Philip Seymour Hoffman’s death has stunned me. I’ve long regarded him as the finest supporting actor in the world, like George C Scott or Gary Oldman (before he made ‘Leon’, obviously). I wasn’t aware Hoffman was battling an addiction – why would I be? He was Lester Bangs in ‘almost famous’, The Count in ‘The boat that rocked’ and Phil Parma in ‘Magnolia’. This guy must’ve been great if he can make me defend a Tom Cruise movie AND one by Richard Curtis.
Like George C Scott, watching Hoffman was like never having seen him before in anything. He looked like he was born to play *that* part, like no other. Every single time.
He was a massive presence (remember ‘The talented Mr Ripley’?’)
I heard he was dead on twitter this morning. I haven’t pored over all the ‘best of’ video clips, nor have I settled down to watch ‘The boat that rocked’ or ‘Magnolia’. I don’t even know much more of his recent history than “forty-six and a drug overdose”.
Acting’s one of the jobs that burns people out if they’re any good at it and it’s now sounding like Hoffman had his fair share of demons. Harvey Keitel once said that if he hadn’t been able to externalise all his demons in front of the camera, he’d probably have ended up killing someone. And now those demons have taken away the finest supporting actor in all of Christendom.

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