After the sad death of truly great actor Philip Seymour Hoffman, the Exetera team remember some of his greatest roles.
BRANDT IN ‘THE BIG LEBOWSKI’
Hoffman appears on screen for only a few minutes in the Coens’ 1998 cult classic The Big Lebowski. But his minor role as Brandt, the achingly servile Personal Assistant to the “handicapped” Lebowski, is one of his most memorable. Hoffman’s obsequious PA-speak hopelessly crumbles into an awkward, defensive chuckle as he is undermined by the hysterically blunt Dude. It is the Coen Bros – and Hoffman – at their finest.
TRUMAN CAPOTE IN ‘CAPOTE’
In this 2006 biopic Hoffman hypnotically portrays Truman Capote, one of the twentieth century’s most famous writers. The film is grounded in a fantastic screenplay and driven by Hoffman’s superb, multi-layered performance, a performance that won him an Academy Award for Best Actor. Arguably his greatest and most iconic film role, it is not to be missed.
FREDDIE MILES IN ‘THE TALENTED MR. RIPLEY’
As the fantastically camp and canny Freddie Miles, Hoffman lent a generous dose of his dramatic genius to Antony Minghella’s masterpiece. Hoffman plays the man who confronts the film’s title character as the sociopath that he is, delivering, in the process, some of cinema’s most deliciously sarcastic lines. He also wears a limp wrist better than anybody before him. The clip above is a testament to just how thorough Hoffman was in his approach to each character he portrayed, combining manipulation his body and his voice to incredible effect. He certainly knew his ass from his elbow.
PLUTARCH HEAVENSBEE IN ‘THE HUNGER GAMES’
Whether you love the Hunger Games series, or love to loathe it, Hoffman’s role as Plutarch Heavensbee was the final he filmed before his untimely death. In his minor role in the second of the series, Catching Fire, Hoffman brought credibility and gravitas as a Machiavellian media chief in the classico-futurist kingdom of Panem, providing the magnetic Jennifer Lawrence with a weighty sparring partner. In the forthcoming Mockingjay one can expect Hoffman’s last on screen appearance to be as captivating as ever.
ALLEN IN ‘HAPPINESS’
Although perhaps not his best known performance, Hoffman’s turn as the tragic Allen in Todd Solondz’ 1998 comedy-drama Happiness is not to be overlooked. In a film which uses paedophilia, depression and loneliness as punch lines in ever bleaker comic riffs, Hoffman shines with his portrayal of a depraved, oblivious man who, at his core, is more understandable than it is comfortable to admit. A powerful performance by an immensely talented actor.
THE COUNT IN ‘THE BOAT THAT ROCKED’
Hoffman portrays an American DJ on board The Boat that Rocked, Richard Curtis’ film about a pirate radio station based in the North Sea during the 60s. Hoffman, cast as an older DJ known as the Count is a passionate man, willing to die for his music, as demonstrated in his pitched battle against Rhys Ifans as they climb the rigging of the boat to prove they aren’t “chicken”. In a film that combines a great playlist with light comedy and a large cast of talented actors, Hoffman stands out as a ringleader in the tribe. He gives a natural performance which is all the more poignant for his character’s near death, when he refuses to stop broadcasting until the record players are submerged underwater.