I literally lost my ability to breathe a mere few minutes ago when I learned that Philip Seymour Hoffman was found dead in his apartment today. It really saddens me to see how such an enormous talent is being taken away from us – the lovers of film – in this most tragic event. Considering his young age of 46, it hurts even more to think we will never see him on screen again.
Looking back through his achievements, I really can’t think of Philip Seymour Hoffman as a Hollywood star. Always in the background, he was the underappreciated king of the supporting cast. Apart from his breath-taking leading role in “Capote”, which ultimately won him the only Academy Award in his career, I can’t think of any other film with him at the helm. Moreover, I always considered him a bit of a chameleon in his ability to embody any type of character and breathe a very unique type of energy into parts that otherwise would be completely different, or forgettable. Never over-the-top in his on-screen transformations, but always subtle and calculated, Philip Seymour Hoffman had this talent never to foreshadow the lead actors, but still remain this little shining star in the back.
From “The Master” to “Mission: Impossible 3”, he was never afraid to jump pigeonholes. He dabbled in genre cinema only to create the most magnificent art-house spectacles right after never fearing new challenges. I sure will never forget his recent unforgettable performances in “Moneyball”, or P.T. Anderson’s work with the aforementioned “The Master” as prime example, which on its own is enough to show off his wonderful talent. Add to that his role in “Capote” and you will see his talent for what it really was – truly outstanding.
But I guess, the greatest talents are also very often the most troubled and fragile. Therefore, we should really appreciate the great actors and film-makers while they’re still around, because they might not be there the next day. I shall remember Philip Seymour Hoffman as one of the greatest and most unappreciated talents of his generation, and I can only thank him for the enjoyment he brought me with his work. I’ll be sure to revisit some of his greatest work and hopefully get the chance to see him on the big screen for the last time in “God’s Pocket”, or “A Most Wanted Man”.