good profile of


philip seymour hoffman

Hoffman jumped out of his seat and ran to the stage. He proceeded to correct the sex scene. He bent the actress back over a couch and metamorphosed into a desperate character, the former manager of the band, driven by the hope of sudden riches and his lust for the guitar player’s wife. He played just enough of the scene and, then, he switched back to being Phil, the regular guy in the baggy shorts. It was stunning. “I don’t know how he does it,” Mike Nichols, who has directed Hoffman on the stage (“The Seagull”) and in movies (“Charlie Wilson’s War”), told me later. “Again and again, he can truly become someone I’ve not seen before but can still instantly recognize. Sometimes Phil loses some weight, and he may dye his hair but, really, it’s just the same Phil, and yet, he’s never the same person from part to part. Last year, he did three films — ‘The Savages,’ ‘Charlie Wilson’s War’ and ‘Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead’ — and in each one he was a distinct and entirely different human. It’s that humanity that is so striking — when you watch Phil work, his entire constitution seems to change. He may look like Phil, but there’s something different in his eyes. And that means he’s reconstituted himself from within, willfully rearranging his molecules to become another human being.”


3 Responses to “good profile of”

  1. 1 poietes
    December 20, 2008 at 10:29 pm

    Hoffman is one of the truly great actors working today. His ability to embody character is amazing. I’ve seen him in a least six movies, and his portrayal hasn’t been the same in any of them. That’s what I love about him–his unpredictability. He’ll be around for a long time.

  2. 2 underpass
    December 20, 2008 at 11:42 pm

    quite so.

    i’ve seen and recommend mr ripley, happiness, flawless (for his performance anyway), capote, boogie nights, almost famous, before the devil knows you’re dead.

    thanks for the comment.

  3. 3 Nancy
    December 23, 2008 at 8:41 am

    I loved him in Capote. Should definitely check out more of his work.

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