney Lumet (Before the Devil Knows You're Dead); Charlie Kaufman (Synecdoche, New York); George Clooney (The Ides of March) and his memorable collaboration and work with Paul Thomas Anderson (Hard Eight, Boogie Nights, MagnoliaPunch-Drunk Love and The Master). When I think of Hoffman, I will always think of the magical relationship he had with Anderson. My favorite performance would be a tough one to nail down, but all of his work with Anderson is perfect and challenging. Absolutely brilliant stuff. The work with Lumet is some of his best.
     Hoffman won Best Actor at the Oscars for his brilliant portrayal of Truman Capote in Capote. He was nominated for three other acting Oscars for The Master, Charlie Wilson's War and Doubt. He also directed his first feature film in 2010 titled Jack Goes Boating. Recently, he had signed on Jake Gyllenhaal and Amy Adams to work with him on his second directorial effort, the supernatural thriller Ezekiel Moss. Hoffman was also an established stage actor, receiving three Tony award nominations. 
     Hoffman was a professional and one of the finest actors of all-time. I always love watching what he did with the role of the pesky, annoying little assistant Brandt in the Coen's The Big Lebowski. That nervous, snarky little laugh he gives when Brandt hears Mr. Lebowski's wife overs fellatio to Lebowski is classic. His work in Magnolia is some of the most powerful work he has ever done and Capote would not be the same without his spot-on performance, full of arrogance and compassion. This is so saddening to hear of his death. Far too young. The film and theatre community has lost a masterful performer. Selfishly, I have lost one of my favorite actors of any period in film history. A brilliant, serious and comedic actor, who could do no wrong. Life is a challenge and who knows what people, mentally and physically, go through. I have trouble having sympathy for a drug overdose. No excuse for that. However, I do have empathy for the reasons why drugs were used as an outlet to cover whatever problems might be going on. I am not here to judge and it is not the place or time for that from anyone. All I hope is that his family is safe and full of love during this devastating time. We will always have his legendary films and performances to remember him by. Full of intensity and laughs. I am shocked of his death and truly saddened. We lost one of the good ones.

Photo credit by

No comments:

Post a Comment