“While I’ve often lamented the loss of a beloved actor within a movie write up, I don’t think I’ve ever given one their own post before. However, Philip Seymour Hoffman has been such a respected favorite of mine for years, I just felt I had to say something.
For me, the role where he first caught my eye was Magnolia. It’s one of my absolute favorite films ever, and part of why I love it is the rich cast. But of all the big names and bigger performances (many of whom I was being introduced to for the first time when I first saw this), Hoffman was the one that stood out most. In the middle of everyone’s surreal stories, he was the most grounded and the most relatable. He added such emotional depth and substance to the movie, and from then on, I was always excited to catch him on screen.
Not too long after that was when I started to get serious about loving film. One of the first things I did was dive into a bunch of Edward Norton’s work. Hoffman collaborated with him on a few during that era. Namely Red Dragon and 25th Hour. For me, those took him from being “”that nurse dude in Magnolia”” to Philip Seymour Hoffman, actor extraordinare.
Over the years, I saw more and more of his work, both keeping up with the new ones and catching up on the old ones. Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead, The Master, Boogie Nights, Big Lebowski, Hard Eight, Mission Impossible 3, Moneyball, Ides of March, Doubt, Charlie Wilson’s War, Almost Famous, Talented Mr Ripley. Not a bad or even mediocre performance in the lot. Always at the top of his game, and always making the film that much better just by being there.
I remember cheering so hard for him when he won the Academy Award for Capote. My Oscar obsession was just beginning, but I knew that this man deserved the recognition. Not just for this role, but for his career.
When I heard the news about his passing, I couldn’t breathe. I stared at my computer screen in utter shock and disbelief, and I couldn’t process it. Once I did start to get a grasp on what was happening, my first thought was how absolutely \m/ grateful I was that I got to see him on Broadway in Death of a Salesman.
As soon as I heard his name attached to one of the greatest plays ever written, I knew it would be worth the trip to NYC. I sat in the cheap seats at the back of the balcony, but even then, the second he walked on stage I felt I was in the presence of greatness. There are no words to describe that performance. I kinda knew that I wouldn’t be able to catch him at the stage door afterwards, and while I was disappointed, now I feel it was all for the best. The whole “”never meet your hero”” adage, and he certainly was one of mine. Besides, some of the rest of the cast made that rank among the best stage door meetings I’ve ever had. I think it would have been just a bit too surreal for me to have caught him too.
I think what affected me most was just mourning the loss of any future performances from this brilliant actor. He would have had many long years of incredible work ahead of him, and it devastates me that the world is now deprived of those. But the legacy he left behind is one that can’t be matched by anyone else.”