It has been only three years since the tragic passing of Philip Seymour Hoffman, a man that has been called the greatest actor of our generation. And, we couldn’t agree more, yet every time we think about it, it makes us sad that we have all lost such a great acting talent, way before his time.
Philip Seymour Hoffman was born and raised in Fairmont, a suburb of Rochester, New York, and in his early teens he exemplified a passion for acting, starting off in the theatre of his school plays, after a neck injury which curbed his ability to compete in baseball and wrestling. In 1984, he attended New York Summer School for the Arts in Saratoga, and then later brought those enhanced skills towards further work in the theatre at his High School. Later, Hoffman studied Drama at NYU and he often appeared off-Broadway, in numerous theatre productions, but after graduating from NYU, he managed to land a role on ‘Law & Order’, his first ever screen-acting job. After this, he got small roles in ‘Leap of Faith’ with Steve Martin and in the film ‘Scent of a Woman’, plus also in the natural disaster film ‘Twister’, alongside Helen Hunt.
Soon enough, people had begun noticing this passionate and articulate actor, rising up in the film business, which later saw him link up with young film director, Paul Thomas Anderson, landing him his first supporting role in a P.T. Anderson film, the ‘Hard Eight’. Fast forward to 1997, where Philip Seymour Hoffman got the role in another one of P.T. Anderson’s films, playing ‘Scotty J’, a boom operator in the cult classic film, ‘Boogie Nights’ about the golden years of pornography in the late seventies and early eighties, portraying a role of unrequited love for the lead character of ‘Dirk Diggler’, played by Mark Wahlberg.
This role was a major vehicle for Hoffman’s future success, as other challenging roles followed with his role in Tom Solondz ‘Happiness’, and a small role in ‘The Big Lebowski’, but after 1998, he always kept returning to the theatre, almost as if film work, was never enough.
Philip Seymour Hoffman took his craft very seriously and it shows in all his wonderful performances throughout the years. Another eye-catching performance was in the 1999 film, ‘Flawless’ starring alongside Robert De Niro, playing “Rusty Zimmerman” a drag queen who is at odds with his neighbour that is played by Robert De Niro, a tough guy, but the film evolves into a friendship between the two characters in the end. This performance got Hoffman a SAG nomination and his stock as a great actor was rising incredibly fast, after yet another breakthrough performance.
He got a great supporting role in ‘The Talented Mr. Ripley’ alongside Matt Damon, and also played a male nurse in P.T. Anderson’s other masterpiece ‘Magnolia’, trying to unite a dying man’s last wish to re-connect with his son, played by Tom Cruise. All these performances were nothing short of breathtaking and you could easily already say that Philip Seymour Hoffman, “was one of the greatest to ever act”.
Apart from those great performances, in his later years, he appeared in ‘Capote’, playing Truman Capote, which earned him an SAG, Golden Globe and even an Oscar for ‘Best Actor’ at the Academy Awards in 2006.
We could continue to list all of Hoffman’s amazing performances for days, even mentioning “Charlie Wilson’s War’ in 2007, just take a look at this scene, in case you forgot.
He also starred in ‘Before The Devil Knows Your Dead’ in 2007, alongside Ethan Hawke, with a riveting role of self loathing in a dramatic thriller, juxtaposed with drug addiction debts, which also starred Marisa Tomei. He also received acclaim and praise alongside Meryl Streep in the film, ‘Doubt’, where he played a Catholic priest that was accused of child molestation.
He then landed later roles in the ‘Mission Impossible 3’ film franchise alongside Tom Cruise, playing a villain, as well as other unexpected film roles in ‘The Hunger Games: Catching Fire & Mockingjay Pt. 1 & 2’, the latter released after his death, all films that you would never have thought that Philip Hoffman would appear in, but with those roles brought instantaneous authenticity to the respective film productions.
However, let’s get down to perhaps the greatest role in his career, a role he had reportedly been told not to play, which was the masterpiece, ‘The Master’ (2012) alongside Joaquim Phoenix, directed once again by P.T. Anderson.
The film was loosely based on Scientology or that’s what was said before it’s release and that it was only loosely based on Ron L. Hubbard’s Sci-Fi religion, which he had created back in 1954.
Later reports have come out and said that even some of the questions used in the famous processing scene, were directly taken from Scientology’s screening process list of questions. In the scene where Hoffman “Lancaster Dodd” does his processing on Joaquim Phoenix’s character of “Freddie”, there’s a relentless barrage of questions which adhere to the Scientology screening process, almost exactly. Both he and Hoffman were nominated for Academy Awards for this film, which many felt should have won ‘Best Film’ at the Oscars, so please watch the electrifying scene, down below.
Now, through the years Hoffman was said to have previously used heroin, but he had quit and been sober for many years, however, seemingly there is a claim that he relapsed half a year before he was found dead in his apartment on February 2nd, 2014.
However, there have been numerous rumours and plausible notions that Philip Seymour Hoffman may have in fact, been murdered, due to playing the role in the ‘The Master‘, which in Scientology circles, was apparently not appreciated because of its similarities and hushed up reality of it being based on Ron L. Hubbard’s new age religion, Scientology.
We recall, at the time of his death, the bizarre and ever evolving media reports of the escalating issue of how many bags of heroin were found in his apartment. First, they reported 20 bags of heroin, then 50 bags, then it was 70 bags of heroin, which they said they found inside his apartment in Greenwich Village, NYC. We thought this to be strange and an awfully weird reportage on the death of the acclaimed actor, almost as if someone was trying to tarnish his name in the face of seeming addiction. A smear campaign to justify his shocking death, one could say.
If Hoffman had previously been a heroin user, why would he scatter 70 heroin bags around his apartment? If he was a user, how could he misjudge and abuse such a dangerous drug to overdose on it?
Some theorists claim that Hoffman was murdered or that he was given a bad batch of heroin by someone close to him and this mystery continues until today; we guess we will never know what really happened to the greatest actor of our generation? Even here, he’s serving up this character of comedy in ‘Along Came Polly‘ in 2004, showing that could also do comedy apart from all his mostly dramatic character roles.
On this day, we recommend you take your time to appreciate all the brilliance that is Philip Seymour Hoffman, a screen legend who died way before his time.
It makes us sad and the coincidences in his death cannot be overlooked for much longer, as he was seemingly warned not to play the role of “Lancaster Dodd” and shortly thereafter, came his death. Struggling with substance abuse or not, having 70 bags of empty heroin bags just laying around your apartment, somehow, sounds a little off to us. We have our suspicions, that’s for sure.
We can all see the dangers of Scientology, with the recent documentary done by Louis Theroux with his ‘My Scientology Movie’, investigation film, which makes you wonder about any consequence that Philip Seymour Hoffman would have faced with starring in the film, ‘The Master’. However, Philip had a heroin addiction (they say) and that’s all we can say, with rumours of him being sold a bad batch of heroin, also being a rumoured cause of death. It would be easy to seal his fate in that way.
But, with 70 bags of empty heroin wraps inside his apartment and the escalating reporting of how many bags were there, it still seems a little strange to us. Very odd, indeed. Rest in Peace, Philip Seymour Hoffman.
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Featured Image Credit: TheMasterFilm