While the 24-hour news cycle tries to piece together the last day in the life of Philip Seymour Hoffman, embarrassing themselves in the process (sorry CNN, we don’t need an interview with the guy who made him coffee on Saturday morning), we continue to mourn the loss of the actor. In case you missed it, yesterday saw a nice 7-minute tribute reel make the rounds online, and a couple more folks have spoken about their fondness and feelings for Hoffman in the wake of his death.
Director Cameron Crowe, who was behind the camera for Hoffman’s great turn as legendary rock journalist Lester Bangs in “Almost Famous,” shared his recollection on the actor’s ability to transform a scene and character all at once. Here’s what he had to say over his blog, The Uncool, about Hoffman’s scene on the phone with William (watch it below):
My original take on this scene was a loud, late night pronouncement from Lester Bangs. A call to arms. In Phil’s hands it became something different. A scene about quiet truths shared between two guys, both at the crossroads, both hurting, and both up too late. It became the soul of the movie. In between takes, Hoffman spoke to no one. He listened only to his headset, only to the words of Lester himself. (His Walkman was filled with rare Lester interviews.) When the scene was over, I realized that Hoffman had pulled off a magic trick. He’d leapt over the words and the script, and gone hunting for the soul and compassion of the private Lester, the one only a few of us had ever met. Suddenly the portrait was complete. The crew and I will always be grateful for that front row seat to his genius.
Meanwhile, Chaz Ebert, speaking to THR, revealed that there was chatter about Hoffman playing Roger Ebert on the big screen. “I didn’t see Phil at Sundance, but I was talking to someone, saying, ‘You know he’s here. I heard Roger would like [Hoffman] to play him in a movie, what do you think about that?’ ” she said, adding: “Roger and I thought he was just terrific. We thought he was one of the best actors of any age. He was just so versatile, and he was a brilliant, very smart human being.”
“It’s so, so sad, and addiction is a really, really difficult thing. I really have so much sympathy for his children and his partner and his mother, whom Roger knew and liked a lot,” she continued.
Hoffman was Ebert? He certainly could’ve pulled it off, but unfortunately, we’ll never know. As for one of his final films, as Plutarch Heavensbee in “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay” parts one and two, while his death won’t affect the release dates, the filmmaker’s will have a bit of a challenge as the actor apparently had one more scene left to film. But they don’t seem too worried about it.
“We’re all extraordinarily sad,” a Lionsgate executive told THR. “But as it relates to production, it’s going to have no impact. Obviously, we’re going to have a couple of work-around issues but the movie will be creatively whole. His performances in both [remaining] movies will be up to the best of his craft. We feel it will be a good tribute to him.”
Another source close to the movie told the site, “….they seem to have plans that don’t seem very complicated” suggesting that, “You can do digital things, you can have conversations where you’re not focusing on him but the people he’s talking to.”
So, a few quick camera tricks and digital touchups, and perhaps it’ll be like he never left us. If only.