It’s hard to know where to start with Philip Seymour Hoffman — the plethora of filmmakers he worked with? The countless accolades and acclaim that came his way? His indescribable abilities? — but he was one of acting’s greatest talents, and he’s sadly passed away today at the far too young age of 46.
A graduate of New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, Hoffman made his way to the stage — where he continued to return routinely both as actor and director — but it was on the big screen where he would make his mark. Breaking out in “Scent Of A Woman,” Hoffman soon came to the attention of top tier filmmakers who would tap his enormous breadth of skill, which found him easily bouncing between the comic and dramatic (often landing in the middle) with great ease, and refusing to be pigeonholed.
He was a regular collaborator with Paul Thomas Anderson, featuring in five of the director’s seven films to date. And the roster of filmmakers who dialed him up, and the resulting work, speaks for itself: Sidney Lumet (“Before The Devil Knows You’re Dead“), Bennett Miller (“Moneyball,” “Capote“), Charlie Kaufman (“Synecdoche, New York“), Anthony Minghella (“Cold Mountain,” “The Talented Mr. Ripley“), Spike Lee (“25th Hour“), Mike Nichols (“Charlie Wilson’s War“), George Clooney (“Ides Of March“), the Coen Brothers (“The Big Lebowski“), Todd Solondz (“Happiness“) and so much more. And Hoffman also dipped his toes in blockbuster fare from time to time, appearing in “Mission: Impossible III” and, more recently, “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” (that status of his role, which would’ve found him appearing in the “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay” sequels, is unclear for now).
Upcoming, Hoffman was slated to step into the world of television with “Happyish” on Showtime co-starring Kathryn Hahn, and had recently landed Jake Gyllenhaal and Amy Adams (a frequent co-star and friend) for his next directorial effort “Ezekiel Moss.” The actor had also appeared in two recently completed films that premiered at Sundance: “A Most Wanted Man” (review here) and “God’s Pocket” (review here).
Hoffman was nominated four times for an Oscar, winning his first time out for Best Actor for “Capote” (for which he also won a Golden Globe). In his private life, he was married with three children, and had dealt with drug and alcohol addiction shortly after he finished school. Last year, it was widely reported he had relapsed, prompting another visit to rehab. The NYPost is reporting that Hoffman has died of an overdose.
Hoffman’s death is a devastating loss to the film community and theater world. There is no understating Hoffman’s immense abilities, and his importance to his colleagues and friends. Our thoughts are with his family.