Oscar-winning Philip Seymour Hoffman, who struggled with drug abuse, died today of an apparent drug overdose at age 46. Hoffman, often referred to as the most talented actor of his generation, was an actor of unsurpassed scope, dedication, and intelligence.
He spoke of his Rochester childhood—he especially looked up to his mom, a judge and lawyer who had raised three kids alone. It was soon apparent he had more respect for the stage than the movies. He was deeply disappointed in me that I had chosen Chicago as my husband’s first Broadway show instead of the more challenging revival of Cabaret directed by Sam Mendes. Hoffman was far from loquacious that day—he saved whatever intense emotions he harbored for the characters he played.
Ali Arikan wrote:
Philip Seymour Hoffman was a brave performer in every sense. He gave his characters his all. To watch him at his peak in films like “The Master,” or “Magnolia,” or “Synecdoche, New York” was to experience a beautiful rawness. That honesty, as well as his amazing talent, allowed him to master a truly unbelievable range. He belongs in the pantheon of the greats.
When you hear about cutting-room fights, it almost always means the star thinks he or she is coming off as too unlikable and wants the director to ratchet up the vulnerability quotient. But Hoffman was arguing to make Capote lessattractive—to make him, in fact, thoroughly reprehensible. He said he told Miller, “The way toward empathy is actually to be as hard as possible on this character.”
I said I had no idea what he was talking about.
“I think deep down inside, people understand how flawed they are,” he said. “I think the more benign you make somebody, the less truthful it is.”