I didn’t write a tribute or an obituary immediately after he died. Not that much time has passed in the greater scheme of things, but from the perspective of doing a news story or covering a current event, hence why this is a blog. Phillip was a Funkin’ good mutherFunkin’ actor, a thespian, a true artist… right down to the way he thought, his thought process.
His expression in this interview, gives the listener, friend, admirer or fanatic, an inside look into the mind of Phillip Seymour Hoffman. In this interview, Hoffman talks about the perception of happiness and gives light on his approach to acting. Acting was definitely an avenue for him to exhaust a complex collection of emotions. Me blogging about it, is a way to retain it for easy access as opposed to hunting for it years from now, as the words and sentiment expressed… is timeless…
Since the animated video initially attached to this piece may at some point not be available, below are excerpts of the original interview, as an actual transcript of it in it’s entirety is not immediately accessible — Taken from Rolling Stone (rs), the animation was part of a PBS series:
“Meditation is actually coming right up to the lip of death and saying, ‘I’m here, I’m scared, that’s life,'” Philip Seymour Hoffman said, midway into a 2012 interview that PBS has recently animated. “If you can actually live in that place [meditation], then that’s what happens. Learning how to die is therefore learning how to live.”
Hoffman sat for the interview, which was conducted by Simon Critchley at New York City’s Rubin Museum of Art, just over a year before his death, and the subjects at hand were deep – but PBS has animated the chat as part of its “Blank on Blank” series in a whimsical way. Hoffman described his acrimonious relationship with the concept of “pleasure,” the times that he feels happy (with his children) and why he felt the need to play such gut-wrenching roles. “If I don’t allow people to somehow identify with the worst inside themselves, they never have a chance of walking out with that person inside their heart or in their minds,” he said of the latter topic. “They’re too easy to dismiss. It might not be the thing to admit to a friend, but if you’re honest you probably kind of do.”
Hoffman died on February 2nd, 2014 of a mixture of drugs, including heroin, cocaine, benzodiazepines and amphetamine. A posthumous cover story in Rolling Stone revealed that Hoffman’s death did not come at the end of a downward spiral. Moreover, the actor’s friends did not feel he was on a suicidal streak; rather, his death was the result of a relapse gone bad.
“People always say ‘life is short,’ and as we get older, time does quicken,” Hoffman said during his Rubin interview. “It’s long pertaining to that thought that the past is not done with you because you can’t get rid of it so therefore it just starts to drag… The past does creep in pretty quickly. And that is a difficult one in how to keep it there and not have it ruin it.” END rs
I held a particular fondness for Hoffman, for as much I enjoyed his work, aspects of his performances and demeanor, remind me of a personal friend of mine (T.V.). I actually interviewed Hoffman for his documentary film “Last Party 2000.” A follow-up to “The Last Party” of 1993 that featured Robert Downey Jr. “That should be cool,” I thought, and it was, but it was more interesting… in a real way, as in the midst of the interview it was clear that Hoffman’s approach to acting and views on society were all the same. Acting was to his life, just as much as any social issue. He struck me as a soul that was still seeking, that was his journey, and along the way he entertained us and made us see aspects of human nature a little differently. Brilliance trapped in a beautiful misery, my wife and I mourned him and appreciated his offerings.
Some of my favorite films that he appeared in are: “Hard Eight”, “Boogie Nights”, “Magnolia”, “Punch Drunk Love”, “The Master”, which were all directed by P.T. Anderson; “Almost Famous”, “Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead”, “Along Came Polly”, “The Big Lebowski”, “25th Hour,” “Synecdoche, New York” (love Charlie K., just not sure about that film, although it has redeeming qualities) and his Oscar awarded “Capote.” By the time “Capote” was announced, I felt it was perfect for him given his work thus far, and he nailed it. This is a link to the Rolling Stone item they did shortly after he passed, it features clips from “nine often overlooked roles,” chosen by Rob LeDonne http://www.rollingstone.com/movies/pictures/9-overlooked-philip-seymour-hoffman-performances-20140203. It continues to haunt me how some who bring millions so much joy, can be so tortured with themselves.