Idol Chatter

doubtpic.jpgI’ll see Philip Seymour Hoffman in just about anything–his acting is brilliant to a shocking degree, but even rarer is the way he disappears into a role, despite the fact that we all know who he is by now.
If you like Hoffman as much as I do, then this week’s New York Times Magazine cover article, “A Higher Calling,” is not to be missed: reporter Lynn Hirschberg attempts to get into Hoffman’s head when he’s getting his head around a particular part, including the accused Father Flynn in “Doubt.”

On becoming Father Flynn, Hoffman explains about his struggle with the character:
“On every film, you’ll have nights where you wake up at 2 in the morning and think, I’m awful in this,” he recalled. “You see how delicate it is — a little movement to the right or the left, and you’re hopelessly hokey.” [“Doubt”] revolves around the question of the priest’s culpability, but that is not what mattered to Hoffman. Hoffman plays the priest as a reformer, a man interested in a more philosophical and tolerant approach to religion. Shanley had given Hoffman a “back story” on Father Flynn, who is based, in part, on a teacher who had a profound impact on Shanley as a boy, but Hoffman added his own interpretation. “I did research by, among other things, going to church. As a kid, I was confirmed and I went to church, but I was bored. Now, I feel the opposite: A good sermon is just like theater. It combines the political scene and the Scriptures, and I thought, Hey, I could do it like that. It’s like a teacher getting up and saying, This is the school I come from.”
I saw “Doubt” as a play on Broadway. I haven’t seen the film yet–but I will this weekend. And I can’t wait to see “Philip Seymour Hoffman as Priest”–his performance is sure to be a work of art.
Philip Seymour Hoffman at

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