In­ner tur­moil

Philip Sey­mour Hoff­man hailed as ‘great­est char­ac­ter ac­tor of his time’.

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - OBITUARY - By Jen­nie MATTHeW

Philip Sey­mour hoff­man, who was found dead in his New York apart­ment on Sun­day, was hailed as the finest char­ac­ter ac­tor of his gen­er­a­tion but strug­gled with fame and ad­dic­tion.

For more than 20 years, hoff­man mes­merised and en­ter­tained film­go­ers with his por­trayal of some of the most re­pel­lent and yet elec­tri­fy­ing char­ac­ters of the sil­ver screen.

he trans­formed movies through cal­cu­lat­ingly un­der­stated per­for­mances and his dar­ing choice of roles, qui­etly steal­ing scenes from much big­ger stars with his por­tray­als of mis­fits in films as di­verse as Boo­gie Nights and The Ta­lented Mr Ri­p­ley.

in 2006, he won an Os­car for his chill­ing turn as the bril­liant but self­ab­sorbed Amer­i­can au­thor Tru­man Capote and was im­me­di­ately flung into the A-list world of in­stantly recog­nised celebri­ties.

But, for all his suc- Mes­meris­ing: Philip Sey­mour Hoff­man en­ter­tained film­go­ers with his por­trayal of some of the most re­pel­lent and yet elec­tri­fy­ing char­ac­ters of the sil­ver screen for more than two decades.

Philip Sey­mour Hoff­man 1967 – 2014

cess, hoff­man was re­luc­tant in the lime­light and, in an in­ter­view with Bri­tain’s Guardian news­pa­per pub­lished in Oc­to­ber 2011, said he thought ev­ery­one strug­gles with selflove.

“i think that’s pretty much the hu­man con­di­tion, you know, wak­ing up and try­ing to live your day in a way that you can go to sleep and feel OK about your­self,” he was quoted as say­ing.

he spoke about his strug­gles with drink and drugs as a drama stu­dent at New York Univer­sity, and re­port­edly checked him­self back into re­hab in 2013 af­ter hav­ing a re­lapse with heroin.

his ca­reer spanned more than 50 films, as well as TV and the­atre cred­its, and in 2010, he be­came a di­rec­tor for the first time with Jack Goes Boat­ing.

he ap­peared in hol­ly­wood block­busters such as 2006’s Mis­sion: Im­pos­si­ble III along­side Tom Cruise and The Hunger Games, but was starred in some of di­rec­tor paul Thomas An­der­son’s best films.

he played strik­ing roles in An­der­son’s Mag­no­lia, star­ring Cruise (1999); in Flaw­less, in which he plays a melo­dra­matic drag queen op­po­site Robert De Niro, and in Punch-Drunk Love.

“Film’s hard when you don’t have any re­la­tion­ship with the di­rec­tor at all and you just show up,” hoff­man said in an in­ter­view with Esquire mag­a­zine in 2012.

“But that doesn’t hap­pen so of­ten with me. i’m lucky that way.”

Born philip hoff­man in July 1967 in Fair­port in New York state, he was the third of four chil­dren of a Xerox ex­ec­u­tive and a fem­i­nist house­wife. They di­vorced when he was nine.

he be­came in­ter­ested in the­atre and com­edy at school, but was also an ac­com­plished sports­man. he left home to study at the Tisch School of Arts at New York Univer­sity.

“The­atre’s the most tax­ing. But to act well is al­ways dif­fi­cult, no mat­ter the ma­te­rial,” he told Esquire.

in­cor­po­rat­ing his grand­fa­ther’s name, Sey­mour, be­tween his given names, he made his big screen de­but in a 1991 in­de­pen­dent film called Triple Bo­gey On A Par Five Hole.

in 1997, he made waves as a clos­eted gay crew mem­ber in An­der­son’s porn in­dus­try tale Boo­gie Nights.

But it was per­haps in An­thony Minghella’s thriller The Ta­lented Mr Ri­p­ley that he made his true break­through.

Al­though cast along­side A-list favourites Matt Da­mon, Jude law and Gwyneth pal­trow, he stole the show in a sup­port­ing role as the du­plic­i­tous prep­pie Fred­die Miles.

The late Minghella de­scribed hoff­man as an ex­tra­or­di­nary ac­tor “cursed, some­times, by his own gnaw­ing in­tel­li­gence, his own dis­com­fort with act­ing.”

Then came the 2005 biopic Capote, which put hoff­man cen­tre stage on his own.

in Ben­nett Miller’s movie about the out­spo­ken gay au­thor, hoff­man cap­tured not only Capote’s ef­fete de­meanour and high­pitched voice but also the pow­er­ful forces that drove him - and ul­ti­mately de­stroyed him – as an artist.

hoff­man won three more Os­car nom­i­na­tions af­ter Capote as a sup­port­ing ac­tor play­ing a foul-mouthed CiA agent in Char­lie Wil­son’s War in 2008, Doubt in 2009 and The Mas­ter in 2013. — AFp

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