The first major blow to the film industry in 2014 has been dealt. Philip Seymour Hoffman has died aged 46.
Hoffman was a prolific and incredibly versatile actor, and he did of course have an undeniable raw talent. As comfortable adding vitality to otherwise dull blockbusters (MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE III), in colourful comedy-drama supporting roles (THE BIG LEBOWSKI, ALMOST FAMOUS) or wowing serious critics (CAPOTE, THE MASTER), he tried his hand in multiple genres and filmmaking trends, even turning his hand to directing (JACK GOES BOATING), and demonstrated a massive performance range.
He’ll be best remembered by many for his regular collaborations with Paul Thomas Anderson, but for me personally, he’ll always be Max Jerry Horowitz, the Asperger’s Syndrome sufferer (or proud “Aspy” as he’d prefer) in a warm pen-relationship with a lonely Australian girl in Adam Elliot’s sublime black comic animation MARY AND MAX. Not many could bring such effortless warmth and relatability to a character who, by his very nature, could have been so alienating and elusive.
Hoffman reportedly died from a drug overdose, tragically cutting a memorable career far too short. SSP